Saturday, June 6, 2009

Southern By the Grace of God

Kaitlin Beard of the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune covered my Thursday speech:
You can’t know who you are without first knowing something about your ancestors, a speaker told the Rome chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans on Thursday night.
Stacy McCain, a former Rome News-Tribune reporter who also worked as an editor for the Washington Times, spoke to the group at the Rome-Floyd County Library. . . . McCain’s topic for the night was “Beyond the Flag: Defending Our Honor in the 21st Century.” He said that it is a sin for people to forget their past.
“A personal connection is what leads to a love of history. That connection makes all the difference in the world,” said McCain. . . .
You can read the whole thing. The lovely Miss Beard, a junior at Berry College who is interning this summer at the RN-T, slightly garbled one of my quotes. What I actually said was that when you go to defend the South, you had better be prepared to defend it "down to the last boll weevil on the last cotton patch beside the last tar-paper shack on the last dirt road in Mississippi."

As I told my friends in Rome, it's like the song from "West Side Story":
When you're a Jet,
You're a Jet all the way.
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin' day.

When somebody puts down the South, I'm a Jet all the way. This has had terrible consequences for my reputation and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. I'd rather be denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center than to be a coward who apologetically cringes for fear of being called names. Call me what you will, just don't ever call me a scalawag.

This is why I was more amused than outraged by Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark. To me, ethnic chauvinism is entirely comprehensible and, in most circumstances, inoffensive. Man is by nature tribal. Edmund Burke's famous observation about the "little platoons" that make up society eloquently expresses how every person's natural loyalty to their own particular group constitutes the mortar that bonds them to the larger society.

If you're Jewish, be a proud Jew, if you're Italian, be a proud Italian, and if you're a Newyorican, be a proud Newyorican. A proud Southerner doesn't mind that at all.

Damned Yankees, Damned Theories
The problem occurs when someone tries to turn their own ethnic pride -- a natural and admirable trait -- into a larger, universalistic theory, as the Damned Yankees have always done.

Where I come from, "damned Yankee" is not considered cursing. In fact, most folks down home count "damnyankee" as one word. I have frequently described the widespread prejudice against the South as boreal supremacy, the belief that everything about the North is superior to everything about the South. Such prejudice against the South is so common that some people don't even notice it, but I do, and I resent the hell out of it.

Confronted with the assumption of Northern superiority, some Southerners will react by attempting to ape Northern ways and adopt characteristically Northern attitudes, and start "putting on airs," as Alabama folks would say. Next thing you know, they're espousing Buddhist economics and shopping at Whole Foods like some kind of effete pansy. But I digress . . .

There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with being the object of prejudice. Michael Steele thinks that Judge Sotomayor's response to prejudice is the wrong kind and, given his own experiences with prejudice, Steele's views certainly deserve consideration.

For the past week, some people labored diligently to convict the judge of "racism." Having experienced the same kind of treatment, I would be inclined to hear Judge Sotomayor testify to the Judiciary Committee before judging her fitness for the Supreme Court. There may be other controversies -- including her judicial decisions -- that would be more relevant than her "Jet all the way" Newyorican pride.

Perhaps Judge Sotomayor's experience of being condemned as a "racist" will enhance her Latina wisdom. It might cause her to re-examine the liberal presumption of inherent "white male privilege" that is the theoretical justification for much of the malicious social engineering practiced in the name of "diversity."

Redneck Privilege?
When I think of my own ancestors -- hard-working people who toiled from dawn to sundown on the red clay hills of Alabama -- I am quite naturally filled with pride. The suggestion that I should be ashamed of my ancestors is an insult I deeply resent. And to suggest that I am the beneficiary of an undeserved "privilege" is another sort of insult.

Certainly I have been less "privileged" than the Ivy League-educated Sotomayor, and any suggestion to the contrary amounts to an assertion of my own inferiority. This is an insult to me, and is compounded by an insult to my intelligence if you deny that you have insulted me.

If you say that the descendant of Puerto Ricans is deserving of a privilege that no descendant of Alabama rednecks could ever deserve, you implicity assert that my ancestors were inferior to Sotomayor's. When I point out the self-evident insult involved, and someone then tells me, "Oh, you don't understand . . ." or otherwise denies the insulting nature of their argument, they have then asserted that their own understanding is superior to mine.

"Don't piss down my back and tell me it's rainin'."
-- The Outlaw Josey Wales

There may be legitimate arguments in favor of having a "wise Latina" on the Supreme Court, but insofar as those arguments deny similar consideration to an Alabamian -- say, someone like Sen. Jeff Sessions -- an entire class of Americans has been thereby disadvantaged by your presumption of their inferiority. No one ever points this out, because the prejudices of boreal supremacy are so universal in elite culture.

Justice Clarence Thomas represents me as well as, if not indeed better than, any of his white associates on the court. From his own experience, Justice Thomas learned that the liberal's claim of "tolerance" and "civility" is a vicious lie -- a lie I discovered through experiences of my own.

It has long been my opinion that, whatever their disagreements and differences, black Americans and white Southerners share the experience of being the objects of prejudice. After years of encountering the patronizing condescension of one's alleged superiors (a certain bowtied fops's insulting contempt has been noted), one's skin grows thick enough that it is no longer a constant struggle to withstand the urge to punch those arrogant bastards right square in their stuck-up noses. If nothing else, one can simply walk out of the room when David Brooks walks in.

Be a Good Jet, Jeff
At some point, however, such insults pile up so high that you feel compelled at least to mention the insult, lest the damned Yankee suppose that you are such a cowardly scalawag as to be insulted with impunity. I consider it beneath my dignity to defend myself against the accusation of "racism" -- not even to point out that some of my best friends are Newyorkican -- since I understand the accusation as an invitation to crawl in abjection before the shrine of boreal supremacy.

Therefore, I hope that Judge Sotomayor will not withdraw her nomination before she's had a full hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and further hope that Senator Sessions will ask her whether she believes a "wise Latina" is inherently superior to a wise Alabamian.

Down home, there is a popular bumper-sticker slogan, "American By Birth, Southern By the Grace of God," and no Southerner should condemn Judge Sotomayor for proclaiming herself "Newyorican By the Grace of God." But if she's trying to insult and disadvantage the people Senator Sessions represents, a matter of honor is involved, and she ought to expect a rumble.

You've got to be a Jet all the way, Senator.


  1. Once upon a time I was told the definition of Damn Yankee was "the only kind there is, Suh. The only kind there is."

    This definition came from the same man that told me to never miss a chance to shut the hell up, and if you weren't in bed by nine o'clock you might as well go on home.

    I sure do miss that old man.

  2. Good rant! Proud to be from the South, and happy to have damnyankees visit here. But if they hate it so much, why do they insist on making their insurgency into our by-gawd backyard a permanent arrangement?

  3. Remember when those rednecks beat Jack Nicholson to death in Easy Rider? That was terrible and made lots of New Yorkers delighted to be so hip to Terry Southern.

  4. Great post. Though I was raised in the South and have fond memories of my years in Central Texas, one aspect of Southern cultural which jars me is how Southerners, despite claims to the contrary, tend to be very insecure in their culture. I have often got the feeling that many Southerners keep themselves up late nights wondering what some Yankee is thinking about them. If Southerners were so proud of their culture, then there would be very little need to display bumper stickers proclaiming Southern pride, to write periodic screeds about northern bigotry.

    Being Southern, in effect, means being overly defensive of criticism from outsiders. Southerners would be much better off if they adopted a French arrogance toward their culture, i.e. "our culture is unique and beautiful and no amount of criticism will convince us otherwise."

  5. I consider you a neo-scalawag. You are, after all, working on reconstruction of a highly damaged nation.

  6. OT: go to Google and check out what they chose to commemorate today instead of D-Day...this is the type of thing that makes the left protesting how they're so awesomely patriotic, etc., ring entirely hollow.

  7. How are you defining Southern pride? Does this include a belief in the Lost Cause?

  8. I have family ties to both 'da great white Nort' and The South. I am more at home with family in Louisiana, and manners still exist and are appreciated there. Not so much up here, not to mention the far left whack job that is governor of the state I live in now.

  9. Oh, Robert, it is SO hard to be a white guy in America. To bad your love of tribalism enables to understand why Southern white folks wouldn't want to call Souther black folks relatives! Now, that's some tribalism I'd love to hear Burke defend!

  10. After reading this post, I sincerely apologize to you for offering intelligent and logical criticisms of your hostile treatment of Tucker Carlson. You see, what I previously could not understand is now obvious to me. Your profound inability to frame a cogent argument is primarily a DNA problem, which we can trace back to the depleted gene pool of your “tribe,” the South.

    NEWSFLASH: The North kicked the South’s ass in the Civil War, which was an entirely different affair than the hillbilly revisionist event known as the War Between the States.

    I think all Americans would be better off if Sherman and Grant had finished the job, for we would not have to contend with Johnny One Tooth know it alls who believe the Lost Cause still has a chance, primarily because they can’t differentiate between Momma and sister on account of their inbreeding. Trust me, Bubba, the antebellum South did not represent the zenith of Western civilization and the movie Deliverance does not contain documentary footage about the birds and the bees.

    These things said, I sincerely apologize to you, Mr. McCain, for treating you as a grown-up adult. This was my mistake and it won’t happen again.

    Charles Thomas

    PS: I was careful to advance all the usual stereotypical ad hominem arguments used against the South, because you’ve established that you can’t follow anything beyond an ad hom.

  11. The South would be a Third World country without us "damnyanks." It's full of poor, uneducated, obese bloodsuckers who bitch endlessly about the horrors of dependence while living largely on the tax dollars of the North and West. I mean, being able to rub Appomatox in the faces of buck-toothed rednecks is fun, but it doesn't make up for having to support their NASCAR-watching, squirrel-munching, lard-soaked asses.

    I don't know how Southerners live with themselves, frankly. No wonder they're always scraping for a fight: They must be absolutely mad with jealousy of Yankeedom, what with our literacy, good health, and lack of having started a war that killed 600,000 Americans, and all just so black folks could be kept in chains. Pretty pathetic.


  12. I see no point in re-fighting the Civil War, but I notice that net migration is from the North to the South (and West).

    Interestingly, some of the nicest folks I've ever met are from New Jersey, but, seriously, can anyone imagine any appreciable number of people aspiring to live there? Unless you're living in NYC, of course, and you can't afford the taxes and the housing costs.

    But I wouldn't want to spoil Charles' and Phil's desire to engage in ad hominem fun, so permit me to damn you both as a couple of blue-bellied, red-legged, back-shooting catamites.

  13. A couple points. First of you love your people and where you are from? Good on ya mate! If you didn't there would be something seriously wrong with you.

    Secondly, people can not give you offense, you can only take it. There might well be instances were it's the only reasonable response, but it's your call. You can eaither be offended or recognize that the people trying to push your buttons are simple fools, and dismiss them.

  14. Hey, Chuck and Phil, let me respond briefly to your posts at the level of intellectual sophistication they deserve:

    Fuck y'all, and your mamas too. If you have any.

  15. All them there brave anonymous northerners. We'll keep y'all in mind next winter as you try to buy oil y'all don't drill for for houses y'all can't afford to keep on the salaries from jobs y'all no longer have...

  16. Members of my family fought and died in the Civil War. They are still remembered, as is the uterrly unforgivable treachery of the South. Sons of the Confederacy will have forever the blood of half a million Americans on their hands.

    Ad hom? Yup. Cuz this shit's personal. Like any proper conservative, I have a long memory, and a pact with the dead, to defend their honor, and continue to fight their battles.


  17. They say that when you throw a rock in a pigpen, you can always tell which pig you hit by the one who squeals the loudest, and from the sound of it, we have three pigs competing for top honors.

    Paco: I’m glad that you finally had an opportunity to use the first word your mother ever taught you, after she explained your father’s (which in your case means your brother as well) special interest in you.

    Wombat Rampant: I am not surprised that you would wish upon us the very means by which you sired your first child.

    richard mcenroe: I’m sure your comment makes sense to you and that you really believe it. I am at least grateful that you actually framed complete sentences (except for the “for for” part).

    Thank you all, dear Southerners, for making my point that your breed is incapable of advancing a cogent argument. You have demonstrated once again that the North’s biggest mistake was its failure to cleanse our land of your retarded gene pool.


  18. Chuck: When we come across a cogent argument, we're perfectly capable of dealing with it. Bring one next time.

    As for my mother and my ex-wife, they're two different people, but I can't otherwise be bothered to correct your bigotry.