Victor Davis Hanson has discovered something interesting about Popular Culture and the Confederacy. While images of Confederates in bronze and marble are threats to democracy and racial harmony, people who wore the gray during the Civil War are often the heroes in old movies. Indeed, a lot of popular music over the years have celebrated the Lost Cause. Hanson refers to this phenomenon as “Confederate Chic” purveyed by mainly left-wing creators of popular culture.

The Confederate as western hero

Looking back at western movies, it is somewhat surprising how many heroes are former soldiers for the south.

Shane, from the movie by the same name, John Wayne’s character from “The Searchers,” and the title character from Clint Eastwood’s classic “The Outlaw Josey Wales” were all former Confederate soldiers. Their rebel past is seen as glamorous, sort of like sixties radicals only with six shooters. What they were rebelling for (slavery, racism, and so on) are not mentioned.

Of course, the classic pro-Confederate movie, “Gone with the Wind,” which paints an idealized vision of the antebellum South as a land of cavaliers and ladies, is one of the most popular films of all time. Even Civil War films that take the Point Of View of the Union, such as John Ford’s “The Horse Soldiers” present the enemy as noble, worthy opponents, misguided no doubt, but not very evil for supporting a system of slavery.

Ballads that celebrate the Lost Cause

One of the enduring myths that many southerners like to tell about their ancestors is that of the “Lost Cause,” recasting the Civil War as a noble but doomed effort to establish southern freedom against a capricious Yankee government. Joan Baez, a reliable left-wing civil rights activist and anti-Vietnam War protestor had a hit song called “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” which mourned the passage of the Confederacy from the point of view of one of its soldiers.

Southern pop music created by such bands as the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Charlie Daniels often released songs with Confederate themes.

What are we to make of all of this?

The modern vandals who have been enthusiastic about wiping away the memory of the Confederacy in the form of statues and names of public schools are just getting started in popular culture.

Screenings of “Gone with the Wind” have been canceled in various locales for the crime of being “insensitive.” The old TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” has been banned from nostalgia networks because the sports car that the two young hellions drive at high-speed displays the Confederate battle flag and is called “the General Lee.”

Joan Baez is semiretired, having last been seen giving a concert for some people in the Occupy Wall Street movement. No doubt any time now the Antifa and the BLM people are going to call her to account for her 1971 pro-Confederate hit. Not that one wants to give out ideas, but the scouring of the popular culture of rebel themes has barely begun.

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