Southerners are, arguably, the most creative of all peoples on the North American continent. We have a love for history and tradition which carries down through the ages like the blood which passes through our veins. It permeates and pulsates in the world around us, yet it is hard for one to put it to words when attempting. It has produced the wondrous and often weird works of Edgar Allen Poe and Flannery O’Connor, the high-minded, civilised solemnities of Augusta Evans Wilson, and the ponderous, poetic passages of Father Abram Ryan and James Ryder Randall. Even the pulp hero Conan the Barbarian finds his roots in the Texan Robert E. Howard.
Lately, however, the world seems to be lacking in Southern content when its need is most pressing. Every day we are inundated with cheap and glitzy Hollywood horrors – a cgi sheen disguising some monstrous and amoral message. Popular literature is largely a wasteland (with the exception of the good folks over at Shotwell Publishing), and it makes one wonder how the tastes of the public could have plummeted so dramatically in the past few decades. Where are the Southern artists and creators? It is they, not any political party, who will first shape the minds and souls of the new generations of the South. It is they who will be carried on in the minds of the people long after that same mind ceases to consider the political polemics in which we necessarily engage.
There are some, like Lewis Liberman at the Abbeville Blog, who recognise the problem and warn accordingly:
To be fair, modern Southerners have certainly made solid attempts to tell great stories about our heroes and history, whether through movies like Copperhead or Gods and Generals. But how such movies resonated with younger and more impressionable audiences might be debatable. Especially when compared with revisionist historical hits like 2012’s Django Unchained, which grossed over $425 million worldwide and featured the story of a man as he violently murdered his way across a predictably “evil” South. Meanwhile, Spielberg’s highly acclaimed Lincoln was much praised for it’s depiction of a “saintly” Abraham Lincoln reigning over nearly a million men, women and children dead – and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards. And while the 2012 flick Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter may not have been well-funded or carefully crafted propaganda of the prior two movies, it still grossed around $115 million domestically and worldwide, and was probably best known for a portrayal of Lincoln once again saving the blessed Union…except this time from a monstrous and blood-thirsty South.
And we wonder why some people are tearing down our veterans monuments, and ironically censoring the beautiful art it represents.
It seems we’ve ceded the favourable ground to the enemy and devoted much of our Southern content to cultivating questionable mudflaps. We need heroes and examples. We need stories.
One recent and ongoing attempt is from the creator ElectricDinosaur. This particular creator has made a Southern superhero, Rebel Yell, complete with a Confederate-flag costume. It’s a comic book aimed at Southerners. The creator attempted to get the project funded through the Kickstarter crowdfunding site, but was met with only ill-will. He relates an email he received from the Kickstarter “Integrity” Team banning his work:
The fact that they deride ElectricDinosaur for “fail[ing] to meet Kickstarter’s spirit of inclusivity” while banning him for merely showing a flag is both laughable and worrying. You can support ElectricDinosaur’s attempts to get the first issue printed by buying a copy at Freestartr.
There are creators out there. They just need our support. As Liberman concludes:
Hollywood and other leftists have the aesthetic, but their content is usually garbage. Anyone seeking to communicate truth to a large audience needs to have both. And there really is no excuse, because we have the truth – as well as a LOT of talented people in our community. Southern musicians, artists, graphic designers, videographers, photographers, sculptors, game developers, poets, entrepreneurs and more are all more than likely ready and able to help out in trying to find ways to strategize and effectively get what’s true and valuable into our communities, and maybe even the world. So let’s network, roll up our sleeves and get to work!