Terrible Highlights from Old United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazines

Categories: Studies in Crap

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Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

A small stack of United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazines

Dates: 1979, 1984, 1985
Publisher: The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.
Discovered at: A bleak Kansas City estate sale

The Cover Promises: Awkward family photos meet stiff and creepy slave-owner cosplay.

Representative Quotes:

Ladies, we are being swept under the broom of history. The pen is mightier that the sword, and it has used a very strong broom on us. [December, 1985, page 32]


The Confederacy could well have been proud of their women. Their conduct during the war won them the wholehearted respect of their men. They were for secession and were solidly behind the men in their fight for the Southern cause. Relative to the feminine activist movement of today, it can be said that the War Between the States was the first step enabling women in this country to change their status and become recognized on their own merits in a heretofore all male dominated existence. [June, 1979, page 20]

Yes, the UDC invented feminism!

As a longtime fan of the Kansas City Royals, your Crap Archivist understands the need of people in a bleak present to stir within themselves a connection to some more noble past. It's understandable that even American Southerners on the wrong side of history might draw some residual honor from their long-gone history of courtliness, tea-ruining, and taking up arms against the federal government to defend the cruelest and most dishonorable social arrangement that this country has ever known.

Sure, I can understand a touch of impolitic pride in lunatic bastard ancestors. I mean, that beats walking around thinking, "My great-greats went to war because they thought that I should have the right to whip a long day's work out of the man who is currently the president." That would make them feel bad! (So would showing them that Eyes on the Prize documentary.)

But even that is better than the relationship with the past proposed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who believe that the lost lifestyle of plantation balls and pretending to be royalty is best honored by donning ridiculous costumes and faking that they don't understand the true causes of their prewar leisure:

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At first I thought this next shot was a publicity still from a George Wallace drag musical.

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But, no, that's really Wallace, the staunch segregationist, caught up in an afternoon of modeling new lipsticks.

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Also note that he has Kilroy in the pocket of his jacket.

Like the petticoat and cotillion past that the UDC profess to honor, most of the articles in their magazine are impossibly dull, usually due to a preoccupation with meaningless decorum:

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Articles about Confederate history honor "Knightly Gentlemen" like Stonewall Jackson or the Indian-killer Lawrence Sullivan Ross. In "Robert E. Lee: The Educator" and "Jefferson Davis, Husband and Father," the UDC magazine illuminated every facet of the Confederacy's doomed heroes: noble goodness, noble goodness, and noble goodness, often expressed with a reverence as over the top as that Malory showed Arthur or Rolling Stone shows Mick Jagger solo records.

Here's a Faulknerian fantasy about the spirit of Davis rising from his tomb to walk the south on the day in 1978 when the man himself's U.S. citizenship was restored:

Seen only in the mind's eye, we recognize at once the dignified posture, the penetrating glance, and the slight bending of the shoulders reflecting, not the monstrous burden of tragedy and disappointment it had been his destiny to carry, but the ineluctable passage of time. By means beyond our understanding, his shadowy image was stirred by the knowledge that the cruel and continuing interdiction against him was at an end.

From later in the same piece:

Remembrance of the gathering clouds of the War for Southern Independence brought pain to his countenance.

Once in a while, the dreary politeness and memorializing, and the daughters lay bare the dark assumptions at the hear of their fantasies. "The 90th General Convention was held in Oklahoma, land of the 'Red People' and the cowboys," one article opens. Another is titled:

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Here, Starke identifies a fresh source for what his magazine occasionally calls "The War for Southern Independence":

The people of the South had a totally different lifestyle from their neighbors in the North. The Southerner's slow and easy-going life was based on the ideal of love and enjoyment of his land as exemplified when he often related his natural surroundings to his daily occurrences.

The real trouble, according to Starke, was time.

The Yankee proverb "time is money" seemed monstrous and horrid to Dixielanders, and to some even incomprehensible.

Yes, "Time is money" is a godawful belief. Perhaps those Dixielanders found the notion especially odious for fear that someone might save up lots of time/money and buy away the slaves upon which every aspect of their easygoing civilization depended.

On that same page, Starke complains that the North viewed the South as a "colony for exploitation" and praises the South for its "diversity in geography, climate, occupation, and local culture." His are the most impressive Confederate Balls in any of these magazines: claiming the old south detested exploitation but celebrated diversity?

He goes so far as insisting that "One hesitates to say that slavery was even an underlying cause of the war but was mainly used as a cover to make many Northerners appear as liberators and champions of freedom."

That's one of only three times in five issues that I can find any use of the word "slavery."

Despite Starke's fallacies, it's rare that a man wrote a piece for the UDC magazine. The Daughters honored their men, of course, but their organization is run -- and in some ways concerned with -- women. In the south in the late '70s and early '80s, women were up to all sorts of great things, as this ad demonstrates:

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Once you've let a woman embalm you, you'll wonder why you ever let a man.

I mean, look at how welcoming good Southern women can be!

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Not pictured: Their secret belief that life would be ever so much better if it were black folks serving that punch.

Here are a couple other choice quotes from the Daughters:

In the May 1979 issue, Mrs. Ernest J. Meire, Jr., argues that Davis and his Confederacy had been forced into rebellion to spare its most vulnerable population:

The Southern white could either fight the oppressive North or kill its slaves.

Her reasoning:
The South could not afford to have its slaves freed to rise against their masters. There had been uprisings. There had been bloodshed.

A recommendation from the Executive Committee:

A rebuilt IBM electric typewriter be purchased for use by the Library Committee and that this be purchased by the Library Savings Account. (The President General explained that this was an emergency and would be ratified by the National Convention.)

In her monthly column, "The Whatnot," Ruth Davenport Deiss reports being "more than disgusted" to discover that no quotes from Jefferson Davis turn up in Bartlett's. "There are literally hundreds of quotations that would be a tremendous asset," she complains. While passionate, she resorts to crowd-sourcing her solution: "How does one go about seeing to it that some words of Jefferson Davis are added to such a book?"

A quote of Davis' that she proposes:

When Time shall have softened passion and prejudice; when reason shall have stripped the mask from misrepresentation; then Justice, holding evenly the scales, will require much of past censure and praise.

The upshot of that quote: "One day, everyone will understand that it's Confederate whites who got screwed most on this whole black-people-in-bondage thing."

Shocking Detail: More antebellum cosplay!

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I think that last one has Jan Brewer in it.

Also, if you want to throw your own Dirty Dixie party, here's how to score your J. Davis swag.

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Highlight: Here's an ad that only appears to be a commemoration of the birth of George W. Bush.

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Actually, that's a house ad congratulating Texas on the honor of having a special issue of The United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine dedicated to it, which is kind of like those weird times when a show that you're watching is interrupted with an ad for the show that you're watching. Or maybe it's like if Cosmo celebrated its sex issue by giving a tiara and cape to sex itself. It's weird, is what I'm saying.

In response, Mark White -- then that big ol' state's governor -- penned a letter that ran on that issue's back cover: "Since the Confederate flag was one of six to fly over our great state, the Confederacy had a significant historical impact on Texas. We are proud of that tradition."

--

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25 comments
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Thewallyoubuiltforme
Thewallyoubuiltforme

I AM a Southerner, and even I think that clinging to a failed recession is pointless. We lost, and things are as they are. Deal with it. Personally, I enjoy your column every week and would be disappointed if it were to be gone. All right, Internet, do your worst. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

James W. King
James W. King

IGNORANT people who denounce the Confederacy are probably unaware of the Slave Narratives. In 1934-36 during the FDR administration as part of WPA over 2000 old former slaves were interviewed and their stories recorded. Virtually all spoke of the kind treatment by former masters and the good times prior to the war. But ignorant South-Confederacy hater believe slaves were constantly abused.    From 1440 to 1870 there were 52,400 ship voyages to Africa to acquire and transport slaves. How many of these ships flew the Confederate flag or the flag of any Southern state? Answer 0. Early on the slavers were Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and Dutch. Then America got in the slave business. There were state owned and private owned fleets of ships by 6 American colonies-Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and Maine. The abuse was by African slave catchers and on the cramped European and Yankee ships. Once they got to the South most were treated fairly and some so well they considered themselves above poor whites. Many were like family members.   GEE aren't these facts inconvenient to the emotional feelings and belief that slavery was totally a Southern thing ?  Massachusetts was the 1st colony to legalize slavery by statute in 1641. The pilgrims began enslaving Pequot indians immediately upon arrival in 1620. In the South 3 to 7 year indentured servitude existed from 1607-1654. The father of Southern slavery was a black man-Anthony Johnson-do a Google search. He went before the courts of Virginia (English Courts) and was granted lifetime ownership of John Casor another black.    Now all you South-Confederate bashers lets look at treatment of the Native American Indians by the U.S. government under the Stars and Stripes U.S. flag. America conducted genocide against the Indians. America killed more Indians, estimated 9 to 14 million, than Germany did Jews under the Swastika, an estimated 6 to 7 million.  But yet the Union and the Stars and Stripes gets a pass while condemnation is heaped on the Confederacy and Confederate flag.    Why?--HYPOCRISY DUE TO IGNORANCE.  

TheOverseer
TheOverseer

Okay, you live in a shack with no plumbing or electricity, and you can do ALL of my yard and housework without pay or benefits until you're too old to stand straight. In addition, you can never leave my property, you can never marry anyone of your choosing, and you will never learn to read or write. You seem to think that's plenty enough kindness. Try it on for size. Regardless of how few times a slave may have been mistreated, one person cannot own another. Anyone in that position will never be contented. The offer stands, though; I'll give you a sickle. Get started on the back forty, cracker.

Daisymay79
Daisymay79

Brilliant. Slavery was somehow ok because at the same time more Native Americans died than Jews did in Germany during the Holocaust. Apparently you have to chose which terrible thing to be outraged about one at a time.  Do they cancel each other out otherwise somehow?Not all slaves were "constantly abused" but all were owned. You aren't a "family member" if you or your kids can be sold off like cattle.

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

How Not to Prove That Everyone Is Wrong about the Confederacy: First, argue that Southern white people were actually quite nice to the black people they went to war to retain ownership of.  Immediately after that, argue that other black folks were the *true* villains. 

James W. King
James W. King

All who berate, disparage and condemn the South and the Confederacy have one common denominator--IGNORANCE.  

 

    Campaigns allacross Americahave resulted in removing or suppressing Confederate symbols.  The Confederacy has been the victim of one ofAmerica'smost successful smear campaigns. Certainly, part is due to the old truism"the victors write the history" and much is due to heightened racialsensitivities in our current era, in which the Confederacy, which lasted 4years, is seen as the principal villain in North American slavery, aninstitution which lasted more than 200 years in both North and South.

     There are moreprofound reasons for the extreme contempt heaped on the Confederacy.  The dominant interpreters of American historyhave assigned antiquated concepts such as slavery, disunion, and states rightsto the Confederacy to purify and transform America into a modern andprogressive social democracy.  Theirefforts are only successful if one accepts the superficial view of historypresented by the all pervasive supporters of the current American regime.

 

CharlieEL
CharlieEL

Gee, hate much? Apparently you got too much time on your hands.

Carl W. Roden
Carl W. Roden

 LOL says the guy defending another guy who spends his time blogging to a bunch of 20+ year old XBox Live playing virgins....nice job Carlie-boy.

GeoX
GeoX

Hey, "20+ year old XBox Live playing virgin" is still better than "scumsucking confederate apologist." :)

Connie333
Connie333

Good grief, that "won't you have some punch" picture is utterly terrifying.  Are those women definately alive? They weren't just turned into zombies as serving women for people who can't cope with modern day America?

CharlieEL
CharlieEL

Mock what you either don't understand or don't have a stake in...., real tolerance there. Nice job.

Connie333
Connie333

Oh I'm being fair  - those women are fricking scary, I'd back away slowly whatever political/religious/random cause they were supporting.  Amazingly it is quite possible to understand the inherent ridiculousness of daft old fashioned ideology and mock it without having a "stake in it".     The internet - you're doing it wrong.

Virginia S. Wood
Virginia S. Wood

You must not be a Southerner. You just don't understand.

(written with tongue firmly in cheek)

Tim Burgess
Tim Burgess

I feel sorry for you and your soul!  The condescending hate that drips from your fangs poisons you and your followers.  I shall, of course, make my feelings known to all of the advertisers shown.  Tim Burgess

Rebel without a brain !!
Rebel without a brain !!

You do that Timmy !  At the same time you can enlighten us as to the real cause of the Southern War to Maintain Slavery - TARIFFS of course !

CharlieEL
CharlieEL

Gee, finally someone who gets it!

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

Good luck rising again!

Marcy Fleming
Marcy Fleming

 Alan, we don't need organized ad boycotts as the advertisers are doing it already. Mom (Sarah Israel) warned me about Ashkenazim males, narcissistic putzes all.That's why my boyfriend, Mike Hardesty, is Irish.

Marcy Fleming
Marcy Fleming

 Alan, as an Irish-American Jew I say that you are a no-mind lefttard lib imbecile. There's obviously a lot of history, you might start with Thomas DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln.He's a Prof in Montgomery County, MD.I would expect to read this slimey asswipe trash in Big Bruce's failing rag, which I haven't looked at for four years, not here. Tim, make those calls fast as advertisers are deserting SF Weekly even quicker than Non-libtard whites are deserting OBUMa.

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

And thus through the threat of advertiser boycotts was the flower of Confederate womanhood forever un-besmirched by the War of Northern Blogger Aggression. 

Terence
Terence

Excellent edition of Studies in Crap! 

One of the items on that list of supplies caught my eye: "A Confederate Catechism" (priced at 50 cents plus 30% for postage). Intrigued, I did an exhausting Google search and found what I believe to be a pdf of the very same: http://www.scv.org/pdf/Confede...

Check out section 2, which says that the root cause of the war was not slavery, but the "vicious, intemperate anti-slavery movement." 

Pwesents
Pwesents

You're way too nice to these racist old birds.

Patriot1861
Patriot1861

Aww, and I guess you would do well to be an insulting hater

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