My favorite music reviewer/columnist Andy Whitman writes about other things too, with just as much passion and insight.
Today, at Good Letters, he offers a thoughtful perspective on recent media references to the Civil War and the people of the South:
I know, I know. It’s not the individuals who were necessarily evil. It’s the government with which they just happened to be affiliated by the accidents of geography and time. It’s political ideology. It’s selfishness and greed. It’s the ever-present tendency to exploit others. And while all of those statements are true, I still balk at the epithets being thrown around by the so-called experts. Somebody needs to remember those damn rats.
Painting the Confederacy as unmitigated villains ignores both the complexity and the simplicity of history. It ignores the complexity because the causes for war, and the reasons for individuals serving in a cause, even an evil cause, are never as straightforward as the historians would have us believe.