Squashing and Squishing the “Peecee” Sesquicentennial
Friends in Virginia recently sent me a link to a “Style Weekly” article about the Sesquicentennial. After reading it and becoming duly nauseous, I decided to post a “comment” at the bottom of the page.
The article addresses the Confederate History Month in Virginia hoopla, as well as the “peecee” Sesquicentennial celebrations which are just beginning and which focus on slavery as the cause of the war and on slaves, women and scalawags – instead of the war itself and on the men who actually fought in the conflict.
There are already signs that celebrations of this type are not going to be big tourist draws. The much touted Tredegar Museum in Richmond has been an attendance disaster ever since it opened, and that city’s recent “Civil War and Emancipation Day” celebration looks like it drew more flies than people. http://www.flickr.com/photos/futureofrichmondspast/ I have a hunch that most other celebrations in this vein will do likewise.
For whatever reason, the stories hawked by the current crop of Sesquicentennial organizers just don’t cut if for most black folks. Don’t know why that is, exactly? Maybe they’re better at smelling B.S. than us white folks? Such stories also alienate most white Southerners, except of course, those of the self-deprecating variety. And such stories will not induce even the most diversity-loving Yankee to travel hundreds of miles because such glorifications of diversity are a dime a dozen these days. You don’t need to travel a long way to see one. You can stay home, save the money and get the same crap-ola right near where you live. In short, the “peecee” Sesquicentennial organizers are going to deal the south’s tourism industry a death blow!
What I am suggesting here is for us to not let such things go quietly into the night. Don’t let our enemies sweep their failures under the rug. When a dump like the Tredegar Museum, for example, draws a mere average of 60 visitors per day, we need to make a lot of noise about it. When Sesquicentennial planners in Virginia and elsewhere, dream up happy-horsehockey celebrations like “Emancipation Day” and hardly anyone shows up, we need to stand up and loudly say, “HEY! HOW’S THAT EMANCIPATION DAY THING WORKING OUT FOR YOU?” or simply…“WE TOLD YOU SO!”
One of the major shortcomings of the Southern Heritage movement is that it does not have an army of public relations professionals working for it. If there were such professionals in our organizations, we would be making lots of noise every time our enemies fall flat on their faces. That’s what public relations people do – they make your enemies look bad while making you look good!
In the absence of such an army, however, you can make LOTS OF NOISE whenever one of these “peecee” projects falls on its face. You can write letters or make phone calls to the media and to your representatives. You can write letters to the editor, and deluge the “comments” section of any online news rag that reports on such events with your posts and your ridicule. Let your representatives know that you don’t appreciate having to subsidize the Tredegars of the world with your tax dollars just because they market a “peecee” approved historical interpretation. Let your representatives know that you don’t appreciate the current crop of Sesquicentennial planners killing off your state’s tourist industry. When one of their happy little celebrations falls on its face it costs you, your fellow taxpayer and your state, money. When they engineer a flop like “Civil War and Emancipation Day”, send the organizers letters demanding their resignations. Post those letters wherever someone else can see them. Call your representatives and tell them that you want these guys fired! Make their lives a living hell! Who knows? Maybe transplants like Kevin Levin (who is on Virginia’s Sesquicentennial planning committee) will pack up and move back to Noo Joisey? (wishful thinking). And don’t forget to make sure you alert your fellow tax payers to the fact that their tax dollars are supporting a sinking ship that no one seems to want. Let “those people” feel the sting of their own folly! Remember that nothing hurts worse than the sting of public embarrassment. Remember too, that your enemies would not hesitate to do it to you.