It’s my Monday post but going up a bit early.
So, one of the arguments that went around and around the other week was whether or not Rebel was appropriate. Certainly, some people weighted in and said “no.” Some went further and accused Vox of just being in it for the money and the short term gain, not having a clue, etc.
I’m not going to rehash all that.
Instead, I’m simply going to deal with “why Rebel and not the stripes” – say, a la Patriotika. Let’s call our hypothetical heroine just that “Stripes”. I’ll try to address this from the standpoint of pissing SJW’s off, from whether or not she’s a racist symbol or even a stupid one like the Swastika, and whether or not the character would be remotely similar from a writing perspective. The latter can also be looked at as a question of whether or not the character is making a positive moral statement (in this sense, I’m for this, vs I’m against that, not a comment on good and evil).
So first the elephant in the room – pissing off SJW’s.
Yes, that’s a purpose. Note, that is not the purpose. The distinction matters, as does the implied focus of effort. If we just wanted to piss of SJW’s we’d be done already, but we’re not. This project has every indication of being followed through on by people who’ve got a history of delivering, with constantly improving artwork, an excellent, legendary writer, even, and a book author who I fully believe can deliver the goods. This is not the behavior of “just” pissing off SJW’s.
So who would piss off the Social Justice crowd more? Rebel, or Stripes? Once can certainly make the argument that Stripes would piss them off – after all, there are college guides are already promulgating that it is a racist microagression, etc., to say that America is a land of opportunity, and that if you work hard you can make it. They certainly like to burn that flag. And despite the tendency to wrap themselves up in it at times, as well as telling us what is “truly American”, they certainly are banning it from school grounds and student wear on the grounds of hurting or excluding minorities and immigrants, and we’ve already seen the ridiculousness of black “white supremacists.” Just ask RedPillBlack on how “Condelezza” is used as an epithet. Or look at her interviews with Stefan and Rubin.
So yes, the American flag, and wrapping it around badthink values will certainly piss the SJW’s off. Heck, the recent protests around confederate monuments hardly restricted themselves to just southern/confederate symbols.
The thing is that there has been a decades long drive, nearly thirty as I recall it being a factor in the news, to remove confederate symbology from state flags. More importantly, it’s only in the last year or two that it has escalated to the point where I personally know liberals who think it’s illegal to sell confederate battle flags, where Apple banned any use of the flag in its apps, even in civil war themed wargames, and we’ve seen the move to tear down and desecrate/destroy monuments and statuary that cycle out of control and slipped to show it’s full true colors.
They hate it. I cannot understate that, they really do. As in one hard lefty I knew was willing to give up other anti-discrimination (and anti-free association) protections for minorities against businesses such as “don’t kick out customers for being black” to be able to kick out people for wearing a rebel flag on their shirts. (I’m of the opinion that if someone comes in and wants to buy stuff, I’ll be glad to take their money unless I have a reason to believe people are up to no good. Crime statistics may make that more likely with some demographics but one is better off reading up on the guidance at nononsenseselfdefense.com)
So, the short version is Stripes will piss them off anyway due to wrongthink with a little bit of flag, but Rebel will piss them off even more. If “make them look like unhinged morons” is your goal, having them froth at the mouth is a good thing.
But, the point goes, people take that flag as racist and so they won’t see them as unhinged morons as if they were frothing at the mouth at Stripes. In response see “sometimes they wrap themselves in the flag” and be assured that, unlike Rebel, Stripes would never be attacked for the flag, or being a woman, they’re clever enough to find other excuses. Just like their attacks on Rice and Sowell have “nothing to do” with them being black and not fitting the plantation narrative, despite horribly racist terms constantly lobbed at them.
But, it’s racist, right?
There’s certainly been a growing propaganda campaign to erase any admiration of the south and its culture from the list of acceptable things. As Eric Raymond pointed out in an article, this is very unwise , but since when has wisdom been a thing for the post-modern? That would require a preferred value axis other than power. While it is hard to admit, being raised in the south, that one of the rights the leadership seceded to protect as stated was that of slavery (very few actually owned slaves, and most who fought didn’t fight for that so much as their fellow men), it is also true that states rights was an issue, had been an issue for decades, and not simply over slavery. It is true that many of the men who fought, both the grunts and the generals like Robert E Lee, fought bravely and masterfully. Lee and other Generals were respected by their opponents, and are studied in war colleges to this day across the world.
In short, it’s complicated, and we do no-one favors by vilifying virtues just because they were found in people we might otherwise consider enemies. While we’re on this aside, consider the mentality of thinking of fellow countrymen, of southerners, “rednecks”, and Trump voters as the enemy, as racist, etc., as subhuman and not co-citizens for wanting to preserve and honor their culture and heritage.
One of the conditions when the war ended was that the south would be forgiven, it’s armed men allowed to keep their weapons as citizens, and buried as US veterans. In other words, they were allowed to keep a few scraps of pride that, for example, Germany was not at the end of WWI (and we know how that worked out…).
Like it or not, a flag that was to some a symbol of states that fought to preserve a system that included slavery, and is associated purely with that by some, is to many, including some blacks who’s forefathers fought for the south, a symbol of gallantry, bravery, and resolve in the face of fire and fury, wrack and ruin. Of doing what is perceived, rightly or wrongly in the test of time, as right instead of what is popular. Of not backing down.
That flag flew over WW2, in Korea, and in Vietnam.
It’s even shown up in popular culture, and I don’t just mean Starcraft (yeah, it turned out to be run by the elite, for the elite, but the people fighting fought bravely for a cause they believed in, and was originally even in game a good thing).
Let’s go back to my childhood. There was an immensely popular show. It was about a couple of good old boys, who weren’t meaning no harm. But they kept running afoul of (the very white democrat-style machine politics politican) Boss Hogg and the law, and stood up to the local petty tyrants for the common folk. While not a lot of black people were in the show, it actually had a higher than average amount, due in part to the explicit attempts of the producer and director, and the scarily competent (as opposed to Roscoe P Coltraine) sheriff in the county next door was black.
The car the boys drove? An orange tricked-up charger? It was called the General Lee. And emblazoned on the roof was, you guessed it, the rebel battle flag.
Oh, and they had lunchboxes too.
It’s hard to overstate the impact that show had on popular culture.
So yes, while I can see why some people, especially those born after 1980, may not have the experience of the rebel flag as normal, as a symbol of virtue and bravery, as an accepted part of culture (outside of the usual liberal hellholes), and thus not be comfortable with it given the last few decades of propaganda, and how it is of course co-opted by the usual KKK morons, it certainly has a place as a positive symbol of values, fought for and died for, by men who had little thought in mind of “oppress the darkies”.
Since then it has been used by brave men and bigots. Some people only like to look for bigots and hurdles instead of opportunities.
It’s also worth noting that the people who complain the loudest about the flag as a symbol of slavery think, as Stefan Molyneux puts it, that it’s uniquely our evil, despite being one of the leading countries in eliminating slavery, which exists to this day in places that the selfsame protesters want to import more immigrants. Also, no matter how bad their treatment, and for the morons out there I’m not excusing that or slavery, the were still treated far better out of Christian mercy and charity by their masters in America than those who were sent to the middle east – as demonstrated by their very survival. Arab culture has little respect for humanity in general, and less for slaves, especially black ones.
So, the short version, yes, there are people who will be uncomfortable with it, some even otherwise nominally of the right, and that’s understandable, but it also is arguably a positive moral statement and statement of values, both in the sense of “here’s what I believe and stand for and the symbol I rally behind”, and in the sense of it being wielded as a symbol of virtue, bravery, hope. As Vox mentioned on his 10/22 “darkstream” on Periscope, all around the world that flag is a symbol of defiance (once again, liberals prove themselves far more provincial than they believe while believing themselves more worldly than everyone else in flyover country. Everybody thinks just like they do, of course).
While we’re at it, remember the earlier discussion of whether or not Stripes would piss them off the same way? Well, unless she was simply, Patriotika style, going to be a feminist icon in RW&B, they’d be claiming she’s racist anyway for badthink. Again, see colleges calling “land of opportunity” racist microagressions, and teaching students that we’re a racist country founded for the benefit of whites, and calling those blacks leaving the plantation “white supremacists.”
Yes, there are people, at the national media level, writing articles that the US flag is a racist symbol, and no-one on the left is calling them on it.
Which brings us to our final point – how is Rebel different from a hypothetical Stripes?
Well, southern culture is far more specific than some generic “American Way” – a subset of it. It also conjures very specific images about the character, positive and negative (to the SJW crowd), behavior patterns, preferences, culture, and values.
Also, if the universe maps to ours to a large degree, the in-world GJI types and their supporters are going to have much the same problems with her that the current crop of SJW’s do, automatically making her life more difficult, and jacking up the potential for drama.
So, while Stripes and Rebel could be the same character, from the same place, with the same values – though the last is debatable because the difference simple choice of how to present herself speaks to different values and character – the universe at large would respond differently, and create different stories.
In short, Rebel, because choosing otherwise would mean a different person, and different stories.