The South Must Be Destroyed

At the time that the world went insane over the display of the Confederate flag at a war memorial on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol, I told a friend that I was concerned that this would lead to a much more serious purge against the South. The language being used wasn't always anti-Confederate, but had a strong anti-Southern tendency -- especially the language of the powerful and politically connected, as opposed to the ordinary citizens of South Carolina who have a perfect right to debate how to remember their heritage.

That this is an anti-Southern purge by the cultural elite is clear, now, as the Washington Post leads the charge to destroy the Southern belle. Writing on a decision by the University of Georgia to ban the wearing of hoop skirts as somehow symbolic of slavery, though unlike the Confederate flag the skirt is characteristic of the South both before and after the end of slavery, the Post calls for much more purgery:
If UGA and other Southern schools really want to lead, they will not only ban the hoop; they will also go after the belle. This will be tougher to do. It will mean discontinuing support for still-prevalent campus productions that promote imaginative connection with the Old South. And it will mean instituting new campus productions in their place. For their part, traditionally white Southern sororities serious about anti-racism will scrap the belle aesthetic and corresponding performances designed to measure it. They will develop new yardsticks for evaluating potential members that are less about looks and more about leadership. In short, they will confront the central role their choreography plays in reiterating race and class privilege. They will just say to hell with the belle.
The language is extraordinarily hostile to a group of young women engaged in what, in an earlier era, we might have thought of as "protected acts of free expression." But the campus is no place for free expression these days. These days expressions on campus must be controlled by the Federal Government's Office for Civil Rights. Campuses in the South must be controlled most tightly of all.

I've seen this movie before.

It wasn't the Medieval English kings, as the film has it: it was in 1746 that the kilt was banned, and the pipes, and the symbols of Scotland.


David Foster said...

The phobia(s) that may destroy America

Assistant Village Idiot said...

If they don't like something, you shouldn't either. And if shaming you and laughing at you for being unfashionable doesn't work (it works far less well on conservatives than liberals), then they gradually move to consequating a behavior, then forbidding it.

It is a largely successful strategy, taken as a whole, because it is gradual, and the opponents grow fewer every year.

Grim said...

You both raise good points. What strikes me on reflection is that this same office would come down like a hammer on anyone at the school who tried to tell sorority girls that they couldn't wear skirts that were too short. Telling them they can't wear skirts that contain hoops is just fine. In fact, more than fine, it's probably mandatory.

The reason you can't say that the skirts must be of a certain length is alleged by the Office of Civil Rights to be that it is wrong to police the female body, or to impose limits on womens' freedom of expression via politics. It turns out, I suppose, that the truth is that the Office of Civil Rights merely believes in arrogating that power to itself alone.

Anonymous said...

I'm contrary enough that I'd be tempted to organize a Victorian Christmas fair and dance charity fundraiser, and invite everyone to come in period attire if they so choose. Including hoop skirts.

Oh, and do NOT attempt to drive a car while wearing modern hoops. Just don't.


Edith Hook said...

I have to hand it to these people, how ever do they come up with this stuff? They can't possibly have real jobs or real lives.

I suppose there is no point in mentioning that 40+% of the population of SouthCarolina and 45+% of population of Georgia was born outside of the South, like most of the states of the old Confederacy. It's like they pulled a Rip Van Winkle and are unaware of the North to South migration of the last 60 years. I hear there are subdivision in the Carolina's where almost everyone is from NJ or Long Island.

Tom said...

Edith, probably the most brilliant thing the left did as they changed the world was make sure they got paid for doing it. Academics, activists on government grants, union leaders on money the government takes out of union members' paychecks, they all get paid for coming up with stuff like this and forcing it down our throats.

What's really brilliant, though, is that the right loses money through activism: They have to take off work to do this sort of thing. Also, their taxes go to support the leftist movers and shakers.

Logistically, the right can't win.

jaed said...

The author of the article is a "research associate in American Studies at the University of Maryland", and has a book coming out from an academic press. I believe this actually means this writer is a doctoral student and the book is her dissertation. But the way they put it sounds more impressive.

Eric Blair said...

I think you are missing the class warfare angle of this. Sororities are bastions of class privilege, as it were, and face it, it was the rich Southerns who started the war. so then it is guilt by association and so forth.

Grim said...

I don't know anything about Greek life, but I never got the idea that they were the bastions of the classy. I'm inclined to view them with a sort of pity, as someone who has missed the point of inclusion in the traditions of the university.

Even if you're right, though, the WPost is still punching down. These are the weak, and we ought to defend them.