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Old 10-11-2019, 02:40 PM
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Is the Confederacy/South more interesting than the Union/North?


Had this discussion with someone a while back:

The discussion was, in fiction/cinema/the arts/historiography, which side of the Civil War was more interesting. The consensus seemed to be that, while the Union was the morally right side, it was the drier, less colorful, less entertaining side, and much more businesslike, and that for the arts, the Confederates were the ones with the more interesting story to tell and more fodder for entertainment or more intriguing stuff to read about.

Wonder how the Dope feels.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:59 PM
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No; fuck the Confederacy. A shithole of human suffering, created on purpose. Romanticizing that period and that place does no one any good. It was a terrible, awful place.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:15 PM
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Evil is often more entertaining.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:19 PM
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I live in that shithole. My geneaolgy suggests I had a very colorful group of ancestors.
I'm dubious about calling every one in the South during the years of the Cofederacy evil or immoral. Surely lots were, but not 'all'.
Yankees came south and commited their fair share of atrocities during the Civil war and reconstuction. We are a whole country, no one can claim complete innocence in the horrors of slavery.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Had this discussion with someone a while back:

The discussion was, in fiction/cinema/the arts/historiography, which side of the Civil War was more interesting. The consensus seemed to be that, while the Union was the morally right side, it was the drier, less colorful, less entertaining side, and much more businesslike, and that for the arts, the Confederates were the ones with the more interesting story to tell and more fodder for entertainment or more intriguing stuff to read about.

Wonder how the Dope feels.
Lost cause glorifying Confederate propaganda considers the South more entertaining? Shocker.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
No; fuck the Confederacy. A shithole of human suffering, created on purpose. Romanticizing that period and that place does no one any good. It was a terrible, awful place.
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Yankees came south and commited their fair share of atrocities during the Civil war and reconstuction. We are a whole country, no one can claim complete innocence in the horrors of slavery.
If I may junior-mod a bit before the thread goes off tracks: This thread is not asking about the morality of either side - obviously, the Confederacy was more evil. I am asking which side was/is more interesting to an audience to write about, or provides more fodder for the arts. ISTM there was a good argument that Gone With the Wind was successful because it was about the South, not the North.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:36 PM
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So sorry.
I'd say the south was and is full of colorful characters. But who can tell what an audience will grasp on to and eat up.
I'm still trying to understand that movie 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter'

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 10-11-2019 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:43 PM
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Siding with Bo here. The Union had just as many if not more "characters" and such as the traitors did. Popular culture has just fixated on the losers because they were still around and noisy.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:55 PM
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In addition to what's already been noted, I suspect that at least part of the allure, for fiction writers, is alternate-history fiction, in which the South won, and remained independent -- and the focus of that is primarily in what an ongoing Confederacy might have been like.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:11 PM
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It's like, in WWII, Germany is far more interesting tan France or Poland, or even the UK.
The were genocidal monsters, of course, but they are more interesting in a creepy way.
The serial murderer is more interesting than the teacher that helps underprivileged kids.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:26 PM
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Siding with Bo here. The Union had just as many if not more "characters" and such as the traitors did. Popular culture has just fixated on the losers because they were still around and noisy.
Im not Southern and I dont support their causes but the North was every bit as traitorous as the South. We are a nation built on rebellion. I would hope that you as a teacher would understand this. All you are doing with this name-calling is giving the South another grievance. And even the Union, while it held the moral high ground, wasnt exactly moral. Shermans march to the sea was a war crime that mirrored the slash and burn German invasion of the USSR. History rarely lends itself to simple black or white interpretations.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:17 PM
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Evil regimes are more interesting. North Korea is more interesting than Switzerland. Japan, USSR and Germany during WW2 were more interesting than Canada and Australia during WW2.

In that regards, I'd say the south was the more interesting regime since it was a coalition of business owners and racists. The north was just fighting to keep the union together.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:24 PM
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I think a large part of the reason is that Southern writers as a whole tend to be more romantic, more enamored with lost causes, more sympathetic to the crazy aunt everyone else would keep locked up - in short, more entertaining.

But it's not just the South and the Civil War. The Spanish Civil War, the Russian Revolution, and World War I, to name a few, all lent themselves to stories about doomed idealists fighting against insurmountable odds.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:24 PM
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The Southern side gains interest from the fact that virtually all the battles took place in the South. Only Antietam and Gettysburg took place in the North, and Gettysburg does therefore get its fair share of interest. Talking about the North in the Civil War is like setting a WWII movie in Chile.

There will be no more glorifying the South movies for a long while, though. The campaign the South has waged for 150 years is finally getting derailed. Every movie about that period for the next couple of generations will treat the South about like Django Unchaineddid. About time.

As a historian I know exactly how badly everybody in history looks from a modern "woke" perspective. I keep telling those who wonder whether an artist's works can still be appreciated now that they know both sides that the same applies to everyone famous ever. There are no heroes. Nobody is pure enough to pass all of our tests.

That said, fuck the antebellum South, the ending-Reconstruction South, the Jim Crow South, and the modern hate-all-the-Others South. The gap between not perfect and outright evil is enormous, and everybody who does not at every opportunity point out which side the South has been on since the 1600s is culpable.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:37 PM
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Im not Southern and I dont support their causes but the North was every bit as traitorous as the South. We are a nation built on rebellion.
1. We won.

2. Our revolution was at least partially based on the idea of democracy and freedom, not the continued subjugation of our fellow human beings. Did we have slaves? Sure. Was the American Revolution about slavery? No.

3. The losers of the American Revolution didn't make a multigenerational whine-fest about the outcome.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:58 PM
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If I may junior-mod a bit before the thread goes off tracks: This thread is not asking about the morality of either side - obviously, the Confederacy was more evil. I am asking which side was/is more interesting to an audience to write about, or provides more fodder for the arts. ISTM there was a good argument that Gone With the Wind was successful because it was about the South, not the North.
I'd say Gone With the Wind was successful because it was about people with money. The rich are always seen as more interesting than the middle class or poor. I don't see that a story of a shop owner in antebellum Alabama is more interesting than that of a shop owner in Connecticut in the same time period.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:03 PM
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Arts? Poe, Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau and Fenimore Cooper were all Yankees. Who did the South have?
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:09 PM
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1. We won.

2. Our revolution was at least partially based on the idea of democracy and freedom, not the continued subjugation of our fellow human beings. Did we have slaves? Sure. Was the American Revolution about slavery? No.

3. The losers of the American Revolution didn't make a multigenerational whine-fest about the outcome.

It's funny you use the word subjugation because the losers are still subjects over 200 years later. They've been much more successful in winning you back to their way of thinking. Indeed, America's best friends now are more likely than not subjects.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:17 PM
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I'm dubious about calling every one in the South during the years of the Cofederacy evil or immoral.
Sweeping generalizations and bigotry against anything and everything to do with the US South is one of the few remaining socially acceptable bigotries in the US--including very widespread and unmoderated use on this board.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:23 PM
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That said, fuck the antebellum South, the ending-Reconstruction South, the Jim Crow South, and the modern hate-all-the-Others South.
And here is a perfect example--can you think of any other group ("the modern hate-all-the-Others South") that would be said about them "fuck them" with impunity and without fear of moderation? Exapno Mapcase, by saying "fuck the modern South", do you not realize that you are saying "fuck you" to SMDB members, including me and Beck?
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:33 PM
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I'm going to guess that the people forming the OP's consensus were primarily white. Black Americans might have a different view of which stories are more entertaining.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:35 PM
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1. We won.
To be clear, "we" in that sentence better not just mean "The North," especially if you mean "The South" lost. The "we" who won ought to include folks who were enslaved, and their allies. Many, many Southerners won in the Civil War.

Sure, the Union won. But their victory wasn't nearly as sweet as the victory of the newly free.

Too often, conversations about Southerners are really about white people in the south, and Black Southerners are erased and forgotten. which is some bullshit.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:55 PM
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And here is a perfect example--can you think of any other group ("the modern hate-all-the-Others South") that would be said about them "fuck them" with impunity and without fear of moderation? Exapno Mapcase, by saying "fuck the modern South", do you not realize that you are saying "fuck you" to SMDB members, including me and Beck?
I can see a clear distinction between "the modern hate-all-the-Others South" which is what Exapno Mapcase said vs. "fuck the modern South". For now at least the same level of distinction exists between "the South is the more interesting setting for literature and film" which is being allowed here and "we want our slaves back" which would be for elsewhere.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:10 PM
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3. The losers of the American Revolution didn't make a multigenerational whine-fest about the outcome.
No, they just went to Canada (like a Loyalist branch of my family tree did).
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:17 PM
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Putting aside the morality issue, I think defeat is generally a better source for drama than victory is. So you're going to see more interesting stories about characters who were on the losing side of a conflict. Defeat gives the writer something to write about.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:20 PM
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To be clear, "we" in that sentence better not just mean "The North," especially if you mean "The South" lost. The "we" who won ought to include folks who were enslaved, and their allies. Many, many Southerners won in the Civil War.

Sure, the Union won. But their victory wasn't nearly as sweet as the victory of the newly free.

Too often, conversations about Southerners are really about white people in the south, and Black Southerners are erased and forgotten. which is some bullshit.
I think they were side-barring about the American Revolution.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:20 PM
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And here is a perfect example--can you think of any other group ("the modern hate-all-the-Others South") that would be said about them "fuck them" with impunity and without fear of moderation? Exapno Mapcase, by saying "fuck the modern South", do you not realize that you are saying "fuck you" to SMDB members, including me and Beck?
See below.

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I can see a clear distinction between "the modern hate-all-the-Others South" which is what Exapno Mapcase said vs. "fuck the modern South". For now at least the same level of distinction exists between "the South is the more interesting setting for literature and film" which is being allowed here and "we want our slaves back" which would be for elsewhere.
So are you and Beck are hate-all-Others Southerners? Do you actively work to perpetuate that culture? Do you support the politicians that pass hate laws? Do you fly the Confederate flag and attack those pulling down statues?

I hope not. I also hope that you recognize that the South has a unique past and unique burden even among the many sins of America that millions of people are perpetuating today in a way that exists in all areas but is not celebrated as a culture. It is that culture of the South I call out. I'm sorry if you get in the way, but I'm more sorry for those still suffering for it.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:22 PM
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Exapno Mapcase, by saying "fuck the modern South", do you not realize that you are saying "fuck you" to SMDB members, including me and Beck?
He didn't say "fuck the modern South". He said "the modern hate-all-the-Others South". He made it very clear he doesn't hate all southerners. So that's also a no on "Sweeping generalizations and bigotry against anything and everything to do with the US South".
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:24 PM
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Im not Southern and I dont support their causes but the North was every bit as traitorous as the South. We are a nation built on rebellion.
No, we are not. We are a nation built out of a rebellion, but we aren't based on the idea of rebelling.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:34 PM
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He didn't say "fuck the modern South". He said "the modern hate-all-the-Others South". He made it very clear he doesn't hate all southerners. So that's also a no on "Sweeping generalizations and bigotry against anything and everything to do with the US South".
But "hate-all-others" is easily interpretable as being a descriptive term for the South, not a narrowing of the focus of the comment. For instance, if someone said "Fuck the greedy Jews", one would not be overreacting to think that they meant "greedy" to be a descriptive term for all Jewish people, and not an assertion to "Fuck all of the Jews who also happen to be greedy."
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:10 PM
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A lot of great literature has come out of the post Civil War South -- Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Zora Neale Hurston (just reading my bookshelf). There is something about the sense of place, the climate, the incredibly complex ambiguous attitude toward race, that seems to have created a fertile ground for writers unlike any other.

I may confuse "interesting" with "foreign to me" because there is no place in the US more alien to me than the south. I have spent a moderate amount of time there without ever feeling even slightly at home.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:21 PM
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The greatest Civil War movie — Buster Keaton’s The General — made heroes of the Southern Cause. But that was 12 years after Griffith’s Birth of a Nation and in the middle of the Daughters of the Confederacy movement to slam up statues of Southern Generals all over the country.

Still, though I’m a thoroughbred Yankee, that was one fuck of a good movie.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:34 PM
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Arts? Poe, Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau and Fenimore Cooper were all Yankees. Who did the South have?
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind (the movie is probably more significant)
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:39 PM
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Ulfreida has a better list. Also, Twain isn’t really a Southern author. Check his biography.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:41 PM
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Evil is often more entertaining.
This. Plus have you ever noticed that evil usually have better uniforms? Whether it's the confederacy, the Nazis, or Darth Vader.

Plus, Hollywood has been dominated by whites and especially in the 20s an 30s when there was a concerted effort to re-write civil war history, movies were part of that disinformation campaign.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:42 PM
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A. I have nothing against the south-eastern section of the continental United States. My antecedents have been stomping that territory since before Jamestown.

2. Southern cooking/BBQ is what French cuisine wants to be when it grows up.

#. The South (read Confederate States of America), their supporters, romanticisers, wanna-bes, and all other associated hangers-on can go pork a donkey.

D. Nathan Bedford Forrest sucks donkey schwantz.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:57 PM
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A. I have nothing against the south-eastern section of the continental United States. My antecedents have been stomping that territory since before Jamestown.

2. Southern cooking/BBQ is what French cuisine wants to be when it grows up.

#. The South (read Confederate States of America), their supporters, romanticisers, wanna-bes, and all other associated hangers-on can go pork a donkey.

D. Nathan Bedford Forrest sucks donkey schwantz.
I agree with #2, except I respect French cuisine. (Where the fuck were you EATING it that you don’t think it’s what all other food aspires to?)

Although a Cleveland/Connecticut/NYC Yank, I have mastered Southern cornbread, fried chicken, greens, soup beans, gumbo, pulled pork BBQ, dirty rice, Creole daube, pork necks with potato. I have had New Orleans NATIVES say my red beans and rice were as good as they ever had.

Southern food is the best....along with Northeast steamed clams, chowder, and lobster. And all the great food in the Southwest, the northwest, and the Midwest.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:57 PM
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The greatest Civil War movie — Buster Keaton’s The General...
The greatest Civil War movie introduces a third possibility to the discussion, neither Northern nor Southern, but Western!

And then there were three...
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:01 PM
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Your link....confuses me. But the pizza looks good.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:30 PM
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See below.



So are you and Beck are hate-all-Others Southerners? Do you actively work to perpetuate that culture? Do you support the politicians that pass hate laws? Do you fly the Confederate flag and attack those pulling down statues?

I hope not. I also hope that you recognize that the South has a unique past and unique burden even among the many sins of America that millions of people are perpetuating today in a way that exists in all areas but is not celebrated as a culture. It is that culture of the South I call out. I'm sorry if you get in the way, but I'm more sorry for those still suffering for it.

Again, not a political thread - this is Cafe, not Great Debates.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:38 PM
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If I may junior-mod a bit before the thread goes off tracks: This thread is not asking about the morality of either side - obviously, the Confederacy was more evil. I am asking which side was/is more interesting to an audience to write about, or provides more fodder for the arts. ISTM there was a good argument that Gone With the Wind was successful because it was about the South, not the North.
"Little Women" is about the North. What's your point?
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:43 PM
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Putting aside the morality issue, I think defeat is generally a better source for drama than victory is. So you're going to see more interesting stories about characters who were on the losing side of a conflict. Defeat gives the writer something to write about.
What about all those WWII movies where the "good guy" (whomever the viewer is meant to identify and sympathize with) wins? Nobody roots for Tom Hank because they know the Nazis are going to win in the end.

Count me among those who think the south had better post-war propaganda, and effectively co-opted the post-war history with the Lost Cause narrative (Vox has a great video on this) and northerners (scratch that, white northerners) were either too sure of themselves to notice or too racist to care. After all, the Lost Cause didn’t so much vilify the north as it minimalized the influence of and harm done by slavery in the south.

The Lost Cause narrative is, in my view, a prime example of what happens when the conspiracy theorists are allowed to get their message across, year after year, generation after generation, largely unopposed by skeptics.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 10-11-2019 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:16 PM
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Yeah, the lost cause narrative was a strategy. It included films and a wave of confederate statues in the south in the 1920s and it was constantly reinforced. I grew up in Virginia, my family is old Virginia and my great, great grandfather was in the confederate army; his daughter, my great grandmother was still alive when I was a little kid. It was constantly reinforced to me that the south was honorable and the war was not about slavery. Scrappy fighters facing off against the industrialized north is a compelling narrative, but you have to diminish the impact of slavery for it to work. It is also why there is an emphasis in history and national parks on the tactics and strategies of the war rather than its cause.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:16 PM
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Again, not a political thread - this is Cafe, not Great Debates.
LOL, you knew what you were doing with this thread...
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:51 PM
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Again, not a political thread - this is Cafe, not Great Debates.
The characterization of the South is not a political issue; it is a cultural one. The romanticizing and the glorification of the Lost Cause is the reason that so much time and care has been given to polishing the image of the Civil War. The actual reasons for the war are carefully buried under mounds of rosy maunderings about noble causes and freedom from governmental oppression and the icky euphemism of "state's rights." The fact that Southern interests have been extremely successful in getting textbooks to flatly deny that the war was the result of slavery and nothing else is just the latest, continuing aspect of this cultural battle.

You asked a question and you are being given the correct answers. I'm sorry you don't like the answers. None of us do.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:31 PM
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You have movies like Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind, and Song of the South that constantly portray blacks as children who need to be overseen by whites and ultimately happy with their enslavement (in Song of the South, they're cage about when in history this is happening). It's comforting for white America to keep being told that a) slavery wasn't that bad and b) it's all over now anyway. The happy mammie is actually a trope in American cinema; again and again, America is being told through film that it's all ok, there is no need to think too deeply about it. It's so common that Firefly was able to portray confederates in space without any criticism or analysis.
  #47  
Old 10-12-2019, 12:21 AM
Dale Sams is online now
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The characterization of the South is not a political issue; it is a cultural one. The romanticizing and the glorification of the Lost Cause is the reason that so much time and care has been given to polishing the image of the Civil War. The actual reasons for the war are carefully buried under mounds of rosy maunderings about noble causes and freedom from governmental oppression and the icky euphemism of "state's rights." The fact that Southern interests have been extremely successful in getting textbooks to flatly deny that the war was the result of slavery and nothing else is just the latest, continuing aspect of this cultural battle.

You asked a question and you are being given the correct answers. I'm sorry you don't like the answers. None of us do.
The word for giving answers to a question that wasn't asked is: Strawman.
  #48  
Old 10-12-2019, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Reno Nevada View Post
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind (the movie is probably more significant)
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Those were all post-Civil war, and the OP (to the best of my understanding) was asking about the Antebellum period. What great writers, poets or thinkers did the slavery-era South have, other than Jefferson?

The OP claimed that the pre-War South was more "interesting". Post-war, yes, there's a good argument there, but pre-war? Interesting regions produce interesting people, and I can't think of many of those from the Old South.
  #49  
Old 10-12-2019, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Those were all post-Civil war, and the OP (to the best of my understanding) was asking about the Antebellum period. What great writers, poets or thinkers did the slavery-era South have, other than Jefferson?
Edgar Allen Poe.

Musically, the south has always been more interesting than the north, if only because of the greater Black influence (see: the Minstrelsy debate that was shut down a couple months ago.) Since recording devices weren't invented until after the war, it's hard to compare northern and southern music; Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded two albums of Civil War-era music a century after the fact, one from the northern traditions and one from the southern, and the south unsurprisingly sounded better. Maybe I just like "Goober Peas" better than "Battle Hymn of the Republic" although it's been 50 years since I heard either of these albums. Postwar, the south still made better music. It's a matter of taste, I suppose, but northern music can be represented by Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, while southern music is Sun Records and Alligator Records; I know which I prefer.
  #50  
Old 10-12-2019, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
Edgar Allen Poe.
.
A borderline case at best - Poe was a transplanted Southerner who did most of his work up North. I think it says something about where the cultural center of the U.S. was at the time.

Last edited by Alessan; 10-12-2019 at 04:23 AM.
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