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July 13, 2006

Conferdate kitsch epidemic sweeps NJ town

I regret to inform you that Wildwood, New Jersey has been engulfed by an epidemic of Confederate kitsch.

The lunacy even impinges on innocent hermit crabs, as shown below.

Hermitcrabshell

Okay, I admit, I haven't lived in the U.S. all that long. When I first got to New York, I was freaked out because I thought all the Puerto Rican flag bumper stickers were some kind of oblique reference to the Stars and Bars. I remember coming home from my first walk in our new neighborhood and yelling at Thad for enticing me to this alien world full of Confederate iconography. That was four years ago, and I've learned a lot in the interim. To be honest, since I've been in New York, I've only seen Confederate flags tattooed on tourists, or on the bumpers of out-of-state cars.

So, I have to ask: Is this Confederate flag fetish confined to certain gift shops in Wildwood? Is it new to New Jersey?

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» Selling Treason in Jersey from Tom Watson
For birders and lovers of Victoriana and its gingerbread architecture, Cape May, New Jersey is a throwback to a more genteel time. To the north, Wildwood is also a throwback, but not to gentility; property values along the precious Atlantic [Read More]

Comments

Thanks for the heads-up on the Wolff book, BF. As someone who's vacationed at various spots "down the shore" since I was in Huggies, I'll be sure to check it out.

Springsteen aside, Asbury Park has a fascinating history.

And it ain't over yet. I don't know if Wolff's book cover this, but the newest twist is Asbury Park's "discovery" by gay men from the NYC area, and its increasing role as a cheaper and much more accessible Fire Island. I'm very curious to check it out. The Hubby and I enjoy our visits to Wildwood Crest a lot (free accommodations graciously provided by friends of friends), for the reasons I describe above, but we also joke that we're probably the only 2 gay men on the entire island at any given time. It's a very conservative place and of course we need to keep our "lifestyle" on the DL. A more gay-friendly beach resort near NYC, minus the expense (and pretty-boy attitude) of the Pines, would be a godsend.

"and the Stars and Bars was not a pro-slavery banner."

If I am selling a moving stairway, I am free to market it as an escalator. This is because the company that made the Escalator brand moving stairway did not protect its trademark. It was their lazyness and their loss.

The people of the South are the ones who allowed the Stars and Bars to become a symbol of racial hatred and intimidation. They did not protect their symbol. Perhaps they did not want it to happen. If so, they should have aggressively prevented it from being used as such. It is immaterial. They allowed it to happen and must live with the consequences.

Not trying to "whitewash" the issue, but the ever-useful wikipedia adds this to it's discussion of the Confederate flag:

"Other groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans have actively protested the use of any Confederate flags by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, stating that the hate groups are blemishing the memory of the ancestors of the SCV. Some members of the SCV have even faced down Klansmen at their rallies and marches, to protest the inappropriate usage of these flags."

"...Some members of the SCV have even faced down Klansmen at their rallies and marches, to protest the inappropriate usage of these flags."

When? By the late 1800s the Klan had already won the fight over what the flag meant. The Klan made it a symbol of hatred with blood and terror. Simple words will not suffice to change that.

--When?--

Recently, I'm sure.

I understand where you're coming from completely.

I'd only say that symbols like this can be viewed differently. And that anyone who "faced down" the Klan in the Deep South or even in some northern places would have gotten his ass killed.

The North did not have 100% clean hands and the South was not 100% evil.

If we're in the business of being tolerant, we should also tolerate those who like this symbol.

Abraham Lincoln asked the band to play "Dixie". He did it for a reason, and it wasn't hatred.

Edit
And that anyone who "faced down" the Klan in the Deep South or even in some northern places in the late 1880s would have gotten his ass killed.

Not to beat this to death, but I did only now see the Tom Watson photo of the "I Have a Dream" t shirt. Which is vile on several levels. And which could only be interpreted one way.

Anyone that flies that thing north of Maryland is a traitor to there ancestors, I mean who did that flag march against. Brave soliders of New Jersy and the rest of the union. There great great grandpa's ought to rise outta there graves and smack em silly for this.

"The Civil War was not the war to free the slaves, and the Stars and Bars was not a pro-slavery banner."

Whatever it meant once, we all know what it means now. Even subliterate crackers who display it on their mudflaps can grasp the semiotic significance. That's why they do it. The meaning, Phantom, if you still don't get it, is: "We're mossback white folk who've been pissed off ever since the voting rights act was passed and we're not going to take any PC crap from porch monkeys, sand niggers, feather niggers, pepperbellies, fags, or effete liberal eggheads anymore. Long Live George W. Bush!"

----------------

"And one of my good buddies in the service was a black guy with a Stars and Bars Zippo lighter!"

It's called irony.

Hey, I'm from Maryland (or Murylin), hon, and we have a very distinct sense of place. We barely ever fly the Stars & Bars-Slave Tradin', Traitor, Loser Flag. There is a little in the Western Part of the State, and the Southern part, but very, very little. So you don't even see it when you go Down y'ocean.

We all know what it means, and we all know it's needlessly hurtful to our Black neighbors. Why would we fly it?

In fact, it's funny that you've seen it on Tourists in New York. Baltimore (Bawlmur) gets plenty of tourists, but I've never seen it there (occassionally in the suburbs, but rarely even there). And it's a good thing. To be honest, if someone had ever rolled into my neighborhood or school with the confederate flag on their bumper, they would have really, really regretted it when they came back to their car later. As I said, we wouldn't want you offending our black neighbords. Also, all of us ethnic & Catholic whites know exactly where we stand with those people.

Just sayin. . . .

"feather niggers"?!?

MDtoMN

Recently, on Shakespeare's Sister there was a posting about the vandalism done to a car because someone in the neighborhood didn't like peace stickers on a that car. Everyone, myself included, said that whoever did such a thing deserved to be arrested.

I mentioned incidents that I was aware of, in Brooklyn, where cars with Bush stickers were keyed. And that it was my feeling that such incidents were fairly common, that they were known, and that it kept some, esp in neighborhoods like Park Slope, from putting Bush stickers on cars. There are some "open minded" people here for whom free speech ends when they see a bumper sticker that they dislike.

Now, we get you, saying out in the open that you and your friends would vandalize a car if they had a sticker that YOU happened not to like.

Well, we all don't like certain things. If I see something I don't like, or that I disagree with, I don't trash it.

Last night, I went down Van Brundt Street in Red Hook Brooklyn, on the way to the new Fairway Market. What do I see but a small truck with about --35-- stickers on it, all critical of Bush and Halliburton and Iraq, some funny, some very nasty. I disagree with what the dude said. It having just turned dark, I could easily have ripped off a windshield wiper or rear view mirror or committed some other act of vandalism. Did I? Of course not. Why in the name of God would I?

But if I were you, and instead of 35 antiwar and anti Bush stickers, it was a Confederate Flag sticker, you would have committed a sneak act of vandalism. Your own words essentially say so.

MDtoMN, you're either a fake tough-guy or you're a criminal. But I'll bet my bottom dollar you're the first, so do have a nice day, and please don't fight with the neighbors.

Now, we get you, saying out in the open that you and your friends would vandalize a car if they had a sticker that YOU happened not to like.

You didn't just compare bush stickers to a racist symbol did you? Do you want Jerome Armstrong's job or something?

A better comparison is if keying a car with a Swastika on it is wrong, legally yes, it's vandalism, though I'm not entirely sure that sending a message to a neo-nazi that "we don't want your kind around here, and we certainly don't accept your bigotry" by keying their car is neccesarily morally wrong.

R. Mildred

I absolutely did make that comparison.

I don't like it when someone mocks the President of the US, but I would never destroy their property over it. And the strange phenomenon of Bush-hatred...don't get me started on that.

We disagree as to what the Stars and Bars represents. For some, yes, it IS racism. For others, it represents something else, something I am not prepared to demonize.

It's intellectually dishonest to compare the Stars and Bars with the Swastika. I think it would be useless to get into a long discussion as to why this is so, but will just make the point that many of those US soldiers who stuck the dagger in the Third Reich would have been
those from the South who would have been very comfortable with the Confederate battle flag, and who may have strode onto Omaha Beach or similar places wearing that emblem on their person.

Someone who vandalizes a car because of a bumper sticker is a criminal and a sneak. I'd have more respect for someone who waited to confront the vehicle owner than I would for some coward who vandalized a car when noone was looking.

If I see someone doing it, they'll be placed under Citizens Arrest immediately. And I won't bother to check what it was that pissed them off. It does not matter.

Speaking as one who had a car vandalized (wasn’t even my damn car) by someone trying to convince me of the merits of the creationist proposition, keying cars and that sort of thing is really lame - not exactly the sort of argument that is going to persuade and win hearts and minds.. Didn’t convince me anyway.

Re: “feather niggers” A charming local Pac. N.W. term for native Americans. Synonymous with “warwhoops”. I recently had someone with a stars & bars t-shirt ask me what the relevant natural resource agencies were going to do about “feather niggers taking all the salmon”. I always love it when I am taken for a fellow redneck.

just stop! this whole " i'm angry so every one must know it" shit is old and tired-go make babies and shut up

A tangentially-related rant.

Please--get you names for the various Confederate flags right.

The "Stars and Bars" is the First National Flag of the Confederacy; it looks like US flag, the Stars and Stripes, but with fewer stripes.

The design on the crab shell is named the "Southern Cross"; the flag with that design is the "Battle Flag".

So what you are insinuating is that I can paint up two or three "Northern" hermit crabs and reenact the Civil War? Fantastic, so it will turn out just like the real one, you know, where the North won and the South bitches about it for the rest of eternity?

I mean seriously, if it were this easy to get into the t-shirt biz, I would come up with something like a 33 star US flag with some catchy tag-line like "Get over it, we won!"

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