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I was killing time yesterday and decided to follow one of the links on my sitemeter back to its origin.  It took me to one of those Civil War discussion forums where I was surprised to find that my blog has been the subject of some debate.  Who would have thought that my blog would prove to be divisive in this day and age?  Anyway, I quickly scanned the entries and came across two wonderful passage about my site by the same author:

This blog never misses an opportunity to ridicule the South. "Myths" exist only south of the Mason-Dixon line. It is extremely biased.

This blog is invariably anti-South. The writer never passes up an opportunity to ridicule. It verges not only on bias but bigotry. Many of these Northern "academics" are the same. Having a degree is certainly no indication of truth or fairness.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating that nothing discussed on this site is meant to be taken personally.  In fact, I find it bizarre that given my interest in the past that anyone would identify themselves as a target of my postings or published work.  Of course I don’t take these kinds of reactions seriously, especially because I don’t identify myself in any way along the lines in which I am sometimes characterized.  I don’t see myself as "anti-South" especially given that most of my personal heroes are Southerners, and I’ve never viewed myself as a "Northerner" or "liberal" or as an "academic." 

Fun Stuff.

7 comments… add one

  • d May 18, 2007

    Congratulations….. To be the subject of an internet forum discussion thread? That’s almost as good as winning a bowling trophy!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Kevin Levin May 19, 2007

    d, — I have to make sure that I don’t let all of this go to my head.

  • Bruce Miller May 21, 2007

    Having read your blog fairly regularly for a while, I’d have to assume that those who accuse you of being “anti-South” mean that that supporting reality-based history, following the latest historical research, doing original historical research yourself and linking to a wide range of articles on Civil War history and Civil War historiography are all “anti-South”.

    Sadly, it’s pretty easy to guess what they would consider “pro-South”.

    Pro-democracy Southerners are considerably more polite than Germans. If you suggested that only fans of the Third Reich were “pro-German”, you might risk being punched in the face. Or, at the least, being “schimpf”-ed at (chewed out).

    As you discuss a couple of posts later, the question of what actually happened in the Civil War and the political events that led up to it is a separate issue than what emotional/moral/symbolic/mythical value we might place on them. Even if they can be difficult to separate in today’s political climate in America.

    But in terms of historical analysis of the Civil War, it’s genuinely hard for me to see how anyone who claims to support the American version of democracy or to have a patriotic love for the United States could fail to proceed from a viewpoint that recognizes that the Union cause represented the democractic and patriotic tradition. That doesn’t mean we have to make Union generals and political leaders into plastic saints or Confederate leaders into comic-book villains.

    And if we are going to “honor” Southerners of the Civil War period in some kind of moral/patriotic sense, it’s very plain to me that the Southerns who chose American patriotism over a rebellion to preserve slavery, those who chose a democratic Republic over a slaveowners oligarchy, and slaves who fought for their own freedom and that of their families deserve our “honor” and respect before those who chose to support the Confederacy and slavery.

  • Kevin Levin May 21, 2007

    Thanks for the comment Bruce, but as a historian I don’t want to have to make any choice as to which side best reflects our American political traditions. I am content to continue working to better my understanding of the past on its own terms.

  • Cash May 22, 2007

    Kevin,

    I recognize the discussion, as I was one of those on the other side of the debate. When they consistently get their little fantasy view of moonlight and magnolias dashed on the shoals of the real world they lash out. It just means you’re effective in disseminating actual history rather than mythology.

    Regards,
    Cash

  • Kevin Levin May 23, 2007

    Cash, — I recognized a few of the names defending rationality. I don’t know how you guys consistently muster up the patience to deal with these people.

  • Jim May 23, 2007

    I believe that you can honor both white and black southerners, and even yanks (that’s for you Bruce). As long as people polarize these issues, then more push-back will result from biased information.

    Let’s not forget the history of slavery, how long it lasted, where it occurred, and how many were involved. Also, let’s be sure and study the prevalence of succession past, present, and future. Only then will some conclude that the Confederacy is no less deserving of remembrance, honor, celebration, and warning than any other group of people. I for one will not stand for misinformation against my ancestors.

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