by Andy Nowicki
Unlike some others in my ideological vicinity, I have very little use for the internet practice of "trolling." Aging Gen-X fuddy-duddy fogey that I am, I find the practice of intentionally trying to get under others' skin for kicks to be a generally obnoxious and contemptible pastime.
I say this in full awareness that some online personalities are enormously irritating, just begging to be trolled the same way that certain smug faces simply cry out to be slapped. And to be sure, I have occasionally indulged in some schadenfreude-laden private cackles when a nasty and sanctimonious commentator gets tricked into making an ass of himself thanks to the expert machinations of a properly placed merry prankster. But generally, trolling seems juvenile and cheap, akin to schoolyard taunting, a symptom of small-mindedness and general jerky douchery.
It was with some surprise, therefore, that I found myself perusing the comments section after an article about a massive pro-Confederate flag rally which took place recently in Florida. I don't typically bother to check in on "flame wars," wherein generally illiterate representatives of warring factions lob tired, toothless impotent insults at one another and no one emerges the wiser, but everyone claims to be "LOL-ing all the while, the better to obstreperously signal their utter nonchalance in the face of their foes' hateful vituperation.
Lately, however, I have noticed the anti-Confederate confederates seem to have launched a new sort of rhetorical offensive, presumably in an effort to throw the stubborn neo-pro-Southies off balance. Instead of insisting that rocking the "stars and bars" can only mean defending the practice of Negro chattel slavery, they are now troping on about how the Confederate flag represents "treason and sedition," a brazen rebellion against lawful authority. One commentator I read even went so far as to say, that the flag "represents a middle finger to America." (To which I responded, only semi-trollingly, "And that's a bad thing?")
Why are they using this particular line? Is it an effort to flummox the pro-Confeds by equating them with anti-American leftist radicals, such as those who sold out their country to pimp for the Soviets, the Maoists, or the Vietcong? If so, perhaps drawing such an equivalence is meant to tweak the presumptive (and paradoxical) pro-American stance of many "red state" folk – those who gravitate to Southern culture and heritage even as they thrill to pro-Union jingoistic fare like Lee Greenwood's Proud to Be an American, Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue, and Ray Stevens' Osama, Yo Mama, who deplore the murderous rapine ordered by Lincoln and carried out by the likes of Sherman and Sheridan in the 1860s, even as they reflexively defend the excesses of the modern American military-industrial complex and the murderous rapine it breeds all over the world today.
The "traitor trope," in short, must be part of the concerted campaign currently afoot to shame the South and further the cultural revolution of uprooting the traditional, even to the ghastly extent of ordering the digging up of the bones of those who fought on the "wrong" side of a war that ended before anyone now alive was even born! This charge of "treason" is self-evidently spurious, of course, especially if one believes that the American revolution of 1776 was legitimate. If the first revolution wasn't "treasonous," why would the attempted secession of the Southern states in 1861 be ipso facto evidence of "sedition"?
In short, those who sling the "traitor trope" only want to score troll points, but the case they attempt to make is easily dismissed. What is most interesting to note is the fact that they have employed this trolling strategy in the first place. It is an intriguing matter that invites greater examination.
Andy Nowicki, assistant editor of Alternative Right, is the author of eight books, including Under the Nihil, The Columbine Pilgrim, Considering Suicide, and Beauty and the Least. He occasionally updates his blog when the spirit moves him to do so. Visit his Soundcloud page.