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The Battle Flag Returns

Editor:

    It seems you have a clear vision in regards to marketing your site and I again wish you the best of luck.

    I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree about the Southern flag. I see ole Dixie as an inescapable symbol of our unique cultural past, present and future and therefore something for a Southerner to be proud of rather than shunned. Southern people can, have and will continue to change, but the flag remains always representing exactly whatever any individual displaying it says it represents. As for refighting the war, have you ever noticed it's always the anti-flagers who bring the past into the argument? Heritage is the pride of living people, not ghosts. It's those who attack living peoples hero's and cultural icons who are guilty of intolerance based on old South stereotypes and should be exposed as such.

    On the subject of corporate carpetbaggers, this is where we agree. Ironically, the states rights amendments the Old South generally bases their arguments on specifically do NOT cover the issues of immigration and interstate enterprise. To counter "the corporate carpetbaggers who rape our land and make money off our resources and go back to New Jersey with a suitcase full of cash, not having paid much in taxes or supported our communities," requires education, action and regional pride on a local basis.

    At any rate, I would like to state that I most definitely am not a conservative wingnut. My page is designed to enlighten both old and new South and is deliberately broad enough to ruffle anyone who has old/new hangups.

Don Thore
Richmond, Va.
    Sorry but I have to strongly agree with Glynn on this one. There are many things about the old South that make me shudder, just as there are many things about the old - and recent - development of this country ("Trail of Tears," the internment of Japanese during WW2, the denigration of women and immigrants that continues in many places to do this day) that fill me with shame. One of the reasons I signed on with The Southerner was because of Glynn's unapologetic rejection of symbols and stereotypes of oppression and white supremacy in THIS PUBLICATION. Yes, slavery and bigotry and a world in which certain people were bought and sold like donkeys is a part of our history, along with Bull Connor and the fire hoses and bombs directed at children a scant 30 years ago in Alabama.

    While I realize that the stars and bars do not resonate in that way for YOU, I would respectfully suggest that it is time to realize that they most certainly DO for millions of progressive Southerners, and that in THIS publication, one of our goals is to look to a more inclusive future that replaces centuries of legalized disrespect with this simple gesture of dignity, and not to glorify the past.

Carole Ashkinaze
Associate Editor
Editor:

    Have you been keeping up with recent Congressional matters?

    Congress has said that the Supreme Court cannot change the Constitution. Burning the Flag is NOT FREE SPEECH. The decision is in the process of being reversed. You can't burn MY flag, there are too many names on a black granite wall in Washington D. C. of all colors, for me to ever allow that. You can burn yours if you want to, but you need to do it in the proper manner. If it ever touches the ground, it should first be cut into small pieces, then burned with respect.

    Thought you might be interested.

    The NAACP, after winning at having the Flag removed from the Capitol dome, is not satisfied. Now that it has been removed to a park across the street, and is at a lower altitude (where more people will see it and notice it), the NAACP wants it removed from the park. They say they want it removed from every place where it appears. And to enforce their desires, they are continuing the tourist boycott. There are a lot of people who would be out of jobs (of every color) if they succeed in their boycott. That doesn't sound like a loving way to accomplish anything. Racial or otherwise.

    Another uninformed attitude they have on their agenda is to remove or change the Arkansas State Flag because they think it is taken from the Confederate Battle Flag. IT IS A DIAMOND! We are the only state in the United States that has diamonds as one of our natural resources.

    By the way, I do own a couple of trucks, and I don't have a confederate flag flying from the back, stenciled on the window, or painted on the hood. Neither do I dip Copenhagen, nor have a gun rack in the back window. I do however, scratch myself every once in a while when I can pick my knuckles up off the ground.

Harold D. Pelton

Football as Religion

Editor:

    Thank you for a great magazine — just read the Fall issue cover to cover. Loved the football stories from the southern female perspective — all football is useless to me except SEC and now I remember why. I will be back to read again.

Rachel Watkins Julian
a true (not peripheral) Southerner living in Monterey, California

Editor:

    As a person who grew up with Pac-10 football and earned one degree from Southern Cal — where west coast football is dominant — I really enjoyed your piece about football in the south. I must say when I moved to the south, I really began to appreciate SEC football and the passion fans bring to every game. I told a friend that SEC football is like SC vs. Notre Dame every week!

    Anyway, thanks for the commentary — it was great — but as an University of Alabama administrator — I do have one final thing to say with respect to your article--ROLL TIDE!

    In closing, I truly enjoyed your article about southern football!

Dr. Roger J. Thompson
University Registrar
University of Alabama


Editor:

    I enjoyed your article immensely. Unlike yourself I have never been attached to a college football team, but then I am a northerner. I have developed, yes developed — it has taken a couple of years, a love affair with a division I college hockey team, the SCSU Huskies. Like you I grew up an athelete and am currently raising little atheletes of my own, though they are swimmers and since that activity doesn't require a helmut, most people really don't consider it a sport, sort of like arobics. I have rejected long ago the teamwork/discipline and character building arguments for sports, and this is a good thing considering that I now live in Minnesota and must deal with the shame of the UM basketball scandel. I am continually drawn to sports as a viewer and particpant. You are correct, we let go of ourselves at gametime. We live vicariously through the team and individual participants.

    Again, thanks for the article, it helped brighten my day!

Mark A. Nook
Chair, Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Sciences
St. Cloud State University

Editor:

    I believe you have summed up the essence of college football in one outstanding piece of prose! I am certainly a fan of the cotton candy variety and you are correct that when the game is over, it's gone (Although I do admit to harboring a fantasy retirement in which my wife and I travel across the US in an rv, each week choosing the college site hosting the best game of that week. Ah, what a fall that would be to remember...). I think you should autograph a copy and send it to Brent Musberger. Perhaps he will learn what college football is actually about. But then again, if he does read the article and he does have an epiphany....then unfortunately we will not have him to poke fun at and to critique for his unique ability to broadcast a game as if only one team were playing and to masterfully state the obvious at every turn. Pathetic announcers seem to be as much a part of the ritual as "Rocky Top", pre-ballot Heisman poses and last-minute, game-winning drives!

    Thanks again for a wonderful article.

John Zurovchak
Note Dame '88
Ohio State '95

Editor:

    Karin Beuerlein's story on how southerners view football is right on target. Having been raised in Virginia, I have fond memories of the big Thanksgiving Day debacle between Virginia Polytechnic Institute's (VPI) Hokies (only in VA would one name a sports team after a dead turkey) and Virginia Military Institute's KEYdets. This love for seasonal carnage on the part of otherwise gracious, genteel women is a true phenomenon of the South.

    As my dad explained it to us youngins,

FOOTBALL is:
    In the West, football is a cultural experience;
    In the Midwest, it's cannibalism;
    In the East, it's a tourist attraction;
    but,
    In the South, FOOTBALL is a RELIGION!

    Thanks for bringing back so many fond memories, Ms. Beuerlein. Y'all keep up the good work, ya' hear.

Dr. Mary Berry
a transplanted Virginian now in New Mexico
General Impressions

Editor:

    What a friendly place, your Southerner magazine. I am always on the lookout for something Southern on the internet and am occasionally rewarded with a gem such as The Southerner. Like Thomas Fortenberry I wouldn't mind seeing a Southern poem or two and maybe some well-written personal essays that tell the story of the South. Your site is already bookmarked and I plan on visiting often. I like what y'all are doing.

Jude Roy

    A good friend of mine (Bubba, actually) forwarded to my attention your excellent piece on the state of "Being Tennessee." You expressed pretty darn well (for a girl, anyway — don't send hate mail, it's a joke) the innately understood, if almost incapable of being expressed feeling one gets just by "Begin Tennessee." I have four daughters, and have given each of them a copy of your essay. With the help of God, they will come closer to understanding this concept, even while living here in the wilds of Kentucky (God, I hate blue).

    Thanks for a wonderful insight.

Nick Hetman

Editor:

    I simply have to ask why, when Missouri and Texas are both well-represented in The Southerner, that Oklahoma is not. Just VERY curious. (No, I'm not an Okie born and bred, just one that has been transplanted from Iowa. And, lest you tell me that Oklahoma is considered a midwestern state — well, those of us from Iowa KNOW that it isn't!)

    I really enjoyed the article on football that I found by following a link from the Chronicle for Higher Education.

Thanks,
Sandra Meyer

Editor:

Editor:

    Pretty handsome splash page, a great name, and I'm impressed you have my old friend Linton Weeks as a contributing editor (he's at the Washington Post, founded Southern Magazine, and used to write for SR???). This is a nifty little site (like the best southern writers poll idea) and the archives suggests some pretty good content. I think this has a lot of creative potential the Willie Morris issue is really strong and the Gay Talese audio download was pretty great.

Mike
National Geographic Traveler
PuckCrazy@aol.com

Editor:

    The new look is great. The Southern Compendium is wonderful. I was amazed when I perused through the list of links. I will continue to be a fan of yours.

Hope Clark
On the Robert Penn Warren Issue

Editor:

    The words and art complement and complete each other and combine to create a sum greater than the parts: nice synergy; the illustration sets up an expectation from the beginning and makes the story pack a better punch than it could achieve otherwise. I thought, "this person knows moccasins and knows boat cushions..."

    It would be great to work with this artist again (Skipper). This one is the first short story I've written, so having it get selected and published has been wonderful.

    I would love to write for The Southerner more. I've been reading it all year and like it a lot.

    Best wishes, and thanks for making my day.

Kate Betterton
First Place, Unpublished Author
Where the Lake Becomes the River

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