My back goes up and stays up over this new spate of Yankee assaults on working class Southerners for failing to be their intellectual equals, for thinking differently from middle-class white people writing in Boston and New York offices. Insults fly, the air a swarm of arrows, like in a Chinese medieval war movie, arcing over the Mason-Dixon line aimed at cartoon visions of the South, Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, unrepentant racists. I see quite a lot of it every day without looking for it. I don't comment or make anything of it, because I don't care what they think about the South. Just stay out of the South, stay up North where you belong, read about the South, write about the South and have opinions all you want, but stay home, please. One of my favorite of the slurs is the picture of a white flag said to be the only true confederate flag. I'd be happy to take that flag for my own, the flag of ultimate peace. As for confederate flag a flag of surrender, this only says whoever thought this one up does not know shit about the South or Southerners. My interpretation is they can't handle it that the South is an actual culture separate from their own absence of culture.
It's the great American story, Be Like Me, going about believing they know more about other people's lives than the people living their own lives. I feel myself charged up inside over these Yankee assaults of blame on the Southern people over their identity around a flag that pisses Yankees off. Nobody in the South is going to say, Aw, poor Yankee got his feelings hurt. Yankees still don't get it the South does not back down. The civil war was an attack of aggression from the North. It was all fought on Southern land by Southern farm boys defending the homeland from a professional military machine. They were saying, and would have to the last man, Hell No, we will not submit. They'll have to defeat us again to make us give up the flag. There's nothing they can do and every redneck in the South knows it. In simple Southernese, they can go fuck theirselves. Aint nothin a bunch of fellers likes better'n self-righteous Yankees stayin at home. One of many things I embrace about the South is that I can get in my car, drive to Tennessee, Mississippi or Alabama, be comfortable and feel at home. My accent says I'm a friendly, part of the family, share the same belief system of what constitutes decent behavior.
The South is not just a flag that most people in the South don't care about, anyway. A vast majority of Southerners don't care a lick about the flag, but a great many of them would stand firm against a Yankee assault against it. The most this media feeding frenzy on everything Southern has accomplished has been to recruit young white men to the klan. The klan may be the imaginary new confederate army defending the homeland from Yankee assaults, at least a powerful symbol. Nobody stands up for the South outside the South and Southerners mostly don't stand up for the South either, because they don't care what Yankees think of them, as much as Yankees don't care what Canadians think of them. Down here in the South we don't even think about the North except as an irritant that won't go away. We certainly do not entertain any secret desire to be like the North. Arrogance is the most frowned upon, least tolerated of human characteristics in the South. Yankee arrogance grates all the worse from the perspective of people who don't experience it much, left to themselves.
First thing I saw when the finger-pointing and blame started piling up was a redneck reaction planned to give the Yankees a fit. Yesterday I saw something about an 8-mile long parade of cars and pickups, bikes too, flying the forbidden flag. I forget where. It doesn't matter where. Could be anywhere in the South. Like a school massacre can pop up anywhere in television viewing America. I saw something about amazon selling twice as many of the flags as before. Only historians know about the early 60s association with the flag in the South. Rebel boys, the only ones that make something of it, don't care about that. It is their rally flag, all the more now, identity as Southern rednecks like Hank Williams III and Larry the Cable Guy. Git-er-done. Our humor may not be as sophisticated as Yankee humor, but we don't care. We got better music. If they want to start taking down Southern monuments, they'd better be ready for unpredictable reaction. It's more corporate media stirring division for control, devoid of moral responsibility. This present round of Yankee efforts to shame Southern identity is just drawing us closer together under the canopy of Southern unity, a great big confederate flag that people are rallying to now, who didn't care anything about it before.
larry rivers by larry rivers