26 December 2007 by Published in: General musings 17 comments

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and/or Festivus. Susan and I spent the day as we always do: a movie and dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. From my perspective, the best thing was having four days in a row off to recharge my desperately drained mental batteries. I really needed the break.

Unfortunately, I spent a fair portion of those four days once again fighting the neo-Confederate wars. I spend a fair amount of time posting on the Armchair General forum boards. I enjoy the interaction with most of the people there, many of whom are extremely knowledgeable. Over the course of the past days, a clown calling himself Thomas Jefferson has been there espousing the Lost Cause and loudly beating his neo-Confederate drum, whether anyone wants to hear it or not.

Never in my life have I ever encountered anyone more enamored of the sound of his own voice than is this clown. He actually has deluded himself that his Lost Cause rants are something novel, and that he’s come up with some new angle on a debate that’s been raging since the end of the Civil War. He won’t listen to reason, he refuses to acknowledge that anyone but him has a point, and he insists on using insulting and offensive language, even when asked to stop. The moderator for the Civil War forum pitched into the fray with me, and we stood side by side trying to hold back the neo-Confederate onslaught.

Unfortunately, he wore us down. We both reached the point where we were worn out by making the same argument ad nauseum for the 58th time. One can only hear the same nonsense spouted persistently and endlessly for so long before you reach a point of throwing up your hands in frustration and saying “enough!” I only have so much time for such stuff, and I finally reached my breaking point with the guy and kind of blew a gasket. I started posting things like “shut up already–nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”

When that didn’t do the trick, I posted this earlier today:

TJ,

Perhaps you might consider that I have better things to do with my time than to waste it in an unproductive dialogue with you, particularly when you’ve made it clear that (a) you are not interested in anything but hearing the sound of your own voice and (b) you don’t have a sufficient level of respect for me to cease and desist from using a term that I have told you that I find to be pejorative and offensive, and which I politely asked you to cease using.

Given that particular combination, I have made a conscious decision to make better use of what little free time I have than to waste it on the likes of you.

I’m finished with you and with this.

Perhaps if you learn to show a little respect, I might change my mind. However, until then, please feel free to forget that I exist.

Eric

And I am indeed finished with him. However, as Sir Winston said, “We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end…We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender…”

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. dan
    Wed 26th Dec 2007 at 11:30 pm

    eric,
    i certainly understand your frustration in trying to speak reason to folks who just can’t process reason. however, i am a bit surprised that you would try “58 times”! look, there are folks on the boards who really enjoy getting a rise out of people and they just aren’t swayed by any argument made that undermines their positions. save yourself some time, and save yourself an ulcer – just ignore ’em! listen, when algore invented the internet he wisely included the “delete” key as well as the “go elsewhere on the internet” key. heeheh. just trying to help.
    regards,
    dan
    once a yankee, but now a proper reb

  2. Wed 26th Dec 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Dan,

    The guy is now trying to hijack another area of the boards for his Lost Cause agenda, and I’m just trying to protect folks from this butthead.

    That’s why I can’t let it go.

    However, your point is well-taken. Ultimately, it’s not my fight, and since it’s not my web site, I probably shouldn’t care. But I do.

    Eric

  3. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 1:17 am

    I just spent an hour of perfectly good ‘sleeping time’ reading through that thread. I’m not smart enough to understand half of it, but I can see where the frustrations come from. Let me simply say this, I believe that you can acknowledge the honor and heritage of the Confederacy without insulting the honor and heritage of the Union (and vice-versa). I wonder why so many people have a problem with that.

  4. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 10:36 am

    Michael,

    I wish I knew.

    Eric

  5. Ken Noe
    Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 10:57 am

    Eric:

    My mama once advised me to never argue about politics or religion. The problem with folks like your poster is that with them, you’re arguing both. That is to say, Lost Cause mythology to them is fully a faith, and a fundamentalist one at that. It is something not to be analyzed and debated, but rather a creed to be accepted and defended against heretics. To even question the righteousness of the southern cause, Davis’s martyrdom, or Sherman’s evil thus is akin to questioning the reality of Adam and Eve or the virgin birth. Charles Reagan Wilson once wrote a marvelous book called Baptized in Blood, one you probably already know, that demonstrates how the Lost Cause myth drew from, and entwined with, familiar Christian imagery to form a psuedo-religion. (To be fair, Martin Marty notes a parallel northern/American civil religion as well that centers on Lincoln, but that’s for another day). Suffice it to say that arguing with this guy is only going to make him dig in his heels and defend the faith all the harder.

    Ken

  6. Todd Berkoff
    Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 11:31 am

    Hi Eric.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that. Thank you for standing up to these cyber bullies. I appreciate your efforts, however futile with this guy. Keep up the good work and let us forget about this joker.

    Separate topic. I mentioned some of the lesser known Union cavalry officers in an earlier post. I recently located the grave in Arlington National Cemetery of Charles Henry Smith (1827-1902), former colonel of the 1st Maine Cavalry, Medal of Honor recipient for St. Mary’s Church, 24 June 1864, and brevet Major General, USV and USA for his services. I believe he ended the war as a brigade commander under Sheridan in the Appomattox Campaign.

    I also located the grave of Charles Lane Fitzhugh (1838-1923), formerly colonel of the 6th NY Cavalry. Fitzhugh also commanded a cavarly brigade in the final campaign of the war, and was breveted brigadier general, USA and USV. A very young yet capable commander indeed! He also was the first cousin of Samuel S. Carroll.

    Regards,
    Todd S. Berkoff
    Arlington, Va

  7. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 11:54 am

    Todd,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. The guy is now actively trying to bait me on the boards, but I’m not going to take the bait.

    I envy you living in Alexandria. It’s easy to get lost in the Cemetery searching for these lost heroes.

    I intend to profile Smith in 2008. As the action at Samaria (St. Mary’s) Church on June 24, 1864 is a significant portion of my book on Sheridan’s Trevilian Raid, I’m very familiar with his actions that day–I have a complete copy of Smith’s MOH file from NARA. He was very badly wounded in the leg that day, and refused to go to the rear or to leave his troops, which is why he was awarded the Medal. Later, he was given command of a brigade that was specially put together just for him. Like William Wells, he had no formal training as a soldier–if I recall correctly, he was a teacher before the war–but proved himself to be a very capable commander of horse.

    Fitzhugh, of course, was a late comer. As you say, he was a very young but capable commander who did pretty well during the final days of the war. I was not aware that he was related to Carroll. I shall have to do more with him, too, as I really don’t know much about him.

    Eric

  8. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 11:58 am

    Hey Todd,

    I have a lot of interest in Fitzhugh since he commanded the 6th NY Cavalry. He was indeed a great commander and had the respect of his men. I’d enjoy seeing a pic of his gravesite if you’d happened to take one.

    As for the neo-Confed war… Eric someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. You’ll never get anywhere with this guy, so it’s insane to even try ๐Ÿ™‚

    That’s why I’ve made a conscious effort not to get into it with such folks. I’ve read the threads, too, and admire your tenacity. At some point, though, you gotta stop banging your head against the wall.

    J.D.

  9. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Eric,

    I always enjoy seeing the word

    “clap-trap”

    In print.

    Happy New Year

    Mannie

  10. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 6:23 pm

    JD,

    Our pal is obviously trying to teach pigs to dance. We all know how well that works.

    Eric

  11. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Mannie,

    LOL. How true. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eric

  12. Phil LeDuc
    Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Eric,

    Regarding your Christmas dinner – did they try to serve you duck with the head still on at that Chinese restaurant?

    (If you’re one of the few people who haven’t seen the movie “A Christmas Story”, by all means run out and rent it some time.)

    Best to you and yours.

  13. Fri 28th Dec 2007 at 10:28 am

    Phil,

    LOL. No, we didn’t have the duck, so I didn’t have to deal with that particular issue.

    And I had just seen that scene in the movie that morning, so I was actually thinking about it at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eric

  14. Matt McKeon
    Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 10:51 am

    I clicked over and read some of that thread. Dude, you are going to give yourself a heart attack. Fifteen years of working with the emotionally disturbed have taught me one thing: low affect.

  15. Marc Ferguson
    Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Eric,
    What an amazing, yet typical, series of rants. He’s pulled out all of the neo-confederate half-truths, fantasies, and total lies. Do they have some kind of indoctrination center someplace? One that struck me is the claim that Rawle’s book on the Constitution was required reading at Harvard, and that Lincoln himself suppressed it. Hard to imagine that Rawle’s views on the Constitution prevailed at Harvard, since Justice Story essentially founded the Harvard law school, and he didn’t share Rawle’s views on secession. And the notion that Lincoln personally suppressed the use of a textbook at Harvard is laughable, though sad that anyone could believe such a thing.

    You have a great blog, keep up the good work!

    best,
    Marc

  16. Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Matt,

    No doubt. I’ve said the last thing that I intend to say on that thread. Having exposed this guy for what he really is, I’m done with him.

    Eric

  17. Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks, Marc. I really appreciate it. It’s a labor of love for me.

    As for the Lost Causer, the very name he’s adopted for his ridiculous ranting should tell you pretty much everything that you should know……

    Eric

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