Monthly Archives: August 2017

Southern Pride?

“Southerners should feel deep burning hatred towards the Confederate flag and the rich aristocrats who brought it into existence, but many do not. Sadly, the tactics used by economic and political forces in the antebellum south are still being used to manipulate people today.”
In this article, Nick Mullins makes connections between the Southerners of the Civil War and those of today that should make you see some things differently.

Thoughts of a Coal Miner

640px-Stone_Mountain_Carving_2 Stone Mountain, Georgia | Photo by Jim Bowen

When I was a teenager, I went to a meeting of the new Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter in my home town. I quickly became caught up in the ideals of the SCV and hoped desperately that I could find a Confederate soldier within my lineage so I could join.

I was not racist thanks to a good upbringing, nor were many of the SCV members in my home town. The head of the chapter made it clear to newcomers that racism would not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. Despite this fact, we were nevertheless engaged in downplaying the atrocity of slavery in an attempt to reconcile our past and defend our identity as southerners.

In our shallow minded understandings, we thought the war was about classism and freedom from oppression. By being a part of the SCV, I…

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The Self-Serving Hustle of “Hillbilly Elegy”

My concern, as this article makes clear, is: “That Vance in no way represents my Appalachian upbringing is less distressing than the sheer amount of people who, usually without reading the book, automatically assume that he does.”

Tropics of Meta


As one of a smallish group of liberal Appalachian ex-pats, I have always considered myself an ambassador for my place of birth. I have tried to respond graciously to less than good-natured jokes about familial relations and general backwardness in the Appalachian region, and highlight the pride I still take in the work ethic and common decency of my family and community.

Lately, every inquiry has been framed around J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: whether I have read it or whether conditions for “my people” are as dire as described in the book. Vance’s memoir might have eventually faded from relevance, as there is little glamour to be found in the cored and denuded hills of the region. Then desperate Appalachians came in out droves to back Donald Trump’s improbable run to the White House.

While it is debatable what profit the Appalachian will reap from a Trump presidency, Vance…

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