Monday, November 29, 2004



By The Erudite Redneck

What a long, familiar, but different kind of trip, for this time of year.

A deluge similar to the one that has had Oklahoma City soaked for the past month has lake-sized pools and puddles standing in the cotton fields of West Texas, too.

So the cotton harvest has proceeded this year with fits and starts -- mostly fits. Some of the gins had a few modules in the yards, but for the most part they, and the cotton warehouses, remained idle.

In the fields, bolls had popped open and the fiber stood exposed to the elements. Not good. But not a crisis, I don't think, if it dries off soon.

"You see farm equipment here you don't see anywhere else," Dr. ER observed, as we passed through one of the little towns. Yep: cotton trailers, module builders, sprayers, stuff you don't see in wheat or soybean country.

Lubbock really depends on the cotton crop. Retailers, experts say, literally base their inventories and sales projections on crop projections. Now THAT'S a farm town -- if a city of 200,000-some-od people can be called a "town."

It was cool to make the drive between Wichita Falls and Lubbock again, which I hadn't done since moving from Wichita Falls five years ago. The little towns are pitiful in some ways, with boarded-up downtowns and all, but they hold an important place in my heart:

Holliday (one big oilfield pipe and parts yard); Seymour (where Bird, on this trip, amazingly, sampled her first-ever Allsup's burrito: chili and beans, deep fried to a brown, scrumptious fat-laden crisp, which I prefer with mustard); Mankins (crossroads where a canival used to winter, maybe still does, but it wasn't there this trip); Dundee (where camels in a pasture on the side of the highway had cars stopping and kiddos and moms and dads with cameras pouring out for pictures, including us); Red Springs (where I wrote the town's obituary a dozen years ago when they closed the post office); Vera (where I wrote another town obit at the closure of another post office); Benjamin, where a newspaper feature story of mine on wild hog hunting hung behind the counter at the store for several years, and where, across the street, is the Knox County Courthouse, where I covered several proceedings, including a full jury trial for cattle rustling, and the odd murder); Guthrie (home of two of the biggest, most historic ranches in Texas, the 6666 Ranch -- pronounced "the Four Sixes" -- and the Pitchfork); Dickens (just north of Spur, where there is never a bathroom suitable for human beings to use); and, closer to Lubbock, towns I've only passed through, never "worked" in the same way I have the others: Lorenzo, Ralls, Crosbyton, Idalou.

At a Hastings in Lubbock, across from the football stadium at Texas Tech, I picked up a great photography book, with essays by famed Texas writer Elmer Kelton, on 13 huge, historic Texas ranches: Texas Cattle Barons: Their Families, Land and Legacy, photography by Kathleen Jo Ryan. I love it because I have either visited of know personally people involved with four of the ranches: the 6666 Ranch at Guthrie, R.A. Brown Ranch at Throckmorton, Moorhouse Ranch Co. at Benjamain, and Spade Ranches, headquartered at Lubbock. My inner child is a cowboy who would rather spend a morning breakin' ice on a tank or tossin' range cubes off the back of a pickup truck or diggin' postholes or DOING ANYTHING but ridin' a desk all day.

If it would pay. But it wouldn't. SIGH. Dr. ER could have shot the photography for this book, and I could've written the essays in it, just as well. One of these days ...

The football game was a bust. Oklahoma State's defense handled Tech's pass-happy offense, but our offense never got off the bus.

GAW* -- not nearly as historic as "GTT" (see previous post); short for "got a-- whupped," reference to the outcome of the OSU-Texas Tech game.


Friday, November 26, 2004



Off to West Texas! The South Plains! The Cotton Capital of the Lone Star State! Lubbock, Texas!

Which Mac Davis planted in his rearview mirror back in the day. The greater environs of which -- think Idalou -- I was smitten by whilst gallavanting across the plains on my trusty steeds -- an '89 Ford Ranger, then a '91 model -- for half of the '90s.

It is a source of pride to me that I once was one of the last of a dying breed: a Texas farm-and-ranch editor. Yeehaw. Dang near took the farm editor post at the AJ, in fact -- the "AJ" bein' the Avalanche-Journal, which is purt' near the oddest-named newspaper I know of -- which woulda put me in tall cotton, indeed. But the editor where I was, at another Texas paper, decided it was worth a few more thousand dollars a year to keep me put.

Ahh, yes. I spect the dirt will be flyin' and the cotton fiber will be blowin' in the air.

Yep, this football trip will second as a trip down memory lane for me. Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders, tomorrow. Supposed to be a lo-o-on-ng game, since Tech is so pass happy -- and OSU can be when it needs to be.

Go OSO! Go Cowboys! GO POKES!

* "GTT" -- "Gone To Texas," intitials or phrase left scrawled on homes, stores, barns and what all in the early 19th century by folks who left all for adventure and a piece of dirt to call their own -- in TEXAS.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


The Mayflower Compact

IN The Name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. In WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth and of Scotland, the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620

The above interpretation copyright ©1995 on the HTML-version by Dep. Alfa-Informatica University of Groningen. Copying for non-commercial purposes allowed, if proper citation is given.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Thanksgiving proclamation

"...We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have grown in number, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

" But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all those blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace--too proud to pray to the God that made us.

"It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.

"I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our benevolent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

-- Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

Note, y'all, that similar sentiments were held on the other wide of the War Between the States, as well. Note further that ol' ER is NOT a real fan of Lincoln. Note finally, however, that Truth will out -- whether from the mouths of babes, or a damnedyankee. Happy Thanksiving eve, y'all. :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


These daze

Man, I think I’ve got a bad U-joint in my brain. I can get it in gear, but it takes off with a clank and feels a little loose as I’m mentally cruisin’.

So don’t think of this as “writing,” just random thinking:

D-Day: I deefended my thesis with aplomb, if I do say so myself. Five perfessers – three in history and one in bidness, representing the graduate college – took turns asking me general and specific questions and challenging me somewhat on my research, my philosophy of history, my concepts of objectivity and my readiness to do battle with biases and intellectual fiefdoms within the history discipline. About 75 minutes worth.

Then they asked me to leave, knocked heads for 10 or 15 minutes, then invited me back and declared that danged if I wadnt’t fit to be called a master of history. They even allowed that they were gonna pass my 236-page, almost-2-year-old baby “with distinction.” Well, I’ll swan. I ain’t bragging. I am dumbfounded.

Dr. ER was present for the committee interrogation. She does not say I got off light, and I didn’t. She does say it was pretty laid back, which it was – but only because 1., I do know my stuff, 2., I am comfortable talkin' and being scrutinized in such situations, and 3., while I’m not exactly “chummy” with any of the folks on my committee, I am pretty well acquainted with them, all but the bidness prof, and his presence just put me a little bit more on my toes, which Dr. ER will tell you were dancin’ all over the place under the table, a constant demonstration of “shaky legs” bein’ my habit in important situations.

Map Test Day: It amazes me how much of a load is off for me to have that dang map test behind me. Europe, 1648. Holy Roman crap. I know that time and place better than I know the United States here and now.

THAT’s what was makin’ me crazy, not the thesis deefense. And it’s in the past now. I’ll get my grade next week, I reckon, and I’m pretty sure I done good. But then I was sure on the first one, and I got a D that I had to dig myself out of on a retest. We’ll see.

Next Thing: Book Report No. 2. And as of tonight, after 3 hours in the library, that puppy is done. I just need to write it. (I’ve said that in the news bidness for years. It means all the reporting has been done, but the story ain’t wrote up yet. And gettin’ a story wrote up, whether it’s a news story, a column, a book review or a scholarly article, quite honestly is the easiest part. I’m thinkin’ I can knock out the writin’ part of the book review in about five hours. One hour per double-spaced page is about what it takes when I’m thinkin’ something through as I write it up.)

Thanksgiving Day. Bird is headin’ to Texas to spend the day with her biological father and his wife. Dr. ER and myself will be here at the house. There are three Cornish game hens in the icebox getting’ suitably mushy for placement on indirect heat in my trusty Weber Kettle grill Thursday afternoon. I done made the trip to the Albertson’s last night for three of the little birds, plus the requisite brown-and-serve rolls, greens beans, toasted onion rings, cranberry sauce, a sweet tater pie, Cool Whip and other traditional delights, as well as a trip to the package store for a relatively rare (for me) bottle of white wine, a pinot grigio, which is a little sweeter than a chardonnay and a little drier than a Riesling and goes well with the applewood-smoked chickenlets Chef ER will be servin’ up at about dark-thirty on Thanksgiving Day.


Monday, November 22, 2004


"Thematic elements"

Yo. Dr. ER says I will lose my "fan base" if I stay absent any longer so here I am I'm just whupped Too whupped to be creative Too whupped to write Too whupped to think much past immediate thoughts as they emerge Hey I hope OSU beats Tech this Saturday I'd hate to make that long drive to Lubbock and see us lose Bird was here over the weekend which makes ol' ER happy but I find I'm as sad to see her leave as I am glad to see her arrive so it's almost a wash I need a monster truck rally or a rodeo or a John Wayne movie at least after this weekend Dr. ER and Bird kept after me to go with them to see the new Bridget Jones movie and I did but only after insisting that I see the first one first so Dr. ER bought it Great chick flicks but they are chick flicks so I need a big plate of testosteroni now to get my manly groove back Sigh In three hours I will take Evil Map Test 2.0 and I'm not yet up to snuff on Europe North Africa and the Caucasus I've put off Book Review 2.0 two weekends in a row now which is true to form I work best under deadline pressure and now the pressure is on and with the thesis deefense more on that later behind me and the map test behind me soon I can concentrate on it finally which is good because Book Review 3.0 will be due in early December which will be here before I know it gotta go Dr. ER is tearing down the house in a frantic search for her car keys again again again again why don't women carry them in a pocket Oh we also saw "National Treasure" excellent flick a good mix of history car chases suspense intrigue and such Oh again "Thematic elements" what the heck does it mean when a movie includes that in the list of warnings in the deelywhopper (sp?) where they give the rating (R PG, etc.)? One of the movies warned of upcoming language nudity a brief drug reference and "thematic elements" which has to be code for something but what?


Friday, November 19, 2004


FLASH: Thesis defended

Details to follow. ... momentary rest required ... cigar bar and drink sighted ... tomorrow: do book review I put off last weekend; Sunday: study for Evil Map Test No. 2 (Europe, 1648, after the Peace of Westphalia, egad). Map test Monday, short week, next weekend's shot for work 'cause we're headed to Lubbock for OSU-Texas Tech ... holy crap, it''' be December before I know it ... :-)


Monday, November 15, 2004



The Erudite Redneck is takin' a howdyatus (hiatus) for a few days. Too much on my plate. Somethin' has to give. Sadly, this, which is just about the most fun thing I do, has to give.

Wish me luck on the Reformation, and on my thesis defense Friday -- and just stayin' somethere in the neighborhood of sanity.

See y'all later.


Saturday, November 13, 2004


Baptists beaten

Thank goodness for Baylor.

From The AP:

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Seymore Shaw was a solid replacement for the injured Vernand Morency, rushing for 172 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries to lead No. 25 Oklahoma State to a 49-21 victory over Baylor on Saturday.

Donovan Woods threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) beat the Bears for the ninth straight time.

The Cowboys, already bowl eligible for the third straight season, won handily in rebounding from a disappointing 56-35 loss to No. 6 Texas last week.

And we'uns was there, myself, Dr. ER and Bird, for a great football day!

Now, GO POKES! Beat Texas Tech!


Friday, November 12, 2004


This 'splains a lot

By The Erudite Redneck

This here is my neck of the woods. My original stompin grounds. Home.

It's from Down in the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953): 3.

"A great deal has been written about the people who live in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. These backwoodsmen were, until recently, the most deliberately unprogressive white people in the United States. The descendants of pioneers from the Southern Appalachians, their way of life changed very little during the whole span of the nineteenth century. They lived in a lost world, where primitive customs and usages persisted right down into the age of industrial civilization."

I have never read a more succinct description of my people and culture.

Note that, written in 1953, it doesn't mention "white people" like anything written in the past 40 years would. The author means it plainly -- not politically or racially. Just factually.

Note also that the author uses "unprogressive" the same way: neither politically, nor judgmentally, but factually. He means "conservative" -- and even that not politically, but factually. He means, simply, "slow to change."

If that ain't me and mine, I don't know what is. The author meant no offense. None taken!


Thursday, November 11, 2004


Lithuania = Delaware

By The Erudite Redneck

One theory is that until the United States gets a new competitor, or peer, or enemy — a nation or group of nations, not the rabble two-bit, third-rate criminals masquerading as a global power right now — we’re in for trouble.

So this is what it’s like in a unipolar world, with us bein’ the lone superpower. It sucks. It's like bein' the biggest redneck in a beer joint: Every other dang redneck in the joint wants to fight him.

We need a real enemy worth the name, like the Soviet Union used to be.

Like the Axis was.

Like the Huns were.

Like Mexico was (OK, that’s a stretch).

Like England was.

I’ve been thinking China would emerge as our next real peer — and it might. But maybe not.

Considering events since 9/11, it might be someone we never would’ve imagined.

Might it be Europe?

From today’s news from The Associated Press:

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian lawmakers ratified the newly signed European Union constitution Thursday, making one of the bloc’s newest members the first country to approve the historic document. ...
Members of the 25-nation bloc signed the constitution Oct. 29 in Rome, and the charter is supposed to take effect in 2007. ... The document must be ratified by the legislatures of all EU states in 2005 and 2006.
It’s a tricky prospect, given that at least nine countries — Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Britain — plan to put the constitution to a referendum. ...
It includes new powers for the European Parliament and ends national vetoes in 45 new policy areas — including judicial and police cooperation, education and economic policy, but not in foreign and defense policy, social security, taxation or cultural matters.

Sound familiar?

Lithuania today is Delaware in December, 1787, when it became the first state to ratify the constitution. That’s when the baby United States started to walk.

The baby European Union took a step today. With it bein' about as friendly to us as we were to England in 1787, we need to keep an eye on that kid -- especially when it gets big enough to go into a beer joint.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004


C's, D's and F's

Dr. ER allows as to how it looks like I was braggin' on my A's in the previous post. Didn't mean it like that. Here is some ballast, though, just in case. As an undergrad, I made a D in college algebra, on the third attempt, AFTER taking remedial algebra; made a C in statistics, at which Dr. ER excels; made a C in purt 'near every economics class I took to get an economics minor; and I made a D one quarter and an F for one semester in P.E. in junior high. "Erudite" don't mean "smart," y'all. It means "studies a lot," is all. :-)


Class warfare, the Reformation and gettin' over the election

By The Erudite Redneck

Nineteen down, three to go.

Three of us showed up for my class in the Reformation today. Only four of us have been left for the past few weeks. First day of class, there were 22 of us. I hope this one gal who has been struggling especially hard -- we've ALL been struggling -- hangs in there.

This is the hardest class I’ve had since “Doc” Ed Paulin’s class in mass media law at Oklahoma State back in, oh, probably ’85. It was considered THE hardest class in the J-school, and I earned one of two B’s in it that semester.

I dearly want an A in this class on the Reformation. That would give me straight A's in 33 hours of grad school.

I have a low A right now -- but have two essay tests, two book reviews and another evil map test to get past between now and -- gulp -- Dec. 13.

Next big test is this Friday. From Calvin in France through the Tudor dynasty in England. There will be eight IDs from more than 50 assigned, and two essay questions from about a dozen general topics.

Holy Roman crap, so to speak.

Saturday is a day off -- and up to Stillwater with Dr. ER and Bird, to see OSU beat Baylor. Maybe.

Sunday, I’ll write a review of The Swiss Reformation, a new (2002) book on the 1500s in the Swiss Confederation, by Bruce Gordon. Five-page book review. No biggie.

Monday, I’ll start working on the evil map test, which is Nov. 22. Major biggie. Made a D first time around on the first map test; eked out a high B on the retake.

We three survivors are assuming we will get to retake the second one, too, if we make D's or F's. If so, then I for dang sure don’t want a C the first time. I’ll be stuck with it, I think.

The rest of the week, I’ll work on that and review my thesis, which I defend Friday, Nov. 19. My thesis: “Civilized Scribes: Voice of Opinion in the Choctaw Press, 1849-1852.”

Somewhere in there I’ll do lots of routine reading in our three textbooks and start reading on a third book to review: Ottoman Imperialism During the Reformation: Europe and the Caucasus, by C. Max Kortepeter.

It’s an old book (1972) but still considered a standard on the topic. I am fascinated with Suleyman the Magnificent, big-time Turk warrior who gave the Holy Roman emporers, nascent Spain, Habsburgs, the Pope and everybody else and their dogs fits.

It’s a wonder he didn’t whip ’em, since all the royals in Europe were so dang busy beating each other up at the time.

Therein lies a lesson for the present: We have to quit dissing each other in this country -- red states vs. blue states, liberals vs. conservatives, erudites vs. rednecks (oh wait, strike that one)-- or our enemies will whip us because we're so dang busy beating up on ourselves.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


No better than the Ku Klux Klan

By the Erudite Redneck

Good-hearted people take advantage of anonymity to do something kind for others. Keeping themselves out of it is part of the blessing of giving. It’s part of that whole “prayer closet” approach to spiritual life that Jesus suggested.

Bad-hearted people hide behind anonymity to do bad things, such as the Klan behind their sheets, or the Middle Eastern terrorists under the towels on their heads; to say bad things, such as the idiots who call in to talk radio; and to write bad things, such as the occasional “critic” who leaves meanness on this site.

It’s tempting to call the anonymous posters names, or just delete their unkind remarks. But, just like running from the terrorists or cowering before the Klan, that would be letting the bastards win.

Besides, although some of us who gather here know one another, and know our on-line handles, many more of us don’t. So, we’re all anonymous at some level.

Of course, there is a time when retreating is the honorable, just and wise thing to do. But I’ve got a pretty thick skin, from years of such attacks in my professional life. No pissant anonymous poster to this blog is worth the time it would take me to figure out how to delete him-her.

I do know this: There is no f------ anonymity across Jordan. Every name is written, it is said, in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I stand before God just as I am, fully identified, fully rotten, yet being redeemed.

The words we use are just so much wood, hay and stubble. They, pitiful attempts to express wisdom that they are, will be the first to go, in the final refining process.

Call it f------ myth. Call it f------ metaphor. Whatever. I, and lots of others, call it The Truth. We all will be called to account for how we used our anonymity.


Monday, November 08, 2004


An "F" in class today

By The Erudite Redneck

In light of:

1., fellow blogger friends’ recent discussion of poetry.

2., the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a good boy after winnin’ the race at Phoenix yesterday and not cussing (after his crew chief reminded him not to before he could get out of his car in Victory Lane).

And 3., the sheer joy I get from sharin’ some of what I’m learnin’ in my current history grad class, on the Reformation.

Oh, and 4., the sheer joy I get from shockin’ people plumb out of their socks.

I offer the following bit of early-modern English doggeral, from one of my textbooks:

Warning! Academic use of F-word dead ahead. Stop now and turn around if you need to. My feelings won’t be hurt a bit.

The discussion is about how people, below the ranks of the elite, got along with their neighbors in villages.

Another way of applying peer pressure was public ridicule. Thus, mocking rhymes might circulate the villages:

Woe to thee, Michael Robins,
That ever thou were born,
For Blancute makes thee cuckhold,
And thou must wear the horn.
He fetches the nurse
To give the child suck,
That he may have time,
Thy wife for to fuck.

(From Robert Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History.)

"Ha," he said, adding, "Ha!"


Saturday, November 06, 2004


Church + State = Danger

By The Erudite Redneck

Woe unto the churches in this country that have forgotten what religious persecution is like.

Baptists, especially, who know their own history should be on the watch for any erosion of the precious wall separating church and state. Sadly, most people calling themselves "Baptists" nowadays know no more about the historical travails of their own faith than any other.

I feel comfortable calling out the Baptists -- the Southern, chicken-fried variety especially -- because I still am one, despite an estrangement of some 20 years.

Ahh, but around here, Southern Baptists are the mainstream. As long as that's the case, they have nothin to worry about. But just as long as.

Those with minority views are the ones who should work fervently to keep that wall up -- because it's meant to protect religion from government as well as government from religion.

In 1553, the city-church of Geneva, under John Calvin's influence, convicted Michel Servetus, a Spaniard, of heresy and sentenced him to death. Servetus considered himself a Christian. Some of his views, regarding infant Baptism, were the root of what are now mainstream Baptist views.

The charge:

"The sentence pronounced against Michel Servet de Villeneufve of the Kingdom of Aragon in Spain who some twenty-three or twenty-four years ago printed a book at Hagenau in Germany against the Holy Trinity containing many blasphemies to the scandal of the said churches of Germany, the which book he freely confesses to have printed in the teeth of the remonstrances made to him by the learned and evangelical doctors of Germany. In consequence, he became a fugitive from Germany. Nevertheless he continued in his errors and, in order the more to spread the venom of his heresy, he printed secretly a book in Vienne of Dauphiny full of the said heresies and horrible, execrable blasphemies against the Holy Trinity, against the Son of God, against the baptism of infants and the foundations of the Christian religion. He confesses that in this book he called believers in the Trinity Trinitarians and atheists. He calls this Trinity a diabolical monster with three heads. He blasphemes detestably against the Son of God, saying that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God from eternity. He calls infant baptism an invention of the devil and sorcery. His execrable blasphemies are scandalous against the majesty of God, the Son of God and the Holy spirit. This entails the murder and ruin of many souls. Moreoever he wrote a letter to one of our ministers in which, along with other numerous blasphemies, he declared our holy evangelical religion to be without faith and without God and that in place of God we have a three-headed Cerberus."

The judgment:

"For these and other ressons, desiring to purge the Church of God of such infection and cut off the rotten member, having taken counsel with out citizens and having invoked the name of God to give just judgment ... having God and the Holy scriptures before our eyes, speaking in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we now in writing give final sentence and condemn you, Michel Servetus, to be bound and taken to Champel and there attached to a stake and burned with your book to ashes. And so shall finish your days and given an example to others who would condemn the like."

Question -- nay, DEFY -- any attempt to merge government and religion in this country!

I don't know that I personally buy into their entire program, but Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has a Web site that explores the issues:


Friday, November 05, 2004


Os Confederados*

By The Erudite Redneck

Confederate exiles who fled to Brazil after the American Civil War arrived at a time in Brazil’s political, economic, religious and educational development that mirrored fundamental mores of the Confederacy.

The Confederates’ nominal democracy meshed with the Brazilians’ liberal monarchy and nascent republic.

The Brazilians sought advanced agricultural technology to enhance their position in world trade; the Confederates brought it.

Brazilians were loosening traditional ties with the Catholic Church; ex-Confederate Protestants stepped in with evangelization.

Brazilians sought to improve education; the ex-Confederate Protestants and American-based missionaries answered by starting church schools.

The main exception to such commonalities was associated with race; for Brazilians it was a small factor in determining class status; for the ex-Confederates, it was the deciding factor.

Ex-Confederate ethos persisted for more than a century, with use of Southern-tinged English as the primary language and other overt expressions of culture common among descendants until very recent years.

Today, the ex-Confederates’ history has caught up with them, making them misfits to a degree. They struggle to distance themselves from their forefathers’ racial excesses, defending the same things that many American descendants of Confederates strain to preserve: symbols, such as the Confederate flag, considered racist by outsiders but as symbols of history to descendants.
*"Os Confederados" -- "The Confederates" in Portuguese.
(Abstract for a longer paper written summer 2002.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


County Barn Republicans?

By The Erudite Redneck

What if the tiny remnant of conservative Democrats, the last few yellow dogs, just went ahead and jined up with the Repubs? What would the Repubs do with a fresh batch of Dem turncoats?

Here’s a clue:

Look how the Repubs, who claim to have a big tent, treat their Log Cabin Republicans, the gay bunch of libertarian-leaning fiscal conservatives. Big tent, my bloodshot eye. They treat the Log Cabiners like doodoo.

Would-be Democrat defectors, better act now before the fools in charge of the party put Michael Moore hisself on the ticket.

That would make Hillary look moderate, come to think of it. Maybe they OUGHT to run Moore in the primary for ’08.

Naaaah, runnin’ the Rev. Al and “Peace Department” Kucinich and other freaks did nothing to hide the fact that Kerry was the kind of Yankee lib who simply does not sell anywhere off the coasts.

Sigh. Yellow dogs, sic ’em!

Call Dem defectors to the GOP “County Barn Republicans.”

“County Barn”* because, out in the country, where most of the few yellow dogs live, that’s where they hand out cheese and other commodities.

The gubment will always offer a hand up AND a hand out when needed, if the County Barn Republicans have anything to say about it.

But they wouldn’t, which is the point, and the problem with the Republican Party:

The borg that is the GOP would suck the soul out of the intrepid newcomers and marginalize the County Barn Republicans like they already mistreat the Log Cabin folks.
*To any urban lurkers: Counties are divided into precincts. Around here, each precinct has a barn where road paving equipment is stored, and the county commissioner has some sort of miminal office. It also can be a place for po folks to get their gubment cheese.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Vote! Or not.

By The Erudite Redneck

Vote today! Or not. Whatever suits your fancy. Freedom means being free to say your piece, or to keep quiet.

It's OK to be ambivalent, confused or torn. I have been torn over the presidential election, at gut level, for months. Neither candidate deserves to be elected.

What I really want is for the White House to go one way and the Senate to go another. It's always dangerous to have both houses of Congress and the White House in the hands of the same party -- whichever party.

And party's matter, a lot, despite some people's arguments to the contrary. If you're not sure of your candidate, but you are pretty sure of your party in general, then vote for your party.

If you simply do not know what to do in a certain race, then do us all a favor and do nothing: Don't vote in that race.

Want to make a protest vote but have no desire to jeopardize a legitimate candidate? Call friends and kin in other states and see if they will trade votes with you!

A friend in Colorado, where the race is tight, has two friends who want to vote for a third-party candidate as a protest, but don't want to see the president lose Colorado, which seems a real possibility. My friend is trying to find a couple of people in Texas, where the president will win hands-down, who will vote for the third-party candidate to register those two votes, allowing the people in Colorado to throw their actual support behind the president.

And, feel free to pick and choose. I plan to leave one of the nine state questions on the ballot unchecked. I am ambivalent. So I'm not voting on that question.

To pretend to know how to vote, by voting blindly or flipping a coin, would be intellectually dishonest.

So, vote! Or not.

Personal aside: I saw in the news where both Osama Bin Laden and some official in the Chinese government let it be known the past few days that they didn't want to see Bush re-elected. If something tips the balance to the president today, that'll be it. Do foreign powers not realize the quickest way to get this country to go against them is to tell Americans where to head in at?*
*"Where to head in at" -- colloquial for, "what to do" or "where to go" or "how to think." Cowboys, when penning cattle, "show" them "where to head in at," as in what gate to go through. In other words, to try to boss somebody.


Monday, November 01, 2004


50 Election Days

I'd planned to write my own essay on the need for the Electoral College, but have run out of energy on the subject. Let's just vote and get it behind us!

Go here to read a good essay on why election by the Electoral College, not by popular vote, is the best for the republic:

John Samples, director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute, wrote it in November, 2000. It deserves to be dusted off on the eve of Election Day 2004.

Or click on "50 Election Days" above.

And, for an explanation of the Founding Fathers' reasons for creating the Electoral College in the first place, and how it works, go here:


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