The Stars & Barred

By strange coincidence, all of this insanity about the Confederate flag is happening right on the eve of my dad and I commencing Civil War, one of the best, most ambitious Civil War board games ever made.

The current iconoclasm against the Confederate Battle Flag and Confederate iconography in general has reached absurd lengths as Civil War computer games are being pulled from digital shelves and the General Lee is being reimagined without the Stars & Bars for any future incarnations and toys of the Dukes of Hazzard. People have called for Gone With the Wind to be given the Song of the South treatment and banished.The problem with Iconoclasm is that it winds up granting just that much more power to the icons people are railing against; if they weren’t powerful, why would they need to be smashed?

Suddenly, people who don’t have any real emotional stake in the old Stars & Bars have a reason to say “Hey, wait a minute,” because they see folks tearing stuff down largely for the purpose of tearing down; they see people choosing a weak, difficult to defend, target being attacked because the attackers are certain that their victory is a sure thing. And if anything has shown itself to be true, it’s that folks will be ready to rally around an underdog, especially when it’s being attacked for purely socio-political reasons. If anything will cause the south to “rise again”, it’ll be marketplaces soft-banning the Stars & Bars. Civil War video games are out at Apple; when Skynyrd comes down from iTunes, folks may go to war.

I can’t help but wonder if my State’s flag will come under fire soon. They fed us a bullshit line back in grade school state social studies about how the Arkansas flag is diamond shaped because we have a diamond crater, but that’s just because they wanted to retcon our flags’ origins harder than Capcom retconned Street Fighter 1 out of existence in the 90s and early Oughts.  There was actually a law passed in 1987 claiming that the diamond stands for literal diamonds. It’s shaped like a diamond because it’s just the Virginia battle flag bisected.

If the diamond is for diamonds, then the red is for crawfish and the blue is for the St. Helena King Biscuit Blues festival.

If the diamond is for diamonds, then the red is for crawfish and the blue is for the St. Helena King Biscuit Blues festival.

But back to games… the notion that historical games are effectively being censored because they are accurately including period iconography is not only ridiculous, it is patently offensive.  I’ve never flown the Stars & Bars and until now, I’ve never had an inkling to, but there’s only so long and so far you can kick a southern boy!  So, when we start tonight, I’ll be playing the South and kick the tar out of those Yankees until they have no choice but to vote for George McClellan!

11 responses to “The Stars & Barred

  1. You know, you have to choose to be offended. I get that. But Apple by their actions insinuating that playing civil war themed games somehow contributes to a “culture of hate” that causes people to walk into churches to kill black people. That angry, hate-filled rednecks are liable to get set off at any moment if the image of this flag tickles their amygdala in just the wrong way.

    I think that’s a pretty ugly thing to do. But it’s like showing off their bigotry is more important to them than making money. Which… is something of a theme lately.

    • I consider Apple’s actions offensive not in that I’m offended but in that it is an actual attack (an offensive, if you will) on historical gaming hobbyists and developers.

      Also, I realize now that I put up the wrong flag. They “fixed” it to put one star on top and three on the bottom, and Governor Clinton signed some law that said “the top star is for the Confederacy” or something. Even as a little kid, I didn’t really buy the whole diamond thing…

  2. The confederate flag needs to come down from public places, and from anyone’s car or jacket who does not want to be known as a bigot or traitor. But taking it off things about or representing the actual confederacy as a historical thing is very silly. How Germany handles the swastika is instructive.
    But in the wake of white-boy terrorist attack, I guess it is the one target most people are willing to discuss, gun control being off the table…

    • I agree that it should come down from any capitols and/or government buildings; it was never a governmental flag in the first place. Hell, most of its modern usage comes entirely because it was resurrected as part of the 1948 Democrat campaign. I think saying anyone with with it on a car or a jacket is a bigot or a traitor is something of a stretch, but that’s really up to how people feel about things, and I wouldn’t want to dictate that to anyone.

      Germany’s policy veers close, in my opinion, to Nazi denialism, and seems like the direction some folks in this country would like to go: if we don’t talk about it, we can bury it like it never happened. And the lengths taken to prevent people from talking about it are frightening.

    • The following two statements are not true:

      All people with confederate flag stickers on their pickup trucks are bigots.
      All people with confederate flag stickers on their pickup trucks are traitors.

      The last one is interesting because you are basically saying that this is something so awful, that the First Amendment cannot conceivably protect it. It’s outright treason! I doubt you mean that, of course. Most people that oppose free expression are very careful to keep the Federal government as far out of the picture as possible. There is at least some fear or respect shown towards the Bill of Rights by them, at least in token.

      What you are really saying is, “I would like rural, backward, NASCAR watching people if only they would renounce this one thing.” That is not true either, of course. You wouldn’t like them more or less either way.

      • My dad has a confederate tie. It’s part of a matching set of Antietam commemorative ties.

        He doesn’t wear it often, but as a gimmick when he was teaching the divided kingdoms period in Sunday School, he would wear the South tie when covering Judea and the North tie when covering Israel.

      • Yeah, not all, and certainly they don’t think of themselves that way. But the message it sends to people from the North, and blacks, is pretty unambiguous, and pretending it is honoring some noble ideal doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      • But Northerners are so crass and have so much more political say than us! We’ve gotta do something, even if it is just piss em off! The Dixiecrats left us with it as a symbol of our disenfranchisement in the national political system. Even though damn near everything else about southern politics has changed, being pissed we have significantly smaller political sway over northern states who are our political opposites still holds true, and it’s easier for folks to hold onto old symbols to represent that opposition than to try to cook up new ones.

        TL;DR: Even though our racist grandpappies foisted the progressive movement on the rest of the country, we still don’t care much for the authoritarian manifestations of 20th-21st century Federalism. And, uh… we got a flag for that.

      • BTW I didn’t say the first amendment doesn’t or shouldn’t protect it. But being protected speech does not make it appropriate for government buildings and sure doesn’t protect those who display it from criticism.
        I’m not saying like what you interpret my comment as saying IMO.

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