I have asked “Where is the hate?” but having seen so much antagonism I will ask, with a heavy heart, “Where is the love?”
Hunter Wallace is taking issue (here, and here) with various criticisms of Southern culture and pride by Alex Linder who although I don’t keep track of such things seems to be a prominent neo-Nazi.
Frankly I share Linder’s weariness with Southern chauvinism. Southerners are of course superior in every way to the pale, scrawny, timid Yankees up north- why, a Southern man can whip ten Yankees! Twenty! Their women are more beautiful, their Negros more docile, their barbecue more tender and flavorful, their football heroes more heroic. Had not the South lost the war, which they did only because for each Confederate soldier there were thirty Yankees the South would be a virtual Garden of Eden. We know all this because Southerners remind us of it on a pretty regular basis.
And yet if Southerners are defensive, they have reason to be.
My father recently told me he can’t stand Larry the Cable Guy. Can’t stand him. Finds the man and his humor wretched and appalling. Now, why this would be is on the surface pretty strange. My father is an educated, sophisticated man but his own father was quite far from it. Grandpa had no more than a sixth-grade education and worked in lumber mills his whole life. My father is a New Deal liberal such as most Southerners were. Furthermore my dad while he is religiously and socially conservative loves “South Park”, a source of far more foul humor than the PG-rated Larry. There is a cultural divide here, and I think I know what it is.
The term “cracker” is normally thought to describe poor, boorish Southerners, although blacks have come to use it for all whites who lack substantial social status. The term is for some reason associated particularly with cattle ranchers in central Florida, and I have read the term as coming from the sound of their whips as they herded cattle.
“Craic” however (pronounced “crack”) is a Celtic word and idea that goes way back. It means a good time, party atmosphere. In such an atmosphere you might find a fellow talking big after a few beers, and the word “cracker” came to mean a boastful man and later a whole class of prideful Southerners.
Grandpa was a workin’ man of the plain sort, but unlike Larry he didn’t have much to say. My sister asked an older cousin if Grandpa had an accent. He said “he didn’t talk enough to have an accent.” Among Northern Europeans words are to be used very carefully with great economy. They have an obsession with social harmony, social disharmony being a serious threat to survival in a harsh climate. Plus if you start an argument with somebody in November and you have to be cooped up in the house (and for most people the same room) with them until April it is going to be a miserable winter. Best just to keep your mouth shut.
It’s a culture where you are supposed to do, or show, and not say. Viking monuments never describe the man honored as “brave”- they say “he did not flee” or similar words. For such people hearing others freely sharing- at great length, and dare I say ad nauseum- their virtues is annoying.
If Linder was as German as he claims though he wouldn’t have said anything, just frowned, glared, or maybe snorted if he was really, really upset. But you can’t do these things over the internet, and even a German can only hold his tongue for so long.
I don’t really want to defend the North or attack the South, but I must say the Lost Cause narrative to which Wallace seems to adhere is wrong. The South out-fought and out-generaled the North in Virginia, and had the war been fought only there, they would have won. Unfortunately that only represented a small part of the war, and in the West Grant beat the Confederates like a red-headed stepchild.
As a whole though I don’t think either Linder’s or Wallace’s criticisms are very accurate or helpful. If white Americans don’t understand their culture or history very well, it’s because the official version is junk, and the alternate version is mostly just a knee-jerk response that brings far more heat than light.