Massachusetts Republican author and radio personality Daniel J Flynn has an article out today at The American Spectator called ‘Despising Dixie’ which takes Northern Leftist author Chuck Thompson to task for his anti-Southern writings. Thompson is the author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, in which he ceaselessly insults White Southern Christians and asks whether the United States would be better off without the South. All the anti-Southern stereotypes are invoked. The two most highly rated ‘customer reviews’ of Thompson’s book on Amazon.com, one from a self-hating Southern Leftist and the other from a Yankee transplant, demonstrate the mentality of the folks cheering on the anti-Southern book:
I was born in the extreme northeast corner of Georgia and have lived in the South my whole life. Since birth I have witnessed the behaviors described in this book. Frequently physically abused as a young child and teenager, I was determined to overcome my circumstances and I did. I put myself through college and worked various menial jobs no one else would take but it paid off in the end. I learned a gratitude for humanity I’m not sure possible if born into wealth. This year I have retired from a successful career as a computer scientist in the world’s largest computer company. My workaholic lifestyle somewhat sheltered me from the culture war currently going on but I got a quick wake up call last week when my car was vandalized by the defacement of a small Obama sticker. I really thought the world had moved on and at least I could express my political support. Not so.
I am pretty surprised at the lack of tolerance here in the South. There is a willful ignorance and loathing inbred here. I’m sure things will change but not enough in my lifetime. As mentioned in the book Southerners have been saying “we are not like that anymore” for over 100 years. Not sure how this drama will unfold in Georgia but the hate vibration is so strong I am compelled to leave. As soon as my home sells I am moving to the Northwest. No more of my taxes for this state of hate. I would not recommend moving here unless you are ALL of the following: 1) White, 2) Baptist, 3) Racist, 4) Homophobic and finally perhaps most importantly 5)Sexist.
Since this will likely generate some response please realize you haven’t walked in my shoes. You haven’t felt my personal persecution living here. You are unable to justify the actions directed toward me as civilized ones. You win, I am leaving since I am vastly outnumbered here. Lastly, I’m just surprised an author from the Northwest could so completely capture the bigotry and denial expressed here. It is almost as if he actually grew up in Georgia. Wild.
NS entitled his review ‘From Heaven!’:
This book accurately captures the horror I have experienced living in the south for the past 6 years. I am originally from New York, but consider myself friendly and outgoing. In 2007 I decided I needed a change and being more values centered I chose the larger cities in the south…what a mistake that was. 1 year later the bottom fell out of the market and I was stuck in the land of dixie, unable to get employment back home. When I moved here I was filled with hope that things would be better down south. I had heard about southern hospitality and so my expectations were quite high. When I got here, I was met with nothing but bigotry, sexism, and a cultic [sic] devotion to religious living. When you get here the first question they ask is “what church do you go to?” Your answer better be a baptist one or southerners will immediately ostracize you as “other.”
I went to an ivy league school, this is generally thought of as a good thing. Not in the south, where ivy league schools are considered as one woman told me “evil factories for the advancement of the liberal devils work.”
This book is the first of its kind to give us a voice. This is the only part of the country where education is a bad thing, where not going to church is like having a disease, and where the world revolves around Billy Graham, Nascar, SEC football, Budweiser, and of course Republican politics. Narrow mindedness is thought of as a virtue, and northerners are not to be trusted. The south is a horrible place, that is still fighting the civil war, dont let them lie to you and say that they dont think that way anymore. I see signs all the time on the back of the millions of pickup trucks here that say the south will rise again. I urge anyone considering a move south for a job or any other reason to rethink that decision, and read this book, it could prevent you from wasting 6+ years of your life in the worst part of the country. Hopefully I will be able to move out soon.
So the biases of Thompson and his fans are pretty clear. In consideration of their loathing of the South (and notice how both of the ‘reviews’ copied above focus their hatred against White Southern Christian conservatives – not against anyone else in the South) a non-Southerner might think that an article attacking Thompson and defending the South would be welcomed. In fact, if Flynn’s article was actually a defense of Southerners it would be welcomed; however, it is not. Rather than challenging Thompson’s portrayal of White Southern Christians as backwards, evil, hateful devils, Flynn pulls out the tried-and-failed Republican tactic of arguing that the Leftists are the real ‘racists.’ That’s right, Flynn accuses Thompson of hating Black people. In fact, Flynn begins his article with the question: ‘Why does Chuck Thompson hate black people?’ Flynn then devotes nearly the entirety of his article to claims that Thompson is anti-Black. One of Flynn’s strange statements is ‘The Rosetta Stone to understanding Better Off Without ‘Em involves recognizing Thompson’s use of “Southern” as a code word for “black.”‘ However, even a cursory look at the cover of the book or any of the ‘reviews’ from Thompson’s fans makes it clear that the hatred here is channeled towards White Southerners. Their contempt and stereotypes are not aimed at Blacks, Mexicans, Indians or other groups in the South; they specifically attack White Southerners again and again. Flynn undoubtedly thinks he is being cute and beating ‘the liberals’ at their own game. This defeatist strategy is commonly used by Republicans on talk radio, Fox News and other ‘conservative’ media outlets. Had Thompson’s book been an attack on Blacks then Flynn’s response would have been appropriate; however, it is politically incorrect to write books attacking Blacks and the PC Left is politically allied with Black voters. Flynn’s defense of the South never once calls out Thompson for the real intolerance and hatred he actually displays in his book. The best that Flynn can do is to praise the South for its martial prowess, music, colas, fiction and (relatively speaking, at least compared to the Rustbelt) thriving economy. There is nothing wrong with this and had Flynn focused his article on praising Southern culture while ignoring the anti-White racial aspect of Thompson’s attack, it would have been easier to take. However, being a White Southerner and having grown up in the United States where my people are constantly ridiculed (indeed, it often feels like we are the last group that it is politically correct to insult and hate), I find it a bit hard to take Flynn’s article as anything positive. His article is safe. It is PC. It ignores the insults against White Southerners. If this is the best that our supposed political allies up North can muster, then who needs them? Wouldn’t the South be far better off without both Thompson and Flynn – both Northern Leftists and Northern ‘conservatives’? I think so.