Archive for the ‘History’ Category

First off, I survived my 40th birthday insanity and came out the other side with only a few bruises and minor flesh wounds…and a hangover.  It was one heck of a time and a whole lotta fun, and well, I looked upon it and found it good, except the hangover.  Those are never good.  But celebration time is now over and once again, I shall now press my crooked nose to the grindstone and make good on my promise to say shit some people are thinking and don’t wanna say and others sure as shit don’t wanna hear….so let’s get back to that elephant, I reckon its about time…

I’ve discussed the Elephant in the Room before, overview and prologue style.  But hey, I like to dig, I’m a digger.  I gnaw on things, digest, consider, and dig some more.  And as I have been doing that, mentally feasting and such, I reckon it is now time; time to do the unthinkable, something real unpopular, but something that needs doing.  It’s a double fuck for certain, but I’m gonna do it anyway.  It’s time for not only a history lesson, but some defense of white folk…especially and including…white dudes.

Oh shit, now I’ve gone and done it, yeah?   Oh well, what else is new?

Now, I have talked before about how there is still one group of people it is socially acceptable to make fun of, a group that is mocked and belittled in a way that well, if one were to mock or belittle other groups of people in such a fashion it would kill their careers and they’d be persona non-gratis pretty much anywhere for a long time.  I mean, if Gene Weingarten had said something similar about Hispanic, black, Chinese, Iranian or any other sort of folk…what do you honestly think the reaction would be?  If he’d made it a “humorous jibe” about someone defending their opium den and Cantonese fried cat or low riders and burritos or crack house and chicken or gold coins and matzoh balls or any other countless insulting cultural stereotypes…do you think he’d still be a popular unsanctioned writer and humorist for the Washington Post?  Really?  Seriously? For some reason I suspect otherwise.  I really do.  Folk who have done such have paid for the crime, because its not okay to do that…unless you do it to certain kinds of white folk…and Weingarten proves just how okay it is.  Which burns my biscuits, actually.  Why, you might ask?  Well…

Let’s talk some history first, shall we?  I am a fan after all.  History can be very informative, interesting, scary, and well, it is the story of humans.  However, it is the story of humans as written by the winners and in truth, for the most part…rich white dudes.   Not all white dudes…rich white dudes.  And being mad at rich white dudes?  I’m okay with that.  They have- historically and all- proven themselves to be greedy douchebags who will use, abuse, and sell out folk- of all races, colors, and genders- if it will earn ’em a buck.   This has been historically proven even!  And while rich white dudes do have a tendancy to try to control and regulate everything, from cash flow to the info that makes it down to us plebians, they don’t always succeed.  So yeah, lets get on with that, shall we?

As everyone here knows I should hope, the US engaged in slavery.  We all know that.  We also know that colonists did absolutely horrible things to the Native Americans/First People of North America; everything from land theft to mass murder.   But, as I sit here, in history mode and all, I want y’all to consider your own roots.  Are ya Irish?  Or Scottish? Or English? Or German?  Or Slavic of any sort?  Then chances are, when your people arrived here on a boat, if they did so before oh, 1865 or so, chances are they did not necessarily do so by choice.  They were probably coerced to come here, or did so as indentured servants, or to work other (rich, white) peoples land, or fight in wars, or as convicts (oddly enough, England sent convicts here prior to the Revolutionary War, then they turned to Australia) or in countless other ways that hardly count as bold and noble endeavors.   Much like a great many of the non-white folk who got screwed by rich white folk, tons of white folk were also screwed: lied to, abducted, abused, tortured, killed, owned, and otherwise fucked over…and they may very well be your ancestors.  If you read up on the ships who brought non-rich white folk over here, or the lives they lived, or how they were treated, worked, abused and screwed, you might see some similarities- many, many, many similarities- to how the non-white folk were treated.  Terminology was sometimes different, sometimes the same…but to me, an Irish indentured servant shipped over to the new world by Cromwell who ended up being sold and worked to death in a field is really not so different from anyone else who ended up in a similar situation.

Fascinated by this notion,  I myself did some digging into my own family tree, and while my direct people only got here recently- pre WWII/post WWII and all- I did find some interesting shit…it seems a whole bunch of my dad’s side of the family (the Russian side) were hung for stealing horses, and those who weren’t were tossed outta Russia…they eventually made it to America…where a bunch of ’em were hung in Colorado/ Wyoming/ Utah…for stealing horses (apparently my people had a one track minds and never learned nothing at the end of a rope!).  Many of my Mom’s side of the family left economic destitution in North England and ended up in Louisiana and Georgia… during the Civil War.  They did not travel for free.  I found all this very interesting, and wondered just how many other white folk like me…well, how did their families get here?  Surely they were not all rich land owners, blue-bloods, people who owned other people…and sure enough, I bet you a pair of snake skin boots that a great many of us?  Well, your ancestors or family relations made it here to the New World just like some of my people did; as convicts or labor or kicked out of their own countries- kidnapped or lied to or led on- bought, sold, owned, worked hard and treated poorly.   And you know what?  None of us got acres or mules either.  In fact?  Those folk sorta got fucked.  After all, rich folk have been fucking not rich folk- of all colors- since feudal times…and they still are.

History lesson done.  But History lesson in mind…how the hell is it okay to think that every white person in the US is the same, starting from the same place, and with all the same privileges?  Even the white dudes?   For years now, rich white dudes have been running the show and shitting on everyone.  Poor white dudes- like poor folk of other colors and genders-they’ve been taking it up the ass, no kiss, no lube, no reach around, for eons.  Just like everyone else.  They don’t start wars, they just fight in them.  They don’t own factories, they work in them.  They don’t drive BMW’s, they repair them.  They work in coal mines and on oil rigs and in processing plants- doing often dangerous jobs for often decreasing wages and being thankful that they work at all- just like everyone else.  They worry about their futures and families, just like everyone else.  And even those who bought into the White Collar American dream?  The tech guys and business guys and such?  They are finding their jobs outsourced and their positions downsized and their hours increasing while their paychecks grow smaller- just like everyone else.  Why?  Because if history teaches one anything, its that money is and has always been the bottom line, profit is king, people are cogs, and those few with the power and the money will do anything and everything to keep it, screw everyone; regardless of color, race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual preference or any other difference.  Other people, even poor white dudes, are nothing more to them than a bottom line of productivity.  That has not changed.  From the feudal holds of Europe to the plantations of the South to the Factories of the North to the Railroads of the West to the Mines of…well, any goddamn mine, from West Virginia to Colorado…men, women, children worked and died and made very little headway in doing so, but they did make a very select few rich…and it did not matter if they were white, black, yellow or brown, Chinese, Irish, Former Slaves or Free Men.  Profit is color blind.  And it still is.  To this day.

Yet, that truth, that very real and historical fact, does not change the fact that not rich white folk, including and maybe even especially the dudes, get to eat shit and take blame for rich white folk even though they got screwed too, and are still being screwed too.  They get blamed for shit they never did, accused of holding attitudes and power they do not have- and likely never had or will ever have- they because they are white, and some of ’em are male, get to take all the hate and blame for shit they not only had no hand in, but were victims of too…and they don’t even have the modern politically correct mode of thinking that makes racism or sexism or religious intolerance against other folk unsavory and seriously life impacting on their side at all.  It’s STILL okay and funny to make fun of “those people”, the men and the women.  Why?  Cause well, “those people” are white…and all white people are the same, and started off with all the good shit, and historically have always had the good shit, and all that other crap too, right?

Say it to me with a straight face, I dare you.  Especially to my face.  Tell me how the majority of white people are Rockefeller’s or Vanderbilt’s.  Tell me how the majority, historically and culturally, have really always had it so good and had a head start over everyone else in life…especially the dudes.  Tell me we all look alike and are just the same.  Tell me it’s okay to trash those people because they are trash and are just lazy and failed to excel because they started off so ahead in life just because they are…white.  Tell me that, and I’ll call ya a liar.

Clue here, nobody, regardless of color or gender or any other thing, has an easy time pullin’ themselves up by their bootstraps if they have no boots, and rich white dudes have done a good job of keeping boots off a whole lotta feet- because passing out boots to everyone, even other white folk, would not be profitable!

But who want to talk about class and how its not okay to make fun of white people who aren’t rich and aren’t the people who fucked everyone (and are still fucking everyone) over and how  we got no reason to be angry or feel slighted?  After all, it ain’t popular…

Elephants in the room never are…

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Osama Bin Laden…

Posted: May 2, 2011 in History

Is dead.

Okay y’all, had this idea for a post rolling around in my lack of sleep having brain for a while now, and yeah, I’ve almost agonized over this fucker…in as much as I agonize over shit anyway.  I’ve started and scrapped several drafts, asked other people’s opinions, gone back and forth on whether or not I was going to write it at all…all that shit.  But yep, here I am, writing about it.

“About what, you freakin’ lunatic?”  you are probably asking by now, but shit y’all, I said I was ahem, a little leery of going there,  but well, I guess I am.

I’m writing about a thing, an image, a symbol- a something that means a hundred different things and invokes a whole slew of different emotions from different people who see it, and you know what?  The floor is open for discussion and debate here, unlike oh, it was in a certain classroom in MI.  And since I’m not in the business of judging people or telling them how wrong they are for whatever, sure enough, engage at will…and hell, I will go first…

“WTF is she talking about?”

Okay then.  This.

There it is, right there.  That is what I am talking about.  A thing which people could debate about all damn day long, and have.  Hate or Heritage, Pride or Prejudice, Pure out Offensive or often Misunderstood…well, I guess that depends, yeah?

And I will go ahead and fess up.  I have that there symbol on some things I own and wear.  Do I wear it around people who I know or even think it will offend?  Not intentionally, in fact, I am kinda considerate to the point of paranoid about it…then again I live in VA, its more common here in some places than the actual state flag.  And while personally not born in the South, I have lived in the South for more than half of my life, the people I know are mostly Southern, and well…I like the South, and you know, I like Southerners-shoot, I am a “Southerner” by choice, not by birth.  But my actual draw to that flag?  It’s…a rebel thing.  It’s even a pride in being the losers thing.  It’s an almost devil may care lack of respect for rules and laws but a strange reverence for tradition.  It’s a you can beat us down and we’ll still get up, dust off, and keep going kinda thing.  It’s a sometimes you make too many demands and conditions kinda thing.   It’s like how I laugh every time I think about the time a spiffy upper crust New Yorker dude I met looked at probably the biggest, scariest North FL redneck I’ve ever met who was bedecked all to hell in that flag and made mention of how the North won that war and the North FL redneck gave him a big old grin, handed him a beer and said “Well, yeah, but now all yer good lookin’ women come here for Spring Break!”  I don’t look at that flag and think woo, racism.  I see all kinds of different things and connotations that go with it, some good, some bad…but I can only see through my eyes, you know? 

So, you know, before I even sat down to write this, while I am pretty dang versed in History, I wanted to if not see through other people’s eyes, hear what they had to say…so I turned to that bastion of culture: YouTube…and well, found a few things that are worth watching, for anyone and everyone interested I guess…. and yep, I watched them and thought about it and all those good critical things people should do and…did not change my mind.  How typical of me, no?  And I do get rather bent out that it seems like every freakin’ asshat skinhead or KKK dude or actual, oh, racist who wears that flag makes folk think everyone who might ever wear it is that way, not to mention the irkage I gain when they have the US flag up there too…I mean, the Nazi’s completely ruined something that was never intended to be seen in the manner in which it is now…but alas now most of the world will only ever see it “the Nazi way”.  Only takes various asshats to ruin something for everyone….sheesh…

So yeah, there it is, my not so deep and well thought out opinions on the matter  (I tried, then kept scrapping and starting over)…and yep, feel free to share yours.

Preface: This is not an opinion peice. This is an entry consisting of documented Historical Fact and Evidence that oh, mayhaps bears a little revelance to things which have been discussed, in an opinion sort of way, here recently.

Let us begin with the History of the Confederate Battle Flag:

This flag was never a national flag of the Confederacy, or the flag of any Confederate State. It was, as the title indicates, a military flag, most notibly used by General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. It is often mistakenly refered to as “the Stars and Bars”, which was the name for one of the actual flags of the Confederacy. This is “the Stars & Bars” and was the first official flag of the Confederacy, used from 1861-1863, the stars representing the original Confederate states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama , Lousiana & Texas. A second flag was instituted for the Confederacy in May 1863, which put a modified version of the Confederate Battle Flag on a plain white field- the modifications were extra stars representing additional states which had officially joined the Confederacy: Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina & Arkansas. This flag became troublesome as in battle, if there was no wind, it could be mistaken for a flag of surrender. In March of 1865, a third flag was made the official flag of the Confederacy.

At no time however, was the Confederate Battle Flag itself used in an official capacity other than a military one.

General Robert E Lee:

Was a West Point Graduate and decorated officer in the US military prior to the Civil War. President Lincoln actually offered Lee command of the Union forces, but Lee declined because he would not fight against his home State of Virginia (some historians also assert that Lee was disconcerted by unequal tariffs in the US, as often the South paid roughly 85% of nations total tariffs prior to the Civil War). Lee himself did not own slaves, when his wife inherited a plantation and slaves owned by her father, she and Lee began freeing them. By the time Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, all of the slaves owned by the Lees  had been freed. Lee himself was on record as opposing slavery:

“There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil”

* Union General and Former President Ulysses S Grant also owned slaves, as did his wife. Union General William Sherman rented slaves while living in the South.

African American Soldiers in the Civil War:

It is widely known that the Union Army had African American Soldiers. Approximately 198,000 African American men served in the Union Army & Navy. Roughly 65,000 African American men, a mix of free and slave, served in the Confederate Army.

Famous Women of the Civil War:

Two very famous Historical Civil War figures are actually women: Dorothea Dix and Clara Barton, who both served as nurses. Barton is often cited as a leading figure responsible for better sterilization of medical instruments and advancements in prioritizing of the wounded which helped survival rates and decreased the rampant infections that were par for the course throughout the war.

FAQ:

Were most members of the Confederate Army Slave Owners?

No.

Was there any slavery in the North or Union Allied States during the Civil War?

Yes.

Were their any African American slave owners?

Yes.

Why was the Civil War so…bloody?

Advancements in military technology such as better guns, precision barrel rifling, and the mini ball combined with the old school tactics of battle (i.e, droves of combatants just charging across a field at each other) led to disastrous consequences.

How did the North Win?

Well, that will be a lesson for another day!