Thursday, November 25, 2010

The undesirable practice of cursing, swearing, etc.

I avoid cursing and swearing and even in anger generally don't swear or curse. It becomes a bad habit in people. I certainly don't see it as acceptable in writing, unless you were writing about cursing, writing about some one's cursing, or writing about language. A novelist can use these words as part of realistic dialog. A realist novelist of the 21st century could hardly avoid it.

I also don't find cursing or swearing or obscenities or blasphemies acceptable by using asterisks or acronyms. I find this so so stupid and idiotic. You either are expressing the concept or not.

I am going to use the term "swear" as a catch all for swearing, use of obscenitites, cursing, and blasphemies.

Recently I found a reputable Civil War blogger having used an obscenity in one of his posts.

Not a single commentator pointed out the obscenity or critcized it. I was surprised at both the obscenity and the lack of criticism of it.

I subsequently realized this morning that one of the benefits of researching neo-Confederates on the internet is that generally they don't swear.

So I am going to explain why swearing is bad. Some this argument are some things taught to me by teachers, but some I think you will recognize as uniquely my own. I give these four reasons.

1. It has no affect. Especially in contemporary society, where swearing is so common it has no effect. It used to be insulting in that in using such terms against a person was seen as insulting to that person's class. However, now, swearing is just tuned out. After the first term is uttered, the brain just thinks, "take note, person upset with me," and nothing more. After that point swearing is just adding hot air to the room.

Swearing doesn't add a sense of exclamation to your expression.

However, an insult without swearing, will engage the attention of the person to whom it is directed. It will be more deadly in effect, if you think exactly what you wish to criticize and conceive your insult to express that. I would also always call attention to a person's swearing if being sworn at with some expression like, "What a gutter mouth!" They may not react in your presence to what you said, but they will think of it, when they swear.

Some insults can have interesting delayed impacts. Sometimes I say to an obnoxious person, "I hope your children grow up just like you." I say this clearly in the context of my hoping something bad happens to them. They are puzzled, they have to assemble the insult in their minds, and then they realize what the insult is, and they had to think through the insult, and thereby hear it, and remember it. Sometimes they are stunned.

My favorite rejoinder to the expression, "I will never speak (or whatever) to you (or here) again," is "Promises, Promises."

However, have your comment speak to the issue at hand and perhaps a little personal insult thrown in. The vulgar person might bay "bull shit," but I would say, "Your argument, like yourself, totally lacks logic and reason." "Nonsense" or "Nonsensesical" isn't bad, but doesn't sting, but keeps you from saying stupid things like "bs." "Stuff and nonsense" is an old classic. What someone is saying might be a sham, or a rationalization, or a pretense. An insulting remark that speaks to the issue is powerful. You might say, "This is just a rationalization which I don't find surprising coming from you."

When you stop swearing you insults will tend to be more deadly and you should consider when using them. You might want to just say, as a modification of one the above insults, "Your rationalizations tire me." You are still saying what he is saying is a rationalization, and that it isn't surprising coming from him, but further it is a continuing practice such that you are tired by it. You establish that you are the injured party and your insult is now a plea, lessening anger, but still really an insult.

In the case where swearing isn't for insults, but for an expressions of exclamation, it isn't necessary also. You can say, "I am flabbergasted," or "Jumping Jupiters" or "OMG" or "what in the world." There are a lot of fun expressions to do this.

2. It is aethetically unpleasing. Think of swearing as defecating through your mouth. Sorry for this foul image, but I wish to make this point forcefully. It is also accurate.

3. It is intellectually lazy and represents intellectual laziness or it means you are so upset you have lost control of your thoughts. Swearing can imply that it doesn't take much to get you to lose control of your thoughts, since you are shallow, when the provocation isn't much.

4. It can represent a limited range of being able to express yourself.

Finally, there are some who think swearing makes them more authentic, or more of the people, or something like that. It is insulting to everyday people. It is slumming. It is an affectation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

History News Network Banner ad for "The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader"

We have a banner ad for "The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader" on the front page of the History News Network.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Positive Book Review in the "Journal of Southern History"

The book, "Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction," got a very favorable review in the Journal of Southern History.

The book review by Charles J. Holden is online here:

Some quotes: (Note comment about juvenile emotionalism)

The contributors to Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction show admirable patience and steadiness with their subject matter: the often frantic, willfully ignorant, and paranoia-laced movement among some white southerners toward modern-day secession. This even, strong volume of essays, edited by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta, explores the cultural, historical, gendered, white supremacist, and political components of the neo-Confederate ideology. The authors painstakingly explicate the writings and speeches of the main neo-Confederates such as Clyde Wilson, John Shelton Reed, Michael Hill, and other leading figures of the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South.


Again, there is much to admire in the tone adopted throughout Neo-Confederacy. The editors and authors carefully point out the slender grasp of historical fact, the political insecurities, and the juvenile emotionalism that appear to fuel so much of the neo-Confederate movement.

The word about the neo-Confederate movement is getting out there.

I was informed today that the publishers of the "Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader" have just contacted 3700 professors about the book.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The "Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader" recommended on the Zinn Education Project web site

The link is here:

From the "About" page.

The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. The empowering potential of studying U.S. history is often lost in a textbook-driven trivial pursuit of names and dates. Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history. Students learn that history is made not by a few heroic individuals, but instead by people’s choices and actions, thereby also learning that their own choices and actions matter.

We believe that through taking a more engaging and more honest look at the past, we can help equip students with the analytical tools to make sense of — and improve — the world today. For a more complete description, read A People’s History, A People’s Pedagogy.

In 2008, with support from an anonymous donor, the Zinn Education Project distributed 4,000 free packets for teaching people’s history to educators across the country. In a follow-up survey, the recipients requested more resources, which led to the creation of this upgraded website to provide teaching materials online. Read the full report (in PDF) on the distribution of the 4,000 packets here.

The word about what the Confederacy and neo-Confederacy was really about is getting out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Falsifying photos to create Afro-Confederate soldiers.

At the following URL is a fascinating story of detective work titled, "The Modern Falsification of a Civil War Photograph."

I think the investigators reveal an example of misrepresentation that is fairly typical for what passes as neo-Confederate scholarship regarding so-called black Confederate soldiers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"How Obama should remember the Confederacy ..." Ed Sebesta in the "Washingtonian"

The article is here:

The title is "A War to Remember - but How?: How Obama should remember the Confederacy as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches" and is by Cragg Hines.

From the article:

The President may need all the historical understanding he can muster as the nation begins to mark the Civil War’s 150th anniversary next spring and our first African-American chief executive becomes a focus.

For Obama to take a leading role in commemorating the Civil War “is what Americans expect—it’s what the world expects,” says Frank Smith, founding director of DC’s African American Civil War Memorial & Museum. But as McDonnell’s misstep illustrated, politicians had best proceed carefully when dealing with a war that many historians see as the most divisive—and decisive—time in the nation’s development.

“It’s not only appropriate but necessary for the President to recognize it in a relatively forceful way,” says S. Waite Rawls III, president of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.

Obama already knows the sort of controversy that can flare up. Over the protest of academics, he has continued the tradition of sending a Memorial Day wreath to the Confederate Monument at Arlington Cemetery. His response to complaints was also to send one to the African American Civil War Memorial on DC’s U Street.

For those wishing to read the 2009 and 2010 letters to Obama requesting him not to send a wreath to the Arlington Confederate Monument you can read them at this blog.

The individual letters are at these URLs:

For 2009:

For 2010:

There is a 2011 letter that is in progress and there will be a questionnaire sent to all the potential presidential candidates for the 2012 election.

The questionnaire is online here:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

James Loewen interviews regarding "The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader"

The word is getting out all over the nation about what the Confederacy is all about.

James Loewen is interviewed by the Santa Fe Radio Cafe' here:

And by Remapping the Debate in the following video:

This is a five part video and the total time is over 70 minutes, but since they divided it into five segments you can view it by parts and not sit through all 70+ minutes at once.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

James Loewen on "Mississippi Edition" of Mississippi Public Broadcasting

The book segment comes on at 17:40 in the online edition of "Mississippi Edition."

It was originally broadcast on November 4, 2010. This program plays at 8:30 am in the morning so a lot of commuters can hear it as well as persons at home.

Incidentally, I will be adding more material to as I get time, have been tied up with two writing projects.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

"Jackson Free Press" reviews "Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader"

The online review of the book is here:

From the review:

"Mississippi’s is quite clear: “In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery, the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of the commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

Loewen and Sebesta also include a number of speeches made before, during and immediately after the war. They all embody a single theme: the need to protect the institution of slavery. On April 29, 1861, Jefferson Davis delivered one of the most important speeches of the time, when he urged the Confederate Congress to adopt the proposed Confederate Constitution. The speech was a long one, though clearly Davis felt the need to lay out in great detail the historical events that led to secession. The entire speech was about slavery.

In this excerpt, Davis took great pains to defend the practice: “Under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the well-being and comfort of the laboring classes, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000 at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact to upward of 4,000,000.

“In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed ...”

What comes across after reading the documents Loewen and Sebesta have compiled is the clear sense that southern leaders were proud of what they had accomplished on the backs of millions of slaves. They had convinced themselves that white was superior to black, even ordained and blessed by God.

In the review, the reviewer makes reference to the Mississippi controversy over its flag. Jackson is the capitol of Mississippi, and the Jackson Free Press is the cities alternative weekly. Intelligent and educated people in that city will come to know of the book and its contents and realize that they have the material to support a challenge to the Mississippi state flag. As this book becomes known about in Mississippi, there will be a realization that the present Mississippi state flag is intolerable.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

2010 Election Returns with a focus on the issue of neo-Confederacy

I will update this posting as the election results come in.

1. Tom Tancredo is projected to lose the race for the Colorado governor. He ran as a candidate of the American Constitution Party which is involved with neo-Confederate ideology.

Though it is disturbing that about one out of three voted for a person who is totally irresponsible and whose political philosophy is to inflame.

2. Rand Paul, son of neo-Confederate Ron Paul has won the election to be a U.S. Senator from Kentucky.

3. Texas governor Rick Perry who talked about secession has won relection.
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