Tainted Julep

April 7, 2007

Put on your best white sheets and tell the servant to mix you up a nice mint julep. It’s April, and that means it’s time for Confederate History and Heritage Month!

Yes, once again it’s that time of year when a substantial number of otherwise normal-seeming people get all misty-eyed and nostalgic over a short-lived nineteenth- century rogue state that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in order to preserve its God-given right to buy and sell human beings.

And here’s Undercover Black Man to help us celebrate it in high style, with a link to a Web site offering recordings of interviews with former slaves and another link to this jolly little tune by the Skillet Lickers to keep you chuckling as you pick out a good tall tree and test the load-bearing potential of its branches.

If, like me, you are offended by the moonlight and magnolias nonsense of a poisoned epic like Gone With the Wind, I recommend Nicholas Lemann’s fine book Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, which recounts how the defeated secessionists fought tooth and nail to prevent liberated black Americans from holding on to their civil rights, and how Confederate apologists cooked up a distorted mythology about the Reconstruction period. I think Lemann oversteps when he says the South ended up winning the Civil War during this period, but when I see the mobs of Jesus-whoopin’ fanatics and career racists running amok in the halls of government, I can certainly see Lemann’s point.

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