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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Netherworld of Breitbart Bannon, Fox News and Rick and Bubba

     Kudos to Hillary Clinton for spotlighting the netherworld of Trump yesterday spotlighting the poison of Breitbart and Bannon and Fox News. UVA Proff Messer in her New book Messengers of the Right should clarify many things. She did a great job addressing some disturbing nuances this morning on NPR Morn Edition

    http://www.npr.org/2016/08/26/491452721/the-history-of-the-alt-right

   Trouble is here in Bama and with Tony Beam in Upstate SC So called Christian radio muddles the issue and gives us the likes of Trey Gowdy in the SC 4th District and Gary Palmer in Hoover Bama. The fundamentalist takeover of the SBC set a lot of this mess up as I suggest in previous blog on White Trash with the litany of Pressler associates.

   Maybe that was in True and Only Heaven Blog.

    I read closer last night Nancy Isenberg's concluding chapter in White Trash. She is stellar there explaining the realities of the Breitbart Bannon cabal and how they play working class, blue collar white American and poorer resentments to their benefit.

       Read that chapter, listen closely to Dr. Messer above. Read her book and if you are a literate Christian with a functioning tenth grade education, search your soul as you prepare to close the curtain and cast a ballot first Tuesday in November.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Offscouring: Billy Redden, Peggy Noonan, Nancy Reagan and White Trash

    The last few days on the recommendation of theatlantic.com --check the end of this blog later for link to their review-- I have been reading haphazardly large chunks of the new book White Trash. What follows is a rough free association review.

    Author Nancy Isenberg teaches at LSU and UVA.

     First I think less of Peggy Noonan and Nancy Reagan than I did previously and neither held either one of them in high esteem. Nancy was one of the most shallow pretentious first ladies we've had. Even Betty Ford after Rehab had more virtue than Nancy Reagan. Her Calling the White House a "pigsty" after the Carter administration is beneath contempt. Its Trash like Nancy and the politics of resentment and wedge issues at the expense of noble vision for the working class and working poor of all ethnicities that is the underbelly of American politics that wreaked havoc on the Southern Baptist Convention. Nancy's enchantment with Frank Sinatra, lowlife with a voice, her astrological ways; well own it Trey Gowdy in Sunday School at FBC Spartanburg.

      White Trash covers literature, the Civil War, and words and phrases like white niggers, trailer trash, lintheads, mudsills, briar hoppers, clay eaters,bogtrotters, scalawags, lubbbers, tackies, squatters, swamp people degenerates and many others to denigrate the white poor in American history. Covers white poor in popular culture, movies, books, Elvis Pressley etc. In concludes with a look at the movie Deliverance and what happened to the banjo player in Deliverance, Billy Redden. It has a focus on Dorothy Allison's Bastard out of Carolina set in Greenville SC and a Chute's novel The Beans of Egypt Maine, rough title.

     Let me focus on a few things. Class struggle in America has been the devil's playground in American politics, one of the strong points in the book. In my world my hero Marshall Frady said for all the flaws of the Southern Baptist Convention, its better lights in the 1960s with folks like Foy Valentine, LD Johnson, Marney, Will Campbell and others held a vision for working class whites even lesser marginal to better integrate them into the struggle for a more perfect union. But with the abortion of that leadership with Paul Pressler's right wing politics of resentment, grafted onto the designs and strategies of Lee Atwater, while Billy Graham and now moreso his son Franklin dumbstruck; well we have the charlatan Trey Gowdy and the tea party antics that have us in this brownshirt moment of Bannon and Breitbart's Trump America.

    We have the Ratfucking of America as Daley lays out in his book on gerrymandering. Google the Betrayal of Democracy Review at nybooks.com

    I'm looking forward to see how Joseph Morgan and his Dad "Brother" john navigate that political issue that really matters in the Southern Torch between now and election day.

   For that see my Dad's friend Colin Harris today at ethicsdaily.com

   White Trash has segments on President Carter and his Brother Billy and Roy Blount's book Crackers; makes reference to the Esquire Larry King piece of 1976 "We Aint Trash No More" I remember reading in the Gaffney SC library that year.

       These bromides could go on for some time.

       Couple resolutions. Isenberg  doesn't do Faulkner justice. Faulkner was more than the corn cob rape of Temple Drake. He was also the Old Testament wisdom writer of our "gross and simple human hearts."

   And Isenberg doesn't include Robert Penn Warren's  story of Jedediah Tewksbury in her literary review.  In a Place to Come To The Latin Scholar of the 40s who goes to Vanderbilt and University of Chicago where he entertains his new elite friends with the story of how his big peckered drunken Father in Dugton, Alabama is killed when he pisses on the asses of his horses, the carriage rears up and the Daddy killed in the middle of town.

    After several tellings, his last time a cynical and hardened class challenged Jed tells his shallow friends: Why don't one of you goddamned fuckers tell us a story about your Daddy!

      Southern Literature has had a rough couple years with White Trash on the heels of Paul Theroux's chapter on it's "fantastification."

      But Lee Smith rounds off many of the edges, shows more virtue in her Dimestore memoir and tribute to Ralph Stanley, in one Chapter than Isenberg in the whole book; while my friend Ron Rash tells more in one sentence from the World Made Straight--"Smarts like yours just didn't spring up like a daisy in bunch of Hogweed"--than White Trash does in several chapters. Nancy Isenberg mentions the columnist Kathleen Parker. She interviewed Rash before the first Obama election. White Trash with all its digging missed that one.

     Interesting  book. I don't have a chip on my shoulder  about the title --though I have episodically over the years ; as Frady said a good many Baptists are a little more status challenged,  less class on the whole than the Methodists and the Uptown Presbyterians.  Offscouring, never saw that word in all my life until it stood out in a second viewing of the Winslet/Winterbottom movie of Thomas Hardy's Jude. Second registry was in this book.  May have that as a reading in my funeral when I go. Lamentations 3:45

      I heard Carlyle Marney speak at Limestone College in Gaffney SC in the spring of 78. He was talking about integrity. He told a group of preachers they knew where it was, in the faces of the devout that set in front of them every Sunday in their congregations. I understood what he was talking about.

    White Trash missed the point. Bible Says we are all The Lowlife yearning for the Grace of God.

  Atlantic review

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/09/the-original-underclass/492731/

Update, Friday August 26. I read the concluding chapter of White Trash last night. Isenberg does outstanding job there of how politicians have played this group historically to the detriment of a more perfect union. I just wish she had done a couple pages on Atwater's memo to the Reagan Bush Committee where he called the "white Populists" the trump card in the game of politics in the South, and his earlier "nigger memo" Wuthnow explores in Rough Country.

  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The True and Only Heaven; SBC Nativists, Oil and President Carter

       Sunday Ga NPR Two Way Street with Bill Nigut had a fascinating conversation with a Princeton Proff about her new book on the politics of the gas pump during the Carter administration.


    In 1993 in Birmingham at a Cooperative Baptist function in a press pool I asked President Carter about Tom Edsall's aside in his 84 New Politics of Inequality how the independent oilmen of Texas, OK, and La rallied to give him political hell in the 78 midterms. Edsall said it was the strategic financing of these groups going back to Joe McCarthy that kept the right wing in play in national politics.


    The fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention that coincided with President Carter's ascendancy and helped lead to his defeat in 1980 was spearheaded by a son of a Vice President of Exxon Oil whose families rightwing politics ran deep. Paul Pressler was Bush 41 nominee to head the US Office of Govt Ethics in 1990 or so. Pressler was surrounded by right wing activists in the takeover the likes of Bircher Albert Lee Smith, Jesse Helms the Baptist racist Senator of NC, and Adrian Rogers's Memphis church person of influence Ed McAteer; not to mention the cabal that marinated FBC Dallas WA Criswell whose current pastor Jeffress is supporting Donald Trump.


     President Carter on that day in 93 said he would have to think about all that.


     Wuthnow's book Rough Country, is good parallel piece to Nigut's interview Sunday. How Lee Atwater perfected these right wing resentments of race and abortion and class struggle to benefit the interests of Pressler and his right wingers.


    Ironically the nativism of Pressler and fundy appeal is the downside of President Carter's ideologue almost in residence during his Presidency, Christopher Lasch.


      http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/27/books/where-has-progress-got-us.html?pagewanted=all


    I remember having a discussion of this in passing several years ago with David Shi, former Furman President and chair of Davidson History Department. Shi graduated from HS in the Atlanta vicinity in 69--he did see Janis Joplin at the rock concert south of Atlanta July 5 that year--and considers Lasch a key influence on his intellectual and academic journey. The Shi Sustainability Project at Furman apparently has origins in Lasch and the better though misunderstood visions of President Carter.


      A small suggestion. Would be great for Nigut and Two Way Street to come back to this conversation with Shi and fellow contemporary Atlanta native Doug Cumming, son of 60s Newsweek Bureau chief Joe Cumming.


    They can enlarge the frame of the legacy of Jimmy Carter, and the politics of the time and as add on discuss the legacy of Marshall Frady. Both of them great fans of Frady. Maybe they could channel what Furman grad and the greatest social justice journalist of the last half of the 20th Century would have to say about all this.


    Now that would be a great conversation for sure.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The political implications of the Baptist difference between Gowdy and LD Johnson

            This morning I had a 25 minute conversation with Nick of Pacolet South Carolina, homeschooled, now on  DC staff for Trey Gowdy, the Fox News Darling and tormentor of Hillary Clinton. Like myself Nick is a minister's son, his father from a  nondenominational in Pacolet. I shared with Nick my roots in the Bethany Baptist Church in Gaffney SC 62-78 and the role John Hamrick had in the origins of the church as a mission of FBC Gaffney.

   Hamrick was good friend of Roger Milliken Sr. and as textile magnate himself and former president of the American Textile Manufacturer's Inst had a private audience with President Ford in 74.

    I told Nick I think the number one topic for Gowdy as a fellow church member with Billy Graham at FBC Spartanburg should be the nybooks.com review The Betrayal of Democracy about the Daley book Rat Bleeping (Fbomb).

     When it comes to the Soul of America Ben Ghazi   pales in comparison in my political calculus, is even a distraction from the betrayal of democracy explained in the Daley book.  I am convinced the likes of Furman great moral compass LD Johnson understood that and that is how I tried to frame my impassioned part of the conversation with Nick this morning.

   FTR I followed with a conversation with "Kate" of SC Senator Tim Scott's DC office. Kate is a native of Summerville and a Clemson grad. I forgot to ask her if she'd been to the Blue Heron. I did ask her how well she was acquainted with David Wilkins. She knew him to be recent but no longer chair of Clemson trustees.

   Nick wanted me to see Gowdy's recent speech to Liberty University. Gowdy was introduced there by Mike Hamlet whose Baptist politics were huge part of the break of  LD Johnson and Furman from  SC Baptists. The Takeover of the SBC was chocked full of Birchers and White Citizen Council members; not a pretty site Jesse Helms to Paul Pressler which Hamlet and FBC Spartanburg's hero WA Criswell recently was unveiled was part of a whitewash of history by the Trump backer and current pastor Jeffress.

   http://www.liberty.edu/news/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=151467

    Follow me here. Last week Isabel Wilkerson and Dr. Dew were on NPR drshow.org and called for a Truth and Reconciliation committee to discuss this moment of Black Lives Matter and other justice issues that have flared up. President Carter is holding a conference in  Atlanta this fall that has the ear of the likes of Fernwood Baptist pastor Bailey Edwards Nelson and Ga Gov Lester Mattox nephew Baxter Wynn of FBC Greenville SC.

   Among the presenters in Atlanta will be Louisville Pastor Cosby, a eulogizer of Muhammad Ali. Cosby and Senator Scott I would think have a lot to talk about with Bakari Sellers and others..

   President Carter's Sept 14 New Baptist Covenant Atlanta Summit will hold a workshop on Prophetic Witness in the Political Sphere. I would love to be on the front row for that discussion.

    http://newbaptistcovenant.org/workshops-nbc-summit-2016/

     The implementation of the Gospel in the public square, the distinction between that of Gowdy of FBC Spartanburg on one hand, and the legacy of LD Johnson and and Baxter Wynn on the other framed in the sins of Lee Atwater and SC Gov Carroll Campbell as framed in Daley's RatBleeped book present a great chasm it appears to me Gowdy and many of his enablers at FBC Sburg have no interest in closing when push comes to shove.

     Nick also wanted me to read a piece from the Columbia State about Senator Scott and Gowdy and recent gathering they had with Columbia clergy of color and the police force there. That is honorable but shallow if it is an attempt to whitewash the legacy of gerrymandering and race politics of Atwater and Campbell. Gowdy the expert on Ben Ghazi who traffics in the politics of Liberty U and the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention should have no problem addressing the Atwater Memo in Wuthnow's Rough Country and the evolution of the race card into the religion card.

    Pardon my rambling.

     Dartmouth's Randall Balmer is quite articulate about the world of Trey Gowdy and Billy Graham, Graham a man Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler has embraced for his behind the scenes role in the SBC Takeover.

      So, The Betrayal of Democracy and the Rise of the Tea Party and the emergence of Trey Gowdy as a darling of Fox News and Liberty University.

    I'm hoping FBC Greenville, Furman University and the likes of Baxter Wynn, David Wilkins and Clemson will pursue this matter for the soul of the Upstate and to honor LD Johnson and Marshall Frady.

   PS. Joe Crespino, the author of Strom Thurmond's America make a presentation at Upcountry History Museum in Greenville in September. I hope Baxter Wynn, Kate and Nick or some person who has the ear of Scott and Gowdy are on the front row.

   PS 2 By circumstance after my phone call this morning I had brief exchange between the Collinsville PO and City Hall with the Mayor Johnny Traffanstedt. I attempted to convey to him the implications of my conversations this morning for Momma's hometown that has been sliced and diced by Mike Hubbard's and Joseph Morgan's and Phil Williams  bleaching strategies into 5 legislative districts. Maybe more on that later.

     See Link to the Betrayal Review embedded in Lincoln Republican blog of previous date.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Lincoln Republicans and the Dekalb County Alabama School Board race.

      As I've said many times here on my blog my Grandfather James Columbus Jordan ran as a Lincoln Republican for superintendent of DeKalb County, Alabama Schools in the second decade of the 20th Century. He was born in 1881 and his father James Sanders Jordan buried in Rocky Mt Cemetery was born in 1841 and fought with the Union.

    Now a hundred years later another good Republican Jason Barnett is using his doctorate in education from U Bama to run for school supe in same county as a Republican. Jason is a good man, for several years has been assistant principal at my mother's alma mater, Collinsville High School in one of the most ethnically diverse towns in the state. He has said he takes seriously the notion an undocumented student who graduates from HS and has been of good character and scholastic discipline for six years in United states is worthy of citizenship in this country upon graduation.

   That would put him in a different place from Donald Trump, Mike Hubbard, Rick and Bubba and Trey Gowdy as I understand him, though Barnett may have a friend in Chic Fil A CEO Dan Cathy.

   I'm anxious to find out.

    My Grandfather was soundly defeated because to the good ole boy yellow dog dems of the time Identified him as a friend of the colored people, to put it mildly. We will see how Barnett navigates the diversity of Collinsville as he apparently is in a minority in the GOP with his notions of immigration reform.

    And he has another big hurdle to test his integrity and grit. And that is the notion of Bleaching as implemented by Southern Torch editor Joseph Morgan and others that placed Hugh Taylor and others in office in the 2012 vote. Taylor and other benefitted from the coattails of bleaching which now has Collinsville chopped up into 5 legislative districts. Phil Williams my state senator is part of the problem and John and Gloria Morgan who many people in the town look to as the bellwether of moral politics are out to lunch on the matter.

    I'm looking to see how it plays out in Trey Gowdy's contest in the 4th District of SC. I went to a picnic with his challenger Chris Fedalei couple Saturday's ago visiting the upstate and had some interesting conversations with some Furman students who said they had a chat in DC with Gowdy about gerrymandering. They said Gowdy, the chief tormentor of Hillary Clinton, the man who worships at FBC Spartanburg with Billy Graham, said Republicans don't mess with legislative district lines. Gowdy's prevarication gives him a longer Pinnochio than ever nosed Hillary and the link at the end of this blog says the Fox News Darling is a traitor to democracy. Strong words, but read the New York Review of Books and come to your own conclusion. And by all means go to Barnes and Noble and read the book. Get it for your local library.

    Christians don't bear false witness. Are you really a Christian voter or do you need rededication. I see that hand going up.

      Furman has extended an invitation to Gowdy and Fedalei to sponsor a debate between the two. There at My and Marshall Frady's alma mater, home of the Dick Riley Inst, Riley President Bill Clinton's Sec of Education. So from JoJo Morgan to Dick Riley, From Collinsville to Furman the bacon is in the fryin pan.

    Read the following link closely as your patriotic duty as an informed voter. And God Bless the United States of America.

      http://www.johnathonkelso.com/5usperjj3k7tqbkixlhs4ivtxks5g6

    That s a good fun link most of whom imagine will be Trump voters but not the one I meant to post. 

   Here is the one to read carefully

    American Democracy Betrayed.

   Is Jason Barnett's Doctorate up to making this a part of the conversation in his campaign, even with the likes of Joseph Morgan and Phil Williams and the jockocracy that gathers ever Thursday night at Don Chico's in Collinsville or The Shed, many of them my friends?

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/08/18/american-democracy-betrayed/

   

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Bonhoeffer, Trump, Metaxas and Other takes

   Bonhoeffer's best biographer Charles Marsh's facebook wall is aflame this afternoon re a recent opinion piece on Eric Metaxas as an apologist for Donald Trump, specifically Jews and other folks who take the Holocaust seriously have no reason to fear a Donald presidency.

    Marsh begs to differ, to put it lightly. Marsh's thoughts in A Strange Glory on the politics of stupidity are exhibit A in causes for concern.

    Metaxas has joined the camp of Chuck Colson whose religious political ideology poison the electorate even if unwittingly, as Marshall Frady's concerns about Billy Graham who saw the world "through welkin eyes". IFor the last several years I've had an ongoing conversation with the daughter of Nixon strategist Harry Dent, Ginny Dent Brant about this matter. Ms. Brant has embraced both Colson and Metaxas even with the lessons of Watergate learned as she professes in her book on her Dad's pilgrimage.

     And then there is David Remnick of the New Yorker, acquainted with the SEC's Paul Finebaum who has more sensible take on Trump in his piece on Roger Ailes and the Fox News Nexus with Trump.

    Two pieces of note I'm not sure where to place. One on my acquaintance and classmate in religion of the fall of 1971 Dan Cathy. Chic Fil A CEO now with the passing of his father Truett, CFA is up for scrutiny in a new book by a Mr. Grem on Corporate blessings. See the Donald Young review at religiondispatches.org

     Dan has traffic in the world of Ginny Brant in the SBC and other venues, though on a spectrum I'm convinced Cathy and his Dad have more virtue than Metaxas.

     Cutting to the grain is a piece about the legitimate complaints of "Hillbillies". Not my word but in the title of a new book about Trump's appeal in Appalachia. I now believe Hillary Clinton will be the next president. I am also convinced her Presidency will be gimped if she doesn't take the concerns of the "hillbilly" book to heart as she takes the cause of Black Lives Matter.

    I think that is the guts of where we are in the United States on the eve of our 45th President.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Copacetic and other dramas

  Left Collinsville last Friday July 29 after a little Thursday evening drama I think will pass soon. Collinsville can become petty on occasion but 30 years in a town where my Mother's family goes back to the 1840s and not everybody loves you. As Ive blogged before see the Kell Anthology The Exiled Generations.

   It goes without saying everybody in the burg of 1700 knows Bonhoeffer.

   Should be home for Trade Day in the morning August 6th.

    Just read in the Atlantic Trump's campaign says things are copacetic at the moment, but hinted there may be reason to believe otherwise. Some of you know Flannery OConnors famous line about sin; well Trump is a trick on Crackers.

   Sadly the white working class has many substantive complaints. But the Demagogue Trump and his tea party handlers like Billy Graham's creation Trey Gowdy are not the remedy. Our prayers should be for Hillary because she is gonna be the next President of the United States.

  I was hoping Hillary could put her ideals and vision in the candidacy of somebody like Chet Edwards so the country could move beyond the Clinton baggage. On the other hand this is history making stuff and maybe she is the person to tangle with the legacy of Roger Ailes at Fox News and the sinister politics of the gun lobby. New Yorker pieces by David Remnick, Ailes and Trump Nexus; and Evan Osnos make that clear enough for me.

   I have some baseball and tennis stories for later; and saw the movie Nerve.  On the Friday morning of my Bama exit was in Rome Ga for the grand opening of the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. Find it on facebook. Got my picture taken for the 22 in the facebook rollout. Looking forward to some big names there in the next couple years and there is already talk of SEC tourney coming there.

    I  have a deadline today (first draft)  and must mention Joni Tevis, Furman writer, native of Easley SC. I just read her chapter Warp and Weft on the apocalyptic end of Textile Mills in Upstate SC in her book The World is on Fire. Like me she heard some end time preaching growing up in Upstate SC. I get where she comes from and recommended to some folks in Gaffney just a few minutes ago.

   On Tuesday of my latest foray to the Upstate I went on a little BBQ adventure to find Mike and Jeff's on Buncombe at the recommendation of Greenville News. Strong smoke flavor but I doubt I will be going back as long as Henry's is around; my Upstate mainstay if Bridges in Shelby is not a family logistical option.

   But leaving M and J's on a whim I crossed Old Buncombe on Hammett Street and for about two miles headed toward Poinsett and Furman I was back in time 50 years in the belly of a mill village. Two narrow railroad underpasses and there I was. It's the Greenville the Chamber of Commerce gentrification destination city folks downtown which now has a Brooks Brothers don't talk about much; about halfway on the five miles between Furman and downtown.
  
    So I got set up well for Joni. In between the first writing of this blog and this followup found out her Warp and Weft was online. Hope many of you read.

   https://placesjournal.org/article/warp-and-weft/


    I think Marshall Frady would give her a thumbs up.

    Must mention this for the record. I saw Helen Lee Turner at Furman yesterday. Had a brief chat about Randall Balmer and Billy Graham and Balmer's essay on Billy and the Judgments of History. One of my ongoing obsessions but will have to pick up on that later.