Moonlight, Magnolias, and Moonshine

Reviving a practice begun by George “Macaca” Allen in 1995, and suspended by Allen’s two Democratic successors, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has April Confederate History Month. Thus, a formerly sleeping pup is now awake and howling.

The continued glorification of the Lost Cause by southern whites is perplexing to damnyankees, so let me explain it. Essentially, it’s all about stoking a cherished sense of righteous and glorious victimhood.

For example, white southerners still call the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression” even though South Carolina started it by firing on the federal military garrison at Fort Sumter. Sumter and the sandbar on which is was built were federal territory and not part of the “soil” of South Carolina, even if it was in Charleston Harbor. South Carolina besieged Sumter and dared Abraham Lincoln to re-supply it before the troops in Sumter surrendered or starved to death. The latter possibility was looming when Lincoln sent re-supply ships, and then the South Carolinians called it an invasion and fired.

Then, having started the war, they whined ever since about “northern aggression.” Sounds a lot like our modern-day wingnuts. Nothing is ever their fault.

I’m not sure when they decided the war wasn’t really about slavery, but of course that’s a crock. The Confederacy existed only to protect the institution of slavery. It was THE issue that motivated the secessionists to secede.

After the war it was not long at all before the former plantation class was back in power in the South, brutally oppressing the black population and hoarding most of the region’s wealth, but somehow the South put over a revisionist version of Reconstruction history about how they were all picked on by those awful carpetbaggers.

That said, I’d be all for a “Confederate History Month” if it pushed an honest version of history rather than the highly fictional “moonlight and magnolias” romance that much of the white South still believes.

25 thoughts on “Moonlight, Magnolias, and Moonshine

  1. I read somewhere that Sarah Palin’s unstated career is that of “Professional Victim”, and of course, she’s extremely good at what she does, and is highly compensated for the same. (Circulating on the internet lately is this fantasy matchup, which may actually happen in a few years, unfortunately without the hot costumes or exciting choreography).

    I’ve also read that the entire conservative movement is made up of grifters on the one hand, and dupes on the other. The grifters excel at stroking the perceived victimhood of the dupes, feeding them warmed over historical memories like “moonlight and magnolias”, or, from the national memory, “the home of the brave” (and many others), whose importance in history is overshadowed by their present-day utility in enabling the grifters to fleece the unsuspecting and aggrieving marks.

    Being a loser is not fun, but it’s a part of life. The ability to take a loss, and to be honest about what happened is an important if painfully acquired life skill. It’s amazing the extent to which the ego will continue to expend energy in denying the pain, realizations, and growth that come with losing. This is an enormous character defect we have as Americans, it’s the shadow side of one of our strongest traits, our national optimism.

    It’s been said that the war in Iraq happened because we did not fully process as a nation our loss in Viet Nam. Conservative revisionists stepped in early to halt the soul searching, and a generation later, there are widespread conservative myths (naturally by people who weren’t sentient back then) of how It Was All Liberalism’s Fault.

    I’ve also read (maybe it was on this site?) that because people did not properly assign blame following the Civil War – apparently there was a bit too much making nice, a sweeping of things under the carpet in the decades that followed – racial tensions later exploded in the 1960s. (I wish I could find a link that better explained/documented this argument).

    And so Virginia chooses to resurrect a cherished regional, intoxicating delusion, rather than face the pain and growth that comes with acknowledging a loss. One of conservativism’s cherished fictions, that is part of their ego defense, is that they will not be losers under any circumstance. Which is another way of saying they will not grow up under any circumstance, they will continue to be infantile in their make-believe approach to life. People such as these are ripe for professional grifters, the leaders of the conservative movement.

  2. OT – Great – Something new the G(NO)P can say no to. START Treaty

    A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this Earth.

    –Ronald W. Reagan – (except in an election year)

  3. This is just more exploitation of the typical dimwitted republican voter. It easy to rewrite history when your audience has never bothered to learn history in the first place. If anyone has any doubt of the IQ deficient republican base just watch this.

  4. What is it about being a regular person? If I find both of those women distressing am I not a regular person? I know you can score political points as a regular person, but I don’t want to be one.

  5. Uncledad,
    This is the female sequal to “Dumb and Dumber.”
    Should we call it, “Dumberer and Dumbererer?” YOU BETCHA!!!

  6. It’s a white libertarian celebration in civil war reenactment gray. Not sure how they’re gonna fit Lincoln in though…

  7. As for the “War of Northern Aggression,” having lived there in North Carolina (not, by any stretch, the worst, or even close) for almost 10 years, my favorite euphemism for “The Civil War,” was “The War of Manners.” Yes, you read that right, “MANNERS!”
    It’s as if we invaded because we didn’t like holding our pinkies out when sipping a fine English tea, like the Southerners did.
    Holding people of another race as slaves was, apparently considered “mannerly,” and not agreeing with it was, I guess, uncouth. And, so, we unmannerly savages from the North, decided to sucker the people of “Manners” in the South into starting a war over, I guess, our lack of ‘couthness’ (not a word, as far as I know).
    The ‘victimhood’ of the modern Conservatives all springs from trying to defend the fact that they were treasonous bastard’s who wanted to keep black’s as slaves forever.
    Uh, Southerners, you wanna throw a couple of million white people in there as slaves, you might have some case. But, we know, you think the Negro race is inferior. I can look at the Teabuggere’s who now represent you, and prove my case.
    You lost, assholes. And if you want to do fight again, you will lose again. And don’t threaten us to leave this time. We just might let “Ya’ll!”

    • As for the “War of Northern Aggression,” having lived there in North Carolina (not, by any stretch, the worst, or even close) for almost 10 years, my favorite euphemism for “The Civil War,” was “The War of Manners.” Yes, you read that right, “MANNERS!”

      Many in the plantation class were so spoiled they couldn’t dress themselves. I’m serious. The lived their entire lives with “body servants” to help them dress. There were adult men who had never laced up their own boots. Of course, the plantation class was a small minority. Most whites were illiterate dirt farmers with no opportunities, because there were no jobs. That’s the world they romanticize now.

  8. Just to play devil’s advocate:
    Most of the Civil War was fought on Southern soil, with industrial brutality. This is of course in accord with the American way of war; why fight here when you can fight over there? Very sensible, but it sure looks like aggression from the receiving end.

    • but it sure looks like aggression from the receiving end.

      The Union had far superior numbers and resources. The Confederacy lacked the force to enact any significant penetration into Union states. One of the few times Robert E. Lee tried it, at Gettysburg, he just about broke his army. Of course, the Confederacy didn’t need to conquer the North to “win”; it just had to force a settlement that left the Confederacy intact. And they came pretty close. By 1864 a lot of northern people were ready to quit. If the tide of war hadn’t finally turned in the Union’s favor in the latter part of 1864, it’s possible public sentiment would have forced a settlement. On the other hand, to break the South the Union had to take the fight to the Confederacy, which it did.

      That doesn’t change the fact that South Carolina started it.

  9. If anyone has any doubt of the IQ deficient republican base just watch this.

    I’m sorry my curiosity got the best of me and I checked out this link. I knew it was bad, but now I really know how bad it is. Whatever it takes to be a ‘regular person’, I don’t want any of it. Very enlightening in a very depressing sort of way.
    I fear I will have to finally move to Canada if either of these women become our country’s leadership. Don’t we have any basic criteria for someone to run for office? Like an education! I’m soooo depressed.

  10. Pingback: Tweets that mention Mahablog Moonlight, Magnolias, and Moonshine: Reviving a practice begun by George “Macaca” Allen in 1995, and susp... --

  11. Most of the Civil War was fought on Southern soil, with industrial brutality.

    Which is why the Germans call WWII the war of Allied Aggression and take no responsibility for it.

  12. If you want the “cause” for the “War of Southern Treason”, I will allow Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of their treasonous government to speak it as he spoke it in Atlanta in 1861:

    The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.

    After that, very little more need be said. They were scum and deserved to be hung from the sour-apple tree, as the old song goes.

  13. Joan,
    Did you ever read Foote’s history of the Civil War?
    What a beautiful writer. If someone hasn’t read the 3-volume set, I strongly recommend it. It bogs down a bit with the Texas campaign, just as both sides did, in the 3rd volume, but then finishes strong, like the Union Army.
    If you want to read a ‘who’s who’ of leaders on both sides, and every detail of every battle, read Bruce Catton. If you want to read Civil War history as a great novel, read Foote.

  14. Interesting social experiment: Have about 50 black people walk around the government building area in Richmond wearing T-shirts that say “Ask me about Confederate History Month”. I predict VERY few questioners, even in the spot where this atrocity was declared. They know the code and the score.

  15. Gulag, thanks for the recommendation! I remember searching high and low for his books back in 1990, when Ken Burns made him an overnight sensation. The years kinda slipped by, then old Shelby passed on. I think I need to place an order this weekend, so I can finally read his work. It sounds like he wrote as he spoke.

    Bill Bush, that’s a brilliant idea.

  16. Just to re-snark my devil’s-advocacy:
    Victory often looks like aggression, to the defeated. Maybe we should call that war the War of Northern Victory.

  17. dem fools down in Dixie
    dumb as dumb can be
    can’t get over losing
    we’ll rise again you see

    just a bunch of traitors
    treasonous cracker scum
    yet “Dixieland” has rhythm
    it makes me want to hum

    Oh way down south in Dixie
    dems crackers kinda of slow
    don’t know too much of history
    confederacy’s all they know

    so let us make it official
    make every month down there
    a celebration of ignorance
    and stupidity fair and square

    it is a fraternity of losers
    who hide behind their sheets
    they revel in their glory
    while ignoring their defeats

    it would really be hilarious
    if the truth was not so cold
    this perpetual racial hatred
    is just tiresome and so old

  18. Having lived in the deep South for a number of years, and with a sister who married into the South, I really have to take exception to the name calling and irresponsible speech in some of the comments here.

    The governor of Virginia was pandering to some of his base, but there are plenty of intelligent right-thinking folks in the South, as well. Let’s not use this as a forum to show just how obnoxious we can be.

    • I really have to take exception to the name calling and irresponsible speech in some of the comments here.

      I agree. Thanks.

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