Dixie Outfitters Cashes In on Lexington

Dixie Outfitters t-shirt

I still don’t quite understand how a city of Southerners can discriminate against themselves, but logic probably isn’t a top priority when you are marketing to the fringes of society.  The other question is why did the designers choose to substitute the First National for the Confederate battle flag?

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18 comments… add one
  • John Maass Sep 13, 2011 @ 3:18

    The prosperity of Lexington/Rockbridge is tied directly to W&L, VMI, and Civil War tourism. Staging CW events and the like is how they get tourists, which means money. Using the Confederate flag is one part of promoting the CW history there. To me, the city needs to figure out a way to use the right flag in the right way, but the overly sensitive crowd also needs to recognize that tourism promoters are not trying to offend or stir up a hornets nest-they are trying to bring people to town.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 13, 2011 @ 3:21

      Good point, John. The city also has a responsibility to reflect the will of its citizens and based on everything I’ve heard that is exactly what happened last week. I keep coming back to the same point that the Confederate flag can be as visible in the city of Lexington as it was the day before this most recent decision was made. In other words, nothing has changed except that the Confederate flag cannot be flown from public flag poles.

      • John Maass Sep 14, 2011 @ 3:14

        The city also flies X-mas themed flags in Dec., to give the downtown area a holiday feel, encourage shopping, etc. Is this promoting religion? (I am not saying you Kevin are saying that; just wondering if maybe the city ought to get out of the flag business!!)

        • Kevin Levin Sep 14, 2011 @ 3:31

          Perhaps, but that is a decision for the residents of the city to make. I do think the city made a huge mistake in not welcoming the Museum of the Confederacy’s branch museum. It was the perfect location and it would have helped to promote the region’s rich Civil War history.

        • Andy Hall Sep 14, 2011 @ 5:14

          My understanding is that the ordinance bars those, too.

        • Andy Hall Sep 14, 2011 @ 7:01

          Should add that, although the Lexington ordinance seems safe from legal challenge as written — no individual or group has a *right* to have their emblems or symbols displayed on public property — I suspect the hard part will be sticking to its provisions over the long term. There will inevitably be pressure to use those lampposts to display holiday banners (think a Bill O’Reilly “Lexington’s War on Christmas” segment), or to put up banners for the local schools, VMI and W&L. If, a few months from now, Lexington starts making exceptions for those cases, then they really will have exposed themselves to litigation. There aren’t really any easy answers, just answers that please some people and infuriate others.

  • James F. Epperson Sep 13, 2011 @ 2:51

    The confused notion of “First Amendment rights” is a common feature of these squabbles. I recall trying to explain how it wasn’t a First Amendment issue years ago, during some of the times this issue would come up on alt.war.civil.usa.

  • Brooks D. Simpson Sep 12, 2011 @ 19:15

    Looks to me like General Lee is tired of the whole thing.

  • Kate Halleron Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:35

    While I consider the Confederate Battle Flag objectionable, I’m against any attempt to outlaw it’s *personal* display as freedom of speech.

    That said, it’s entirely within a municipality’s right to decide what to display on its own light poles, and outsiders really shouldn’t have a say in that decision, pro or con.

    As a multi-generational Southerner, I do object to Southern Heritage being reduced down to Confederate Heritage. Why do those four years define what it is to be Southern to some people? And why ignore the thousands of Southerners who remained loyal to the United States, often at great cost to themselves? I find that truly objectionable.

    I certainly don’t feel discriminated against by the Lexington, VA city council.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:49

      One of my readers suggested in a response that was not approved that I can’t understand because I was not born in the South. I guess you have lost your way. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

      • Brooks D. Simpson Sep 12, 2011 @ 19:09

        I’m sure that was an obsessed fan, not just a reader. Betcha she quoted Faulkner.

  • Brooks Simpson Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:07

    If Dixie Outfitter meant what it says, it would accept only Confederate money.

    • Ray O'Hara Sep 12, 2011 @ 11:30

      even during the Confederate-Americans weren’t that stupid

      • Andy Hall Sep 12, 2011 @ 11:54

        Maybe if they put a currency-converter on their website.

  • Andy Hall Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:03

    To me, this is the most telling part of the Lexington story:

    Speakers at Thursday’s Council meeting were evenly divided on the issue. Almost all of the speakers who were city of Lexington residents, such as Beth Knapp, spoke in favor of the new policy. Knapp emphasized the city was not banning the display of any type of flag on private property or attempting to prevent people from carrying Confederate flags in parades. Noting that Confederate flags are offensive to many, she said, “We should focus on honoring men, not causes.”

    Rockbridge County residents were more evenly divided on the issue. W.B. “Doc” Wilmore of Collierstown said the ordinance was really about “political correctness and ignorance and arrogance. It is about the appeasement of a few at the expense of many.”

    Speakers who traveled from out of the area unanimously opposed the ordinance.

    I don’t recall a dispute of a similar nature in my community, but I certainly wouldn’t have a lot of patience with folks from other areas, or other states even, interjecting themselves in a local issue — regardless of what “side” they took up.

    Good catch on the First National, though; the images I’ve seen from Lexington are mostly those of the Second National — with the CBF as the canton — formerly displayed on the city’s light poles. Perhaps Dixie Outfitters decided that any variation of the CBF is likely to distract from the shirt’s Southrons-as-victims message. Are Fifth Columnists at work in Odum?

    Finally, I wonder of the “Save Our Flags” folks ever stopped to consider whether posting Lexington city council members’ home phone numbers to the Internet and encouraging people to call and make clear their anger about about the proposed ordinance, might not have been the most effective way to win over said council members to their point of view.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:12

      The image shouts out to anyone willing to listen that these folks cannot make a compelling argument for their preferred view of the past as well as this particular symbol. Perhaps by not including the battle flag Dixie Outfitters is admitting that the image is divisive. I caught a YouTube video of the protest in the park before the meeting. It includes plenty of people waving their flags and all I could think was that they can do the exact same thing today. Such oppression. 🙁

    • Ken Noe Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:51

      When we had the cemetery flag flap in Auburn in 2009, the out-of-staters who came to the council meeting and filled up the comments section on the local paper’s website were often the same people now in a tizzy about Lexington. The old comments section is gone, a victim of its own ugliness, but you’d immediately recognize the names. Auburn generally ignored them and settled the issue on its own.


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