Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Confederate values – Is that really what we’re fighting over these days?

The choice of entertainment for the Illinois State and DuQuoin State fairs is, strictly speaking, not a Chicago-area issue. Although I have no doubt that people exist who are going to somehow claim this is evidence of Chicago or urban values predominating over the way rural people want to live.
Cancelled in DuQuoin

Which is to say that a whole lot of nonsense is being spewed over the acts that have been hired, or not hired, to perform at the events taking place during August.

THE DUQUOIN FAIR in Southern Illinois is an alternative event to the Illinois State Fair that usually takes on a more rural character. More southern than the rest of Illinois. For those people who think of the Land of Lincoln as neighboring up against Kentucky, rather than Iowa or Wisconsin

Among the acts that had been scheduled to appear there was a band billing itself as Confederate Railroad. But it seems state government officials cancelled their contract with the band because there are those who take offense to someone using the symbolism of the old Confederate States of America.

Personally, I’ve never really heard the band. I had to use the Internet to do a search to find out anything about them, and from the snippets I heard, I don’t think there’s much of a loss.

But there are people who are prepared to think of this as some sort of snub to their idea of what a “real America” ought to be about.

PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY learned about the entertainment scheduled for the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Where is seems that the rapper Snoop Dogg is scheduled to perform.

The same people who are prepared to think that Confederate Railroad is somehow worthy of our attention are offended – probably by the presence of any act that isn’t geared to a white, rural sensibility.

But Snoop Dogg particularly offends them because one of his many album covers includes the 2017 record “Make America Crip Again.”
Double-standard? Or over-reaction?

Which depicts the artist in a totally gangsta pose of standing over a flag-covered corpse, whose toe tag indicates it’s the body of none other than President Donald Trump.

ADMITTEDLY, THAT’S A tacky image to use. But it seems state officials have no problem with it, or with Snoop Dogg. As opposed to Confederate Railroad – whose own appearance in DuQuoin is no more for this year.

State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, is trying to make an issue of this, and claims there will be a significant boycott of the DuQuoin Fair – which potentially is a blow to the Southern Illinois economy that considers the fair one of its most significant events each year.

She’s gone so far as to use a lengthy Facebook post to denounce state officials, particularly Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whom she says is “hypocritical” and “will own the resulting economic damage.”

With Pritzker aides telling the Capitol Fax newsletter that Bryant is distorting many facts, and also tossed out threats implying that Pritzker’s personal safety would be placed at risk because of all of this.

WITH BRYANT SUPPOSEDLY telling the governor “I love my people, but they’re crazy.” Crazy enough to do bodily harm to our state’s chief executive? That’s more of an indictment against them than their willingness to get all worked up over the music of Confederate Railroad.

Personally, it makes me think the Taste of Chicago is a much more sane event than either of the state fairs – even though I’ve never thought of any of these events as THE place to go for top-line entertainment.
The most rational event of all -- regardless of the oversized turkey legs
I’m inclined to think the state fair in Springfield is particularly weak in that it usually features musical acts whose artistic peak occurred some two decades ago. In that regard, the idea that Snoop Dogg is reduced to playing in Springfield somehow seems fitting.

While I find it ironic any band would take the “Confederate Railroad” imagery for their own identity – since anyone who really knows their history would understand that one of the Southern states’ biggest weaknesses in trying to become an independent nation was their system of trains to ship people and goods from place to place. It stunk!


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