Goddamnit, CNN. Isn’t it embarrassing that anyone thinks we should be having a “debate” about the Confederacy, a horrific, treasonous tumor on American history, promulgated by consolidated oligarchic financial interests intent on paying zero labor costs? NO. There are “different points of view,” meaning each is 50% correct, forever.

And what a debate this is! Pro-Confederacy guy thinks “the Confederacy should be studied,” anti-Confederacy mean lady “counters” that the Confederacy was about race. How very mutually exclusive those positions are! Have any of you studied the Confederacy, and determined that it was about race? Then according to CNN, you don’t exist. You’re a stupid gay ghost! Fuck off, Mr. Non-Existypants McGrundle!

Ha ha, look at the picture on the right, of an actual modern-day slave, with his hut made out of local sticks. What does he think?


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  1. Fuckall. Now I’ve gotta make a trip to the DMV to get my license changed to read “Ms. Non-Existypants McGrundle.” Thanks heaps, Mr. Jim Newell and CNN, for waking me up to myself.

  2. So, was the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. really a vile, callous act of racism – or was it just a case of young John William King experimenting with new methods of street sweeping? CNN, let’s debate!

  3. Next on CNN, “Hitler: 50% Good?”

    All joking aside, “Confederates in the Attic” is a tremendously good book about current attitudes on the confederacy. It even has a title about Civil War reinactors called “Wargasm” — very Wonkette appropriate.

  4. “Some people think CNN headquarters should be bombed from outer space; others think CNN headquarters should be launched INTO the vacuum of space. Which is correct?”

  5. I actually studied the Confederacy in school except it was called “the Civil War” and what I learned was that it was mainly about slavery. But I was young and naive then so I didn’t understand enough finer nuances to also understand that Sherman’s March went probably a little too light on the South.

  6. If CNN’s looking to replace The Onion for groany headlines and absurdities then forget it.

    Note to CNN: Slavery (the main cause of the Civil War) is BAD.

  7. [re=556286]nappyduggs[/re]: OT, but I got me a double down at KFC! Needs a sausage patty or something inside it. i don’t care if the bread is two pieces of fried chicken, some bacon and cheese is not enough to fill a sandwich.

  8. I think we could teach a lesson to other countries with our FreedomsTM !

    Germany should have a stormtrooper appreciation month, Kristallnacht reenactments,
    and a Nazi studies college program.

  9. Considering how they even treat the “debate” between the proven fact that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old with life changing over long periods of time, and the belief it’s only 6,000 years old with life as is just because it says so in some silly old book, as if they were two equally respectable points of view, this should hardly be surprising.

    Next up: the two sides of the geodesy debate; is the Earth flat or round?

  10. Fuck this to infinity. Some stories don’t have two “sides” worth telling. In fact, when I hear the phrase “both sides” I cringe since that’s how you talk to kids in grade school when the arguments didn’t have anything of real consequence tied to them. “Who started this food fight?” “OK, now I’ll listen to ~both sides~”

    We’re not in grade school anymore (I think) and adults should be able to recognize facts and talk about them or something. Adult debates have more than two side, it’s complex and in the best of words we build on each others understanding.

    But, between this and having people ask me why black people can say the n-word and they can’t I’m about done with the “other side” There are two kinds of people in this world…

  11. if you would like to pinch off the conversation you are having with the happy-go-lucky Confederate flag-waver, tell him to closely examine his/her flag for the inevitable inscription to be found there:

    “made in China”

  12. Teach the controversy!
    This is the kind of moronic debate that comes up every time wingnuts try to deny the truth of evolution or American history or global warming or macro economic theory or…
    Well, just about everything. So thanks, CNN, for contributing to furthering the debate and making this country a little dumber.

  13. But everybody knows the truth always lies exactly in the center! It’s just like the Holocaust. If Hitler had only killed 3 million instead of 6, no biggie!

  14. Well it’s better than CNN’s insane clown posse debate (Person A: ICP is a steaming pile of shit, makeup, foul sodapop, and rape. Person B: There are no laws against raping sheep but otherwise pretty much.)

  15. [re=556299]Hooray For Anything[/re]: [re=556305]ManchuCandidate[/re]:

    You know, I am turning into a reactionary. I’m not even willing to concede that slavery was the
    “main cause” of the Civil War or that the Civil War was only “mainly” about slavery. The Civil War was entirely about slavery, period, the end. It is, I think, enlightening that people like Gov. McDonnell never can come up with the other things that the Civil War was about, except to point to vague things like “states’ rights.”

    But this is a complete obfuscation, because the Civil War was only about “states’ rights” to the extent that you mean “states’ rights to permit their citizens to own slaves.” Other “states’ rights” (like the right of a free state to emancipate a slave from another state when that slave reached the free state) were not really something the Confederacy was into–that very thing was one of the proximate causes of the war and was one of the things that the Confederate Constitution sought to stamp out by *guaranteeing* the right of slave ownership everywhere, states’ “rights” to the contrary be damned.

    If someone can point me to a cause of the Civil War that does not, at bottom, trace back to a) slavery or b) concerns about preserving the economic and agrarian model of the South, which was fundamentally based on slavery, I will take back what I said above. But I don’t think such a thing exists.

  16. [re=556315]WonderWomyn[/re]: “We’re not in grade school anymore” – Try telling that to CNN, the Washington Post and most of the rest of our great media.

    [re=556318]liquiddaddy[/re]: According to YouTube, he’s apparently pissed about the cancellation of Firefly and dozens of other geek shows.

  17. [re=556343]Formerly Preferred[/re]: One more thing on this. Whenever this issue comes up, after the red mist clears from eyes and my rage at the South subsides enough for me to use a keyboard, I like to go back to this handy comparison of the USA and CSA Constitutions. They are, substantively, nearly identical.

    Except, you know, for a couple of minor additions. Like the right to own slaves. And the chilling addendum to the privileges and immunities clause, which in the CSA granted the citizens of each State not only all of the priviliges and immunities of the several states, but also provided that said citizens “shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.”

    God damn the South for their “peculiar institution.” God damn the men that fought to defend it. God damn the armed insurrection that they carried out, and the means by which they tore this nation asunder. I will offer no celebration of their history or of their sacrifice; they should be buried in unmarked graves and the monuments to them should be cast into the sea.

    But, you know, maybe that’s just me.

  18. Slavery: Is it debasing human explotation or could it be America’s best bet for regaining it’s leadership position in manufacturing and agriculture?

  19. [re=556315]WonderWomyn[/re]: You’re asking people who, of their own choice, call their political movement teabagging and themselves teabaggers, while protesting that the government did not provide enough free, government-funded transportation to their rallies to protest sochulizt government-funded-programs and taxes, to consider facts and debate reasonably, like adults?

  20. It wasn’t about slavery at all!!

    Except the Mississippi Declaration of Secession states:

    “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 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. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. ”

    Oooops, Haley Barbour. Appears that you probably should have probably googled the history of your own state.

  21. In other CNN News, CNN has just announced to further pander… er, in keeping with CNN’s Fair and Balanced sensibilities, the network is to begin broadcasting half of their days as the Confederate News Network lead anchored by Grand High Dragon, Eric son of Eric.

  22. [re=556362]Smoke Filled Roommate[/re]: Or maybe some type of compromise secession, like fr’instance give ’em Alabama, Mississippi and parts of S Carolina & Texas—but definitely not the part with Austin in it. We could relocate ’em all with railroad cattle cars. They can take as many Confederate flags as they can carry…

  23. I’d like one of these confederate cock suckers to tell me what “state’s rights” they were denied after they LOST the Civil War, aside from the “right” to own a human being.

    I’ll wait right here.

  24. [re=556343]Formerly Preferred[/re]: Formerly, formerly, where did your mother and I go wrong? Everyone knows that the Civil War was caused by economic issues, essentially that the South needed to keep slavery so that rich, southern land owners could continue to … Oh. Wait a minute. Let me rephrase that…

    I remember having this “debate” with some asshole who flew a Confederate flag in my diverse neighborhood. I was just being a good neighbor, trying to inform him that some people in the neighborhood were offended by his flag and in the interest of community harmony, it might be a good idea to take it down. We got into the “it’s not hate; it’s heritage” bullshit and I finally said, fine, if you’re proud of a heritage where people committed treason for the right to own other people, good luck with that.

  25. There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

    To study the Confederacy is fine, to worship it as a golden age isn’t.

  26. [re=556337]snideinplainsight[/re]: Unfortunately, JK wasn’t shot by his own troops and kept his arm in tact. What could have been if Frank Reich (the best thing to come out of Maryland since Sprirew Aganew) led the team to victory. THAT’S why we need a debate.

  27. Rather than fanning the flames of this burning controversy CNN should help us all to move on. Perhaps with two separate-but-equal pieces on the opposing points of view.

  28. There were two sides to the Tuskegee Experiment and let’s have a serious debate about Field Marshal Jeffery Amherst gift of blankets tp Injuns! And the effectiveness of the Gulag Diet Plan.

  29. [re=556364]Joshua Norton[/re]: Maybe someone can go back in time and Eli Whitney can invent sunblock in connection to the cotton gin in order to let white people work in the fields in tropical climates.

  30. I used to think the funniest trash tabloid headline of all time was, “Vatican to Declare: Saint Elvis.” I now think CNN is likely to slap a question mark on the end of that sucker and turn it into a three-hour Special Report. The Catholics would be thrilled to participate — anything to get the spotlight off the Pope’s other activities. And Priscilla would come on to unveil this week’s facial restructuring. (Make sure you spell “Jukesgrrl” correctly on my producer credit, CNN.)

  31. The “Confederacy” is an issue? That “issue” was settled 155 years ago when the Union kicked those cracker asses into the fucking gutter and pissed on them and their grits fattened women and ugly, inbred kids.

  32. I think Jon Stewart said it, but if the South wants to continuously celebrating the “Lost Cause,” we up here in the North get to celebrate “Union Army Ass-Kicking” month where we learn about all the various ways we kicked their ass. The holiday will culminate with a reenactment of Sherman’s March to the Sea and instead of burning down Atlanta, we’ll burn down a NASCAR race track.

    [re=556343]Formerly Preferred[/re]: Point taken– I was being maybe a tad too polite there.

  33. In their defence, CNN is run by robots who don’t grok why humans wouldn’t appreciate a good rational debate about the pros and cons of, say, slavery, genocide, or pedophilia.

  34. I still remember when one of those “Southern Apologists” was on Bill Maher’s original show saying how the South wasn’t all that bad. They actually planned on freeing their slaves, in time, just not on the North’s super fast timeline….etc
    And some other person on the show says “Oh REALLY? When did the South plan on freeing their slaves? Would they be free NOW, for instance? Just asking….” and the a-hole basically got laughed off the set.
    Look, if “Southern Heritage” is ok for Southerners to study, then they should be OK with teaching “Aryan Herita”….ooops. never mind. they already do.

  35. [re=556343]Formerly Preferred[/re]:


    I think the problem might be one of perspective. I’m not defending these racist wingnut assholes, but there’s a fundamental problem with what you are saying, in my opinion.

    Look, history isn’t “about” anything. We are so immersed in a narrative culture- where everything, even our own lives, is viewed as having a beginning, middle, end, and moral. But lives- which is really what we are talking about- aren’t like that. There’s no inciting incident, no rising action, climax, or denouement. There are simply events, and perspectives on events.

    When I look at history, I try to look at it from this perspective. It is not so much what certain events are “about”, but what the series of actions that define that event tell me about the human beings that performed them. The series of actions surrounding the Civil War tell me that the Confederacy was a racist regime, and that the members of the Confederacy would enter into any number of arguments, and stop at no extremity, in order to maintain their perceived right to own human beings in the same way that they owned cattle.

    So we agree, it’s just that I think the mistake you might be making is entering into a false discussion. The Civil War wasn’t “about” anything in particular- not in a moral sense or in the sense of a narrative. However, the actions which informed and caused the Civil War were often racist, and while some of the motivation behind the preservation of the Union was mired in a kind of economic self-interest, largely the conflict was caused by a clash in moral ideology (much like the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition).

    Did the good guys win? Not really, inasmuch as there is no such thing as a “good guy”. Did we, as a country, end up making the correct moral choice? Absolutely.

    Does that make sense?

    /snark back on

  36. [re=556322]Gorillionaire[/re]: “Exxon paid no taxes to the federal government.” But that story about 47% of US Americans paying no taxes, which was so full of Republican bullshit, played every-fucking-where.

    Does anyone here require an explanation of why coverage of that report was insanely wrong?

  37. [re=556409]germansteel[/re]: And from the inbred afterbirth and glistening gristle, the mutant retarded seedlings of conservatism were spawned, also Walmart and NASCAR.

  38. [re=556384]CrunchyKnee[/re]: That’s because he fought in one of those famous Southern integrated army units we keep hearing about, fought to preserve the Southern way of life! Heck, he might have owned slaves himself!Also.

    Now why all the fussin’ an’ feudin’?

  39. [re=556373]FMA[/re]:”committed treason for the right to own other people”. Now that’s succinct. This really is the stinking abscess at the heart of every true Amurrikun and I begin to doubt that we will ever be healed. Again, these people are like the Serbs after the field of crows, 600 years later. Still ready to do murder for the cause.

  40. [re=556343]Formerly Preferred[/re]: My take on the states-rights idiots is to ask them one question: If there wasn’t any slavery in 1861, would the Civil War still have happened?

    After we get through the usual semantic bullshit (No, that doesn’t mean if the Federal government outlawed slavery on Dec. 31, 1860, etc., but just if the institution simply weren’t there) and the answer is no, then the argument is pretty much over.

    Of course I’ve also seen the argument that if slavery didn’t exist, the entire economic system of the South would’ve been different. But that’s the same as saying the cause of the Civil War wasn’t slavery, but slavery and all of its corollaries. I like this, because then I’ll usually say “Well that’s a much more satisfying answer, isn’t it?” Try it, it’s fun.

  41. [re=556425]Tommmcatt[/re]: I think you’re wrong. Yeah, “history” isn’t “about” anything. But people actions have reasons behind them, and this provides meaning. The reason the South fought was to protect the institution of slavery, so therefore I would say the Civil War was about slavery.

  42. [re=556425]Tommmcatt[/re]: I see what you are saying, and to an extent I agree–we can fall into a trap of perceiving any number of historical events through the lens of our own biases, and we can impose our narrative upon them in such a way that events become meaningful only inasmuch as they fit into whatever our crabbed story structure permits. I think that’s a real danger and one to be avoided.

    That said, I think it is also true (especially with armed conflicts) that there are ultimate and proximate causes to historical events. There are events that trigger people to take actions; there are moments where participants decide to do X instead of Y, and with something as momentous as going to war (which is generally a collective undertaking) those moments can often be identified and studied. At the very least, while history may not be *about* anything, per se, it is the case that the participants in an event have a belief (or a series of beliefs) that motivates them to do what they are doing.

    I hesitate to make any grand historical claims about the march of freedom or the truth of Marx’s belief about economics being at the center of an epic struggle for the reasons you cite. There’s too much mess in history to make that kind of narrative imposition useful. At the same time, for something like the Civil War, I think we can say that the ultimate cause of this event was a desire on the part of the decisionmakers in the South to preserve their economic and social model, a model for which slavery was the keystone. The proximate causes of the war were perceived threats, both long and short term, to the survival of this model, and thus I think it is fair to say that slavery was the root cause of the war–in shorthand, the war was “about” slavery.

    As for what the people on the ground believed, the Civil War may or may not have been widely perceived by the polity to be “about” slavery or “about” emancipation at its outset–I just don’t know enough to say. There is compelling evidence, though, that those who were doing the fighting came to perceive slavery as being what the war was about as the war dragged on, and that on both sides there was an understanding that the war would not (and could not) end until the issue of slavery was resolved. See, e.g., Manning, Chandra, What This Cruel War Was Over, Vintage (2008).

    In conclusion, truck nutz.

  43. Personally, I love how committed neo-Confederates are to arguing that we should have hanged the whole white racist slave-owning lot of them, for treason, way back in the day. Honestly, it would have settled the “debate”, once and for all, wouldn’t it have?

  44. [re=556297]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: “Next on CNN, ‘Hitler: 50% Good?’”

    CNN can’t have that one. MSNBC copyrighted it because Pat Buchanan uses it at least once a month.

  45. [re=556292]Schmegeg[/re]: Oh yes. Start with its shit-hole airport. It will be reported as “national” news on their local news outlet, CNN, but since no one watches, no one will know.

  46. [re=556425]Tommmcatt[/re]: WARNING: THIS IS NO DEFENSE OF THE CONFEDERACY

    Perhaps if Lincoln had lived, the Reconstruction of the South would have been different. Some history books point out that the North didn’t find slavery suitable to their economy (not much large-area agriculture, due to the topography) before they decided it was immoral, as many of the slave-ships were owned and captained by New Englanders and other Northerners. History also points out that the utter destruction of an enemy state in retribution and victory creates fertile ground for a totalitarian regime (see post-Germany, WWI).

    What followed after Lincoln’s assassination was the passage of “Jim Crow” laws throughout the South, enabling the same few wealthy upper-class families who “ruled” the South before the war (joined by Northern industrialists like US Steel and various coal mining companies) to continue to this day to dominate the economy, politics, and educational opportunities and keep the majority of rural blacks and poorer whites from attaining the American Dream.

    Again, don’t misunderstand; this is not a defense of the Confederacy.

  47. Forty acres and a mule: Smart investment or just another Big Government hand out?

    Seriously now. This sounds weird, but I’m proud of all of you because you get it and hate it and express it so eloquently. It was treason and it was about slavery. “States rights” was just bullshit to get poor whites to fight for the cavaliers (as Sherman referred to them). One history teacher of mine put it this way: “They didn’t own slaves, but they fought for the right to own them one day, if they just worked hard enough.”

  48. I am very disturbed at all of this vitriol directed towards racist neo-Confederates, its just as bad as anti-semitism or criticizing child-molesters.

  49. [re=556510]Smoke Filled Roommate[/re]: Sorry, history was one of my undergraduate majors…. Consider this moar disclaimer…

    My ancestors didn’t have a dog in this fight, as they didn’t make it to the US until the second Potato Famine, and when they made their way down South to work in the steel mills and run a boarding house for millworkers and mining workers, they were definitely in the “poor white” section of the bus. They were not allowed to vote because they couldn’t pay the poll tax and, in at least one case, couldn’t pass the special literacy test for poor whites and blacks. The one ancestor who was in the Civil War was a minister (converted to Methodism from RC).

    I would never defend the South’s slavery business or the “states’ rights” issue they thought they fought for; but I think there is a cause and effect for every event in history. BTW, the nuns who taught me called it the War of Southern Rebellion..

    Not all Southerners are redneck, closed-minded twits; there are plenty of similar folks in Ohio, California, and Florida (which is definitely NOT Southern).

  50. O, what fun you all have created!

    The Crucifixion of Christ: Unjustifiable Homicide or teaching long-haired, unemployed, hobo/hippie troublemakers everywhere a lesson?

  51. Reminds me of a CNN report from a few years ago that looked at ‘both sides of the torture issue’. Poor Edward R. Murrow is (still) turning over in his grave!

  52. [re=556617]canadasteve[/re]: Its like Charlie Gordon reverting to full retard in Flowers for Algernon. Slowly but surely they are turning back into the Chicken Noodle Network.

  53. [re=556566]Words[/re]: Yeah, I consider Florida “Jersey South”.. I was raised in PA and had an Italian great grandfather who used to make wine in his basement, another great grandfather who toiled in the coal mines, and a great grandmother who worked as a seamstress in a factory. I didn’t mean to make light of any of your comments.

  54. [re=556635]Smoke Filled Roommate[/re]: No problem! We now return to our beloved Snark Site….

    Wateboarding: Torture or Day at the Beach?

  55. Where, oh where is General Sherman when we need him?
    I can envision the CNN HQ in Atlanta on fire now…and I can hear CNN’s coverage of the event. “Coming up next: CNN building on fire. Terrible fright or beautiful sight? After these messages.”

  56. You know, if anyone ever pulls out the “heritage” canard at you, ask them why out of the 400+ years of southern history they choose to celebrate the one period in which they went to war in order to keep their slaves.

  57. But, what else have they got, that doesn’t have the stench of Negro progress on it? Bluegrass, bourbon, Tennessee Williams, maybe? But the good ol’ boys really need something for which they can tailgate, roast a pig, throw a parade, or lynch someone, for chrissakes.

  58. Last week they dragged out the usual “can homosexuality be cured” wheeze with a discredited wingnutter pshychologist claiming they can be. Their whole “debate” process reeks of flop sweat and ratings-whoring.

  59. I don’t see how the Confederate News Network can be trusted to formulate a “fair and balanced” assessment of a debate such as this. How could we ever be assured that CNN will resist taking a subtle bias in favor of their brethren zombies?

  60. You know, someone above mentioned Haley ‘Good Ol’ Boy Shit Grinner’ Barbour, and I thought about how he was saying slavery and how “it was not one nit” of the civil war, or in his dream-fap world, the War of Northern Aggression, and I thought, he should never say any word that starts with ‘ni.’ Not nigh, not nice, not niggardly, ever. I have friends and family in the south, and most are awesome. Jerks and idiots are not region specific, but the weird fixation on something that is so clearly against the golden rule is weird. None of the pro-slavery people would support it if the tables were turned. Definition of a bad deal. One person cuts, the other chooses.

  61. Theocratic apartheid superpower: A horrific prospect, the enemy of civilization and the exact opposite of everything our founding fathers struggled for and secured in our Constitution — or, a good start so long as we’re talking about America (otherwise it’s what the other side said)?

  62. [re=556461]DC Hates Me[/re]: OMG yes it is. I think the problem is that CNN is in Atlanta, where there aren’t any good drugs. Except meth, maybe? That might explain it.

  63. Just rolled off a plane in Virginia to spend a couple of days with the folks and was disappointed that the local airport is not festooned with the Stars and Bars. If this fair state’s governor is going to declare Confederate History Month, the citizens should own it, dontcha think?

    I grew up in the southeastern corner of this state, within a stone’s throw of about a gazillion Civil War battlefields, in a city that was attacked and occupied by the Union Army. Never, in all the history classes I ever took, did anyone ever say that anything other than slavery was THE overarching issue that led to the Civil War. All this crap about states’ rights is revisionist bullshit to help people justify being racially prejudiced douchebags.

    Awesome thread, by the way.

  64. A lot of idealistic Germans and Norwegians actually emigrated to America so that they could enlist in the Union Army, fight slavery. A shirt-tail relative was quite tempted, but talked out of it by his wife.

  65. [re=556311]JMP[/re]: Alexander Dowie was the only fundie I know of to claim the world was flat because the Bible said so. (It doesn’t.) He had a lot of fun in the usual crooked preacher style: built a big church, lots of money stuck to his fingers. Of course, he has sex with the sisters. He had a utopian community in the north suburbs of Chicago and arrested anyone on the commuter trains who looked as if he’d been smoking. Eventually he got caught and had to flee to Florida, but nothing worse happened to him.

  66. What you must understand is, being born a slave-owner is like being born a super-villain. Yes, you know it’s deeply wrong, but it’s part of your identity. You can’t simply divest yourself of it and walk away. You have responsibilities. You have a place in the order of things. And there are powerful forces arrayed against you should you try to change your status in life.

    I don’t have to like it, but would it not be more wrong to REFRAIN from brainwashing City Hall with my Declaration of Dependence? I may want to do good in my heart, but good deeds won’t put food on Mrs. Fake Jefferson’s table.

    Sometimes, our duties to history outweigh our duties to ourselves.

  67. “consolidated oligarchic financial interests.”

    I read this phrase first and thought they were talking about CNN and the like.

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