The Polarity of Memorial Day

All is repose and peace. Untrampled lies the sod. The shouts of battle cease…it is the Truce of God! Rest comrades…rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be as sentinels to keep your rest from danger free. Your silent tents of green we deck with fragrant flowers. Yours has the suffering been…the memory shall be ours. –  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

Once upon a time what is now referred to as bipolar disorder was known as manic depression, while what we presently call dissociative identity disorder was commonly christened split or multiple personalities. Memorial Day has a little in common with both.

 

When I was a kid I used to get Memorial Day and Veterans Day confused (and that’s without throwing Armed Forces Day into the mix), but there is a subtle yet significant difference. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. In other words, though it may seem counterintuitive, Memorial Day is not the time to thank current or retired soldiers for their service. It is my understanding that, while most would likely smile & nod and give an appreciative “You’re Welcome”, others might possibly be offended because…well…they’re not dead, and probably have military friends & family that are. To add to the confusion, since 1950 Armed Forces Day has been celebrated about a week before Memorial Day on the third Saturday in May, and it specifically honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. Armed Forces Day doesn’t seem to resonate all that much with the general public, and there are plausible reasons for that, not the least of which is its redundancy and the fact that it doesn’t provide a three day weekend.

 

Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day and originated in the aftermath of The Civil War, which ended in 1865 after more than 620,000 casualties… more lives lost than during any military campaign in American history. The astounding number of deaths led to the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries, and on May 5, 1868 General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic…an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois…established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. General Logan stated “Let us then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime. Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor. Let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow & orphan.” President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Decoration Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery (which until 1864 had been Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation), and General James Garfield (who would become President just thirteen years later) made a speech before 5000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union & Confederate soldiers.

 

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, which was first used in 1882, and as early as the 1890’s some observed a “growing tendency to make Memorial Day an occasion for festivity and indulgence in games & sports foreign to the purpose of the day and the sacred spirit which ought to characterize it”, and professed “pastimes and all amusements on Memorial Day as inconsistent with the proper purposes of the day.” It probably didn’t help that perception when The Indianapolis 500 ran its inaugural race on Memorial Day in 1911 and continued to do so until the early 70’s when the event was permanently moved to Sunday as part of the long holiday weekend. In the late 19th century there were only a handful of holidays on which workers got a day off, so Decoration Day became an unusual respite from the daily grind, an opportunity for sports fans to attend afternoon games or families to take excursions. It soon became common practice to split the difference on Memorial Day, visiting a cemetery in the morning then relaxing in the afternoon.

 

As the 20th century dawned a younger generation who hardly remembered The Civil War was emerging, but Memorial Day lived on. By then, it was well entrenched in American social life and didn’t require a direct connection to war to be meaningful. But it wasn’t long until World War I started and the United States found itself entangled in another major conflict, and so Memorial Day evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. Just a few decades later WWII happened, which further solidified the holiday.

 

Charleston SC, Waterloo NY, Columbus GA, and various other towns all claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Some assert that the first Memorial Day was held in April 1865 when a group of former slaves created a proper burial site for more than 250 Union soldiers at a Charleston horse track. But on May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated an official birthplace of the holiday by signing a proclamation naming Waterloo as the holder of the title. Waterloo earned this distinction because in the summer of 1865 a local pharmacist named Henry C. Welles came up with the idea to place flowers on the graves of those who fought in The Civil War and hosted an annual community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flags as well as flowers.

 

From 1868 to 1970 Memorial Day was annually observed on May 30, with some believing that the date was chosen because it is not the anniversary of any particular battle, while others say it is an optimal date for flowers to be in bloom. Both assertions are probably true.

 

On June 28, 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees. Washington’s Birthday in February and Veteran’s Day in November were also changed (although Veteran’s Day was later moved permanently back to November 11 in 1978), and Columbus Day was established. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May, with the law taking effect in 1971.

 

And this is where the dichotomy really began to propagate.

 

Many opine that changing the date merely to create a long weekend diluted the meaning of Memorial Day, turning it into “a three-day nationwide hootenanny that seems to have lost much of its original purpose”. With its move to Monday in the 1970s increasing commercialization also turned the weekend into an occasion not just for sports & vacations, but for shopping as well.

 

In addition to the debate about long weekends & the date of Memorial Day, we must also consider the evolution of the summer season. Meteorologically & astronomically speaking summer officially begins with the summer solstice on June 21 and ends with the autumnal equinox on September 21. However, in the late 19th century standardization reforms in education led to the creation of the nine month school calendar with which we are all familiar, meaning that children typically begin school in early September and end their year in late May. This essentially redefined summer from a cultural perspective to being June, July, & August, and created a “summer leisure economy” in which families are encouraged to go outside, relax, & have fun. It became logical to bookend summer with Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kicking off summer with Memorial Day gives it a sense of anticipation, a sense of good things & coming attractions when summer is perfect and it hasn’t even happened yet.

 

It seems natural that as individual sorrow fades a tragic event gradually loses its impact, and so a Memorial Day tug-of-war between solemn remembrance and summertime fun has ebbed & flowed for a century & a half. The holiday was conceived in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. After a few decades those tear-stained memories faded, but then two World Wars happened, which galvanized the nation. Vietnam came along in the 60’s, but America…unlike during previous military conflicts…became fragmented about what it meant for an American soldier to die and the purpose of war in general. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that patriotism rebounded as a foundational aspect of the Reagan Revolution, and then there was another period of ambivalence & malaise before the tragic events of September 11, 2001 led to renewed respect & appreciation for our military.

 

So the question remains: how should we treat and “celebrate” Memorial Day?? I don’t know if there is a simple answer, but I certainly have a few opinions.

 

First of all, I have always been uncomfortable with people wishing each other a “Happy” Memorial Day. It’s kind of like running into an old friend at a funeral and enthusiastically saying “It’s great to see you!!”. It may be nice to catch up with a friend, but the venue and the occasion certainly aren’t joyful. Some things are just better left unsaid.

 

Secondly, the holiday is clearly going to mean something different to folks depending on the circumstances. For those of us who haven’t had any family or close friends die while serving in the military it really is simply a fun weekend and the kickoff for summer, and kids are justifiably excited about getting a break from school or graduating. However…especially with our nation’s involvement in places like Iraq & Afghanistan in the past 17 years…there are plenty of spouses, families, & friends mourning the loss of a loved one, and we must be respectful of that fact.

 

In 2000 Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, meaning that all Americans are supposed to pause for a minute of silence at 3pm on Memorial Day to pay tribute to the men & women who have died while serving the nation. If this is the first time you’ve heard of that legislation you aren’t alone…I didn’t know about it either, which calls into question its efficacy.

 

There is a school of thought that going out & enjoying yourself on Memorial Day…whether that means swimming, shopping, a picnic, attending a concert, chillin’ out with a good book, or going to a movie…is appropriate because it is exercising the very freedom that so many gave their lives to secure, and I don’t necessarily disagree. That being said, I am reminded of the constant refrain every December about the commercialization of Christmas, which has minimized “the reason for the season”. In the same way that I take no issue with Santa Claus, It’s A Wonderful Life, or The Chipmunks crooning about hula hoops as long as proper reverence is given to celebrating the birth of Christ, I happily embrace the frivolity of summer’s grand opening weekend on the condition that we respect our military, appreciate their sacrifice, & honor fallen heroes.

The 2017 Sammy Claus Wish List

Merry Christmas Manoverse. It’s been a different kind of holiday season thus far. That’s not great, but it’s not bad either. The past few weeks have been low key & uneventful, yet somewhat busy-ish. I don’t like vegging out at home feeling useless too much, yet I don’t enjoy running around like a chicken with my head cut off either, so striking a balance is a nice goal. I’m not shopping as much as I usually do this time of year, for various reasons. I wish, as I’m sure many do, that I could go back to the days of childhood….or atleast to when my nephews were children…and feel the excitement that kids experience at Christmas. Instead I have more of a sense of wistful nostalgia, fondly recalling family, friends, & events that are gone and aren’t coming back. That doesn’t mean there isn’t joy or the expectation of good memories in the future, just that the equilibrium has shifted in another direction. I still get a kick out of watching holiday films, listening to Christmas music, and participating in seasonal activities at church, work, & with other groups I’m involved with, and since the weather isn’t too bad here in West Virginia I might actually set aside some time in the coming days to cruise a few of the local neighborhoods and take photos of the more impressive lights & decorations. At any rate, allow me to refresh your memory about how this Sammy Claus thing works. We’ve been doing it for eight years now and, much to my surprise, some of the presents wished for are actually granted on occasion. The mantle of Sammy Claus wields no special power. That magic belongs to The Jolly Old Elf up north. I am merely an emissary asking for certain gifts to be bestowed to a variety of entities, some of which have been quite naughty and some of whom have been very good this year. Admittedly our list usually skews toward the former rather than the latter. All I can hope for is that ol’ Kris Kringle himself is a fan of this site and agrees with my suggestions. For all who stop by and read the things that are published here, whether it be sporadically or on a regular basis, I wish you tranquility, health, love, & success during this Christmas season and for a new year on the horizon. As you are in the midst of the hustle & bustle these next several days…whether you embrace it or get caught up in it reluctantly…please do not brush aside what Christmas is about and the real reason we should celebrate, that being the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, who would eventually die for our sins so that we may have the opportunity of salvation & eternal life. God bless us…everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Kimmel & Jimmy Fallon

A harsh & rapid fall off the high horse. We know what to expect from Colbert. Conan became irrelevant several years ago. Seth Myers is a Letterman wannabe and terrible at it. Corden has never been more than a blip on the radar. It was supposed to be up to Fallon & Kimmel to carry late night television for the next couple of decades. But instead they both decided to go political, to take a big ol’ dump on half of their viewing audience. Sammy Claus stopped watching months ago, and logic dictates others likely did as well. The only solution is a fresh start.

 

 

Potheads

Discretion & moderation. It seems like we may be on the verge of full blown legalization of marijuana, with opinions all over the map on the issue. Let’s just hope that folks are smart & careful. Health is wealth people.

 

 

Pope Francis

Bible study. Sammy Claus isn’t Catholic and doesn’t put much stock in the whole Pope thing anyway, but for such an important religious figure the current Pope sure seems a lot more like a sociopolitical pundit than a man of God.

 

 

Huntington, WV

Rejuvenation & hope. Once upon a time Sammy Claus spent his college years in this biggish small southern West Virginia town bordering Ohio & Kentucky. The drug epidemic that plagues our nation these days seems especially proliferate in Huntington, with shootings & arrests almost daily. It used to be a great town, and at its heart it still is for the most part. But things have got to change quickly & significantly.

 

 

Brad’s Wife Nanette

A great new job. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, allow Sammy Claus to get you up to speed. Nanette Reid was an employee of 11 years at an Indiana Cracker Barrel before she was terminated. Nanette’s husband Brad wanted to know why his wife had been fired, so he made an inquiry on the restaurant’s corporate Facebook page…and things took off from there. #JusticeforBradsWife went viral and lives on. Here’s hoping that Brad & Nanette can rebound from the unfortunate circumstance and have a prosperous New Year.

 

 

President Donald Trump

Improved public speaking skills & a keener social media filter. A President who bypasses traditional media outlets and reaches out directly on Twitter is a new concept that everyone is still trying to wrap our minds around. However, President Trump oftentimes doesn’t do himself any favors with his tweets, an issue compounded by the fact that he’s not the most polished public speaker. Any good that his Administration may be doing for the economy or anything else is too often eclipsed by the fact that he’s not exactly the best messenger.

 

 

The NBA

A renewed focus on playing basketball. Sammy Claus has never been as big of a basketball fan as he is a football & baseball fan, but this year he hasn’t watched a single second of NBA action. Why?? More social justice propagandizing. Some of the league’s biggest personalities…Lebron James, Stephen Curry, coaches Gregg Popovich & Steve Kerr…strayed away from their athletic mission to go on unnecessary sociopolitical rants that…much like late night TV comedians…alienate a huge chunk of the fanbase. Do they have a right to their opinions?? Of course. Would it be smarter to keep their yapper shut and concentrate on their jobs?? Absolutely.

 

 

Accused Sexual Harassers

Humility & respect for others. No one…male or female…should ever feel awkward in the workplace or be forced to do anything with which they are uncomfortable to keep their job or advance their career. A laundry list of powerful & well-known people have been accused of inappropriate conduct in the past few months. Matt Lauer. Harvey Weinstein. Congressman John Conyers. Mario Batali. Danny Masterson. Garrison Keillor. Charlie Rose. Senator Al Franken. Louis CK. Kevin Spacey. Most suffered swift & harsh consequences after being convicted in the court of public opinion. Will they learn from their mistakes and be better people in the future?? Can they overcome the situation and get back what they’ve lost?? Is it even proper that they have an opportunity for redemption?? Those are unanswered questions than only time will resolve.

 

 

Alleged Sexual Harassment Victims

Courage & integrity. On the flip side of the inappropriate conduct equation are the alleged victims. Every case is different, and in some instances the aggressors have admitted to the transgressions. They know they were wrong and are just going to take their lumps & swallow the bitter pill of reaping what they’ve sown. However, there are still many questions and reasons to doubt the validity of some of the claims. For example, why does it take an alleged victim several years to come forward?? Sammy Claus grew up with & has been surrounded by women who not only would have immediately reported such perverse behavior, but likely would have kicked a guy in the cahonas for…as Grandma Claus used to say…”getting fresh”. For a “victim” to all the sudden…after 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 years…start making accusations out of the blue somehow feels a little…off. Also, in many of these cases it has become apparent that a good amount of people knew all about the disturbing behavior being exhibited by the alleged creep, yet no one said anything?? That too seems odd. It calls into question how bad the behavior really was. If entire groups of people just shrugged it off for years then perhaps it wasn’t a big deal and mountains are now being made of mole hills. We need to know exactly how “inappropriate conduct” is being defined. Certainly societal norms evolve over time, but are these men losing their livelihood over what used to be called flirting?? Are mere words enough to implode a human being’s entire life now?? Or do these allegations involve seriously hideous…possibly criminal…activities?? And what about the ethical responsibility of an employer?? If “everyone knew” but no one did anything about it until throwing the hammer down became the cool thing to do, then doesn’t that make the company somewhat guilty?? In some of these situations people lost their jobs seemingly overnight. No investigation. No suspension. Just here one day & gone the next. That doesn’t feel right either. “Blaming the victim” is commonly thought to be improper, but when people’s careers & reputations are at stake it is just as wrong to automatically take someone’s word without a thorough examination of the facts. It’s too late for those that have already been caught up in the massive takedown, but maybe we ought to have a conversation about how to fairly proceed in the future.

 

 

The Mainstream Media

Sodium pentothal. It is undeniable that the news media has had a leftist bias pretty much its entire existence. However, it used to be fairly subtle. Not anymore. As a matter of fact, most television & print news outlets in America are almost pure propaganda now, the kind that has existed in places like Russia & The Middle East for decades. They don’t even try to hide their agenda anymore, and it’s pathetic.

 

 

Danica Patrick

Marriage, motherhood, & domestic bliss. Lost in the shuffle amidst the hype of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s premature retirement from NASCAR was Patrick’s announcement that she plans on racing in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 and then moving on to the next phase of her life. Her career on the track has never quite lived up to the marketing machine that she became, but she’s easy on the eyes and someone that most fans couldn’t help rooting for. No matter how much the PC crowd tries to push “equality” and the idea that anything a man can do a woman can do atleast equally as well (and vice versa), the fact is that men & women are different entities with unique strengths & weaknesses. Danica Patrick’s career was never going to be long or legendary for a variety for reasons, but she can walk away with immense pride in what she accomplished and look forward to a happy life beyond race car driving.

 

 

Hollywood

A renewed focus on telling great stories & entertaining the masses. Speaking of propaganda, Hollywood is simply the “entertainment” wing of the same insidious machine that promotes deviance, hatred, & a victim mentality. A psychologist could probably explain whether the chicken or the egg comes first. Is there something about fame & fortune that causes people to go completely off the rails?? Or are ignorant, vile, mentally ill people more inclined to end up in the entertainment industry?? Whatever it is, those of a certain age can easily recall when going to the movies, listening to music, or watching television was engaging, intellectually stimulating, inspiring, and a perfectly valid way to spend downtime & discretionary income. Sadly now it’s mostly about pushing an agenda, endorsing sociopolitical talking points, & indoctrinating an unsuspecting audience.

 

 

The Supreme Court

2 or 3 more retirements. Justice Gorsuch is a nice replacement for the late Antonin Scalia, but there’s still work to be done. President Trump might get a second term in 2020…but then again he may not. In whatever time he has remaining in office it would be fantastic if Trump could make sure The Court leans in the right direction for a couple of decades, and to do that we need to see people like 84 year old Ruth Bader Ginsburg & 79 year old Stephen Breyer step away from the job. Who wants 80 year olds making such important & impactful decisions anyway??

 

 

IPhone X Buyers

Insurance & a cushioned carrying case. A $1000 phone made of glass that contains intrusive facial recognition technology?? No thanks.

 

 

The New York Yankees

A mundane season. The revered Bronx Bombers are at it again, flaunting their deep coffers and using grander-than-most resources in an attempt to buy another championship. It’s certainly not an illegal or unethical strategy. Indeed it is well within the rules of MLB. But the majority of sports fans tend to cheer for an underdog…the little engine that could. There’s nothing inspiring about a team who is simply able to outspend everyone else, especially one who already has more than twice as many World Series trophies as any other club. It is much more gratifying to watch an organization build & progress organically. The Yankees make it too easy for the masses to hope they crash & burn.

 

 

Civil War Statues

Continued existence. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. No one is saying slavery was okay. However, these monuments were erected for a reason. Attempts to sanitize history in a misguided fit of political correctness are foolish.

 

 

 

 

Per established custom I shall end with the traditional quote from the Rankin-Bass animated classic Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town:

 

“Lots of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give…of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.”

Superfluous 7 – Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy

As everyone that hasn’t been living under a rock knows, on June 17, 2015 a sick & twisted individual attended Bible Study at a predominantly black church in Charleston, SC and, after spending an hour studying God’s Word and praying with church members, shot & killed 9 people. The shooter was eventually captured and has been proven to be a mentally disturbed racist who was upset after being jilted by a woman (gee…I wonder why she dumped him??).

 

Those facts don’t seem to be in dispute. However, the aftermath has went in an odd & fascinating direction after a photo was discovered with the shooter holding a Confederate battle flag. Because the people in Charleston reacted to the tragedy with prayer & mercy rather than looting & chaos the media quickly grew bored with the story and had to fan the flames of controversy & outrage. What has followed in the weeks after the shooting is a concerted effort by leftists to eradicate the past of the American South. Even though The Civil War has been over for a century & a half and the Civil Rights Movement of over 50 years ago has proven to be successful, affording minorities opportunity & equality that they should have enjoyed all along, the shooting stirred up a storm that isn’t likely to calm anytime soon. South Carolina’s Governor began the snowball by asking for the Confederate battle flag to be taken down from the grounds of the state capitol. Unnecessary?? Meaningless?? Misguided?? Yes…all of the above, but also understandable. Those that say that this is The United States and that only our national flag and perhaps an individual state’s flag should fly on government property probably have a point. My only issue with it is that it didn’t seem to be a problem for years & years & years and for people to all the sudden be offended by that flag because of one photograph is disingenuous, reactionary, and ignores more legitimate concerns. Having said that, I didn’t have a huge problem with removing that flag from South Carolina’s capitol and whatever other government properties from which it was taken down.

 

However, after that things became really stupid and people have lost their freakin’ minds.

 

I think oftentimes the meanings of things can evolve and morph into something else over time. One can debate what the Confederate flag represented 150 years ago, and it is certainly a thought-provoking topic. However, I am more concerned with modern times, and it is undeniable that, for most folks in the past few decades, it has come to stand for southern pride, redneck culture, & the hillbilly lifestyle. To the vast majority of people who fly the flag, wear clothing emblazoned with it, or own any other associated knick-knacks and memorabilia it is not a “flag of hate”. It does not imply racism or a tacit fondness for slavery. It doesn’t even indicate a hatred for America or a desire for The South to literally rise again. It’s just a mascot, a logo, a harmless talisman with no sinister motives intended from most who display it. Southerners are generally some of the kindest, most genuine, eminently approachable, & good-hearted people one will ever encounter. As a whole they would not utilize a symbol inferring hatred of any kind. Most everyone seemed to understand this fact for decades…until now.

 

In his classic novel 1984 George Orwell wrote of the dystopian future that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” We may be 30 years past Orwell’s vision, but we are beginning to fulfill his prophecies. Because of one whackjob who was upset about a woman a movement has built steam to remove all reminders of The Civil War, atleast one half of it. Why now?? Why were these monuments & statues & buildings bearing the names of Confederate generals erected many years ago and few have had any complaints until this summer?? One tragedy is enough to erase history?? I have to believe that there were legitimate reasons why these things were made or named in honor of certain people in the first place. What has changed?? Why were these things not offensive a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, or beyond??

 

At any rate all that is a longwinded introduction to our intended purpose today, which is to recognize…..

 

 
from the home office in Appomattox, VA…..

 

 
The Superfluous 7 Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy:

 

 

 

7 NAACP Wants To Deface Stone Mountain
I rank this lowest on the list because it hasn’t actually occurred…but the subject has been broached. I’ve never been to Georgia, & stone mountainheretofore the only thing I knew about Stone Mountain is that it is where legendary WWE wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts was from. Apparently there is an actual mountain there (well, it’s actually more like a knob or a ridge), and on that mountain is a sizable carving of Generals Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson as well as Jefferson Davis, along with their horses. The piece was begun in 1912 but not completed until 60 years later for various reasons. Anyway, now the NAACP (itself a divisive, race baiting organization) is pushing for the images to be sandblasted away. Now we could go down the road of debating the strengths/weaknesses, plusses/minuses, & positives/negatives of Davis, Lee, & Jackson on an individual basis, and I am sure that there are knowledgeable historians that have studied each man’s life. But the issue is this…folks didn’t know those facts and debate the issue a hundred years ago?? How about during the SIX decades it took to finish the thing?? If the carvings are so offensive how come no one…during all that time…said “Hey…let’s just forget it and start over. Maybe carve some pretty flowers or happy little trees instead.”?? But now…all the sudden…40 years after its completion…it is offensive?? May I humbly suggest that what has really changed is that our culture wasn’t so infested with politically correct, perpetually offended pansies back then.

 

6 Tom Petty & Bubba Watson Selling Out
pettyIt’s no surprise that Tom Petty is a wussified, angst-ridden, tookas kissing opportunist. Actually it’s more surprising that Tom Petty is alive and people are still paying to hear him sing. Who knew?? At any rate, in a pathetic attempt to remember what it was like to be relevant, Petty recently told Rolling Stone (that’s something called a magazine kids…we used to read them in the old days) that he regrets utilizing the Confederate battle flag as stage décor & album art…30 years ago. Really dude?? No one cares. I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday, let alone what some record had on its cover in the 80’s. Get over yourself…you’re not that important. And then there is Bubba Watson, a decent pro golfer and alleged fellow fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, Bubba was such a big fan that in 2012 he paid $110k for one of the show’s approximately 300 General Lee cars. Specifically he purchased one of the earliest General Lees, the one that is seen jumping over a police car in the opening credits (it’s a scene from the very first episode). But now…because of all the hoopla…Bubba says that he will paint over the rebel flag on top of the car, replacing it with the American flag. That’d be like owning an original Batmobile and painting it green, or replacing the gull-winged doors on a Back to the Future DeLorean with standard doors. There are less than 20 original General Lees left. Regardless of one’s bubbaopinion of the show it is indisputable that the car is a valuable piece of memorabilia, cherished by collectors all over the world. Maybe Watson is receiving heat from sponsors. I get it. But for the love of God if he is that weakminded then sell the vehicle…don’t destroy it & make it just another worthless car. To my knowledge he hasn’t followed thru with the paint job yet so there is still time to do the right thing. However, as things stand I must say that, though I’m not really a believer in karma, I smiled when Bubba Watson recently missed the cut at The British Open.

 

5 Amazon & Walmart No Longer Selling Flag Merchandise
amazonThis is what really got the crazy train rolling. Did, as one customer service rep reportedly told a customer, the federal government “encourage” Amazon to remove all Confederate flag related merchandise from its site?? We’ll probably never know. WalMart is based in Arkansas and for years has been the mothership of lowbrow redneck culture, so for them to fold like a cheap suit and remove flag related products was truly shocking. I’m not a boycotting kind of person because I just don’t believe that such movements are effective. Like so many big corporations these days Amazon & WalMart are so gargantuan that it would take a truly focused & united effort to negatively impact their bottom line, and the American people can rarely reach a consensus like that these days. I shop at both places regularly and am unlikely to stop doing so, but nonetheless I am extremely disappointed in their decision to remove clothing & other items adorned with the Confederate flag (even though I’ve never owed any walmartof those things anyway). It is the textbook definition of pandering, and from a business standpoint makes no sense at all. Sure there’ll be some that will applaud the decision which will earn both companies some PR brownie points, but that is a short term benefit. I wouldn’t be surprised if both entities quietly add flag merchandise back into their inventory in the future, once all this controversy simmers down.

 

4 #NoFlaggingChallenge
Someone is going to get hurt. There is just no way around it. Apparently some mental giant started this idea on Twitter, daring people twitterto invade others’ private property and remove Confederate flags from vehicles, homes, etc. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have caught fire like the Ice Bucket Challenge or The Macarena, but I have seen a few videos where folks have actually done this. Most adults know that two wrongs don’t make a right, so no matter how much a person might hate the Confederate flag (probably because the media told you to) it is absolutely insane to think it is okay to violate someone else’s property, committing theft or vandalism in the process. Anyone doing so is a misguided punk, and I sincerely hope as many as possible are arrested. That is atleast a better option than getting beaten into a bloody pulp.

 

3 Man Calls Cops On Antique Store
A typical 21st century American male (that is to say wussified & emasculated…probably a fan of One Direction and an avid viewer of fleaThe Bachelor) was recently shopping at a flea market in Connecticut. That flea market happened to have for sale both Confederate flag & Nazi memorabilia. I will not defend Nazi merchandise. That’s a bit much even for me. However, had most people with an ounce of sense encountered the same situation we would have likely done one of three things: a) ignore the items, b) complain to whoever is in charge of the flea market, or c) leave & take our business elsewhere. This idiot chose Option D…he called the police. Now folks, I know law enforcement has taken it on the chin a bit lately for various reasons, but I still hold most cops in the highest regard. I’m not sure what kind of thuggery & delinquency occurs most often in Connecticut, but I feel confident in saying that their ladies & gentlemen in blue probably have more important matters to deal with than a moron at a flea market offended by items he is under no duress to buy. Needless to say no charges were filed because, as the United States is still a free country (for now), the flea market can sell whatever legal items it wants, no matter who might be upset by them. As a matter of fact what should have happened is the prompt incarceration of the shopper himself (who was apparently so distraught he was shaking & almost vomited…seriously) for wasting the taxpayers’ money & the police’s time.

 

2 Taking The Dukes of Hazzard Off TV
dukes3I thought for sure this would take the top spot because it is the one that has angered me the most. I am from West Virginia, and my feelings for my home state are ambivalent at best. The economic & entertainment environment here is bleak to say the least, and if I had been wiser & more brave I would have escaped this Appalachian abyss two decades ago. To that end I have never embraced the whole redneck/hillbilly thing because I am a little embarrassed by it. I get tired of the jokes & preconceived notions. Everyone I know wears shoes & has indoor plumbing. I am not only literate but college educated. We don’t all sit around drinking moonshine and I have never met anyone that has been intimate with their cousin or any other close family member. Having said all that, there are a few southern conceits that I happily embrace. When I was a kid I LOVED The Dukes of Hazzard. I faithfully watched it every Friday night. As an adult I realize that the show was a bit hokey and the production values not great, but I also appreciate even more the homespun southern morals it espoused. The Dukes of Hazzard wasn’t violent, the good guys always won, it was sexually tame (Daisy Duke’s short shorts are nothing compared to the filth we see on TV now), there were no drugs, & even the villains (Boss Hogg & Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) weren’t all that bad. The show was good clean fun. Like many other television shows I grew up watching, The Dukes, along with other beloved classics like The Andy Griffith Show, The Golden Girls, The Brady Bunch, & Cheers, have continued to entertain us decades after their first run airing thanks to syndicated reruns, and I would still rather watch an episode of The Dukes any day than most of the crap that is currently popular. Unfortunately, as of a few weeks ago, that isn’t as easy as it used to be. Why?? Because one of the main “characters” on the show is a really cool car called The General Lee that happens to have a Confederate battle flag painted on its top. This is suddenly, three decades after the show ended its original run as one of the most popular shows in the country, considered offensive. Lunacy!! glYou want to take the flag down from a government building?? Okay, fine. But to somehow catch a TELEVISION SHOW in the web of politically correct fascism is beyond stupid. The Dukes of Hazzard is undeniably one of the least offensive programs of all time, yet TV Land & other channels have bent over and kissed the…feet…of the perpetually offended leftist minority that is ruining the America I knew & loved. Anyone who ever watch The Dukes of Hazzard would have to honestly say that it wasn’t at all bigoted or racist. It was a spaghetti western with fast cars instead of horses. Good triumphed over evil…always. Family, community, respect, friendship, helping out your neighbors, doing the right thing…that’s what the show was about. Yet because a few people have become upset about a vehicle’s paint job the powers-that-be have taken the program off the air. Seriously people…that’s messed up.

 

1 Desecrating the Grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest
I am a huge fan of the 1994 Oscar winning film Forrest Gump. In that movie the dimwitted main character mentions that he was forrestnamed after Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Forrest was also a lieutenant general in the Confederate army. A few weeks ago the city council in Memphis, TN voted to DIG UP THE REMAINS of Forrest & his wife from a park in the city. Full disclosure…the remains have been dug up before, relocated from their original cemetery lots and moved to the park in 1904, which at the time had been named in Forrest’s honor. However, I am not a fan of desecrating graves, especially for reasons involving idiotic political correctness. Look, no one is defending The Klan. Well, I’m not anyway. There might be some that would. But I think it is so wrong to be digging up graves, no matter who the person is or what they might have done. And here is the kicker. Forrest condemned The Klan a decade before his death and called for its disbandment. This is particularly interesting to West Virginians like myself, who constantly hear so many defending the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, himself a former Klansman who had called black folks “mongrels”. “But but but…Byrd “evolved” on the issue and regretted his Klan history!!” Well…apparently so did Nathan Bedford Forrest. Let’s be clear…I am not saying that Forrest was a good guy. I am simply pointing out an obvious double standard and opining that desecrating a grave for almost any reason is disrespectful & wrong. You’re mileage may vary and that’s okay.