Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Worst Porn Star Ever, The War of Northern Aggression, and Early History

I’m from the sparsely populated and undereducated part of Sowega known as Early County which had the misfortune of being named after the worse porn star ever, Peter Early, or at least that is how we told the story when we were back in High School. Blakely, the county seat of Early County was named after a captain in the War of 1812 who managed to lose his ship, The Wasp, the same name given to a carrier we lost early in World War Two. Peter Early also helped raise money for that same war. But back in High School, all we really knew is that we had a county named after the worst porn star ever.
            Peter Early had a cousin named Jubal Early who was the great grandfather of another Jubal Early who was a man committed to the Confederacy and fled the country when the War Of Northern Aggression went against The Cause. Jubal Early might have been lost to history altogether except that Nathan Fillion of “Firefly” fame claimed kinship to the man and Joss Wheaten created a character with the same name in an episode.
            The real Jubal Early was a lot like the character that Nathan Fillion, who is the son of two English teachers, in that he waged a lost war against a stronger army, and then fled into the fringes. The odd thing is like many Southerners at the time; Jubal Early opposed succession, but could not age a war against The South. He felt forced to choose sides in a war he didn’t not think could be won, in a Cause that was already lost, but he waged a war that was relenting and never quite repented.
            There are many people in The South who see War Of Northern Aggression as some sort of States Right Conflict, and in some ways there were issues that did fuel the conflict in that way, but no one who knows history at all thinks the war was about anything much more than slavery. Without the issue of slavery the war would have never been fought. Secession was about slavery, and no other issue would have pushed The South in that direction that hard. Men like Jubal Early, who opposed Secession could not, or would not, fight against The South. This does not make the war they waged any more moral, but Southern victory would have perpetuated slavery. Yet, this also does not make the war against the South legal. Without constitutional precedence and without Congressional authority did Lincoln go to war against The South. But much like Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, there are times in history a president must act without regard to what is legal, and should act in regard towards what is right or in Lincoln’s case, what is moral.
            But much like our Brethren one hundred plus years in the past, we Early County High School conscripts believed the war to be about the Federal government’s need to control the lives of citizens rather than allow them predestination, a curious belief held by the same people who once owned slaves. You see the contradiction, don’t you? We did not and neither did those who did the bulk of the fighting, who were very poor white men who were much like slaves themselves when dealing with the rich men who owned all the land, all the money, all the slaves, and somehow conned a populace into believing fighting to keep the rich even more rich, the poor even more poor, and slaves as slaves, was a national identity.
            It isn’t very hard to create in poor people a sense that there is some force, some entity, far away and malevolent, that causes them to be poor. Equally, it is easy to create in such people the fear and resentment, of a lesser underclass, which is their direct rival for resources. History is replete with this theme, and it is always to see such in another time, in another place, in another people, than it is to see it in ourselves. So we did not.
            Yet history is what it is, and anyone who reads constantly as I did when I was in High School, will eventually run into opposing points of view, and eventually, if you are an honest reader, you must admit that your view of history, fueled only by the opinions of those around you and not based on historical fact at all, and defense of that opinion lacks an ethical base.
            But Peter Early was the worst porn star, ever.

           
            History is very strange. The Wasp, which was captained by Peter Early was sank by the British in 1812, Early’s kinsman, Jubal Early would rebel against the United States, and lose, but the name The Wasp was to be used by the United States navy again in World War Two, and again the ship was sunk, and the captain of The Wasp at that time was a Captain Sherman. I can’t find any link between that Sherman and the one who burned his way through Georgia, but I’ll keep looking.
            I go back to Early County once a year for Christmas and it hasn’t changed a great deal and I suspect it never will, unless a rock lands on it. It is a land of hard working people for there has never been a way to make a living in Early County except to work hard. The national Salmonella Outbreak began there a couple of years ago, and that’s a hell of a way to get on the map. The same people I once went to High School with have become a part of my history, much like Peter Early who we made fun of while smoking pot and drinking. Last night while watching an episode of Firefly I wondered where the name came from, if Jubal Early was famous, and here we are, after I went looking for a name, and finding out what I have.

            I still think if I ever write a story about the worst porn star ever, his name will be Peter Early.

Take Care,
Mike

4 comments:

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  3. Funny writing. Loved the story about the wasp!

    But let me clear up one or six things you have wrong, since everyone wants to know where they are mistaken.

    First, you have the great insight to say " if you are an honest reader, you must admit that your view of history" lacks an ethical base, whatever that means.

    But then you say things like Lincoln went to war illegally.

    That's only if you don't know the embarrassing history of the South. And since they didn't even teach us to us kids at Catholic High schools in the North, I know they didn't teach it to you down there.

    Did you know that for 40 years, the South had violently suppressed free speech, even of WHITES in the South? Did you know that preachers could be, and were, arrested and subject to TORTURE for simply owning the wrong book?

    DId you know there was a systematic and violent government control in the South of what you could read, write, what books you could own?

    See the book "The Other South" to find out these astonishing things.

    The South didn't suppress free speech because they were whacked out nuts -- they suppressed it because slavery could not continue where people debated it, where books and pamphlets against it were legal. Slavery or free speech had to go.

    Guess which one went?

    This was no simple thing. Ships were regularly searched for "contraband" -- meaning any books or pamphlets against slavery. The mail was searched, and just to be accused of owning the wrong book was a scary thing. Before 1820 there were over 130 anti -slavery spokesman and writers and editors in the South, such as Cassius Clay and Hiton Helper.

    Southern books spoke of this suppression of speech with frankness after the war, saying clearly that is why they suppressed free speech.

    You have also not been taught, that no real elections were allowed in the South, from 1820s on. To have real elections, you need free speech. YOu need to be able to speak out. That wasn't the case -- the south essentially had Saddam Hussen type elections.

    But lastly, did you know that the Southern leaders issued Five Ultimatums to the North, in March of 1861? This was AFTER the first SOuthern states seceded.

    The Ultimatums were all about the forced SPREAD of slavery. Five Ultimatums, by Southern leaders, heralded in Southern newspapers as "THE TRUE ISSUE". All five Ultimatums -- all five -- were about the spread of slavery.

    Essentially they said - spread slavery, or face war. Toombs screamed to a cheering crowd "EXPAND OR PERISH". He meant expand SLAVERY.

    Keep in mind, the Confederacy was a separate country, in their mind. Their first act was to demand a different country spread slavery -- by violence. Kansas had just voted 98% to 2% to keep slavery out forever. Yet the First Ultimatum by the South, was that slavery MUST be "accepted and respected" in the territories.

    How's that for states rights? In fact, its a direct suppression of states rights. And it's an amazing amount of chutzpuh.

    Tell you what. What if some other Country - say Cuba, give us Five Ultimatums to spread slavery. And then, when we do not spread slavery, they attack. They hang voters. They attack 12, not just one, fort. They threaten our capital.

    What do we have to do? Nothing?

    Lincoln only fought back after the above all happened. If anything Lincoln waited too long. Llincoln had every right and duty to fight back. Of course he could not obey Southern Ultimatums.

    So go back to Early High school, ask them why they didn't teach you much about what really went on. I will ask CBHS.

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  4. I knew most of this, and that which I did not know directly, it would be easy to ken. Any country, or region, where there is a rich upper class controlling the wealth and a vast undereducated poor underclass, there will be oppression, and it has nothing at all to do with race.

    I'll have to look some of this up, however.

    I will not return to Early County to ask why they did not teach me. That is my job, and always has been, to teach myself. I thank you for showing me doors I have yet to open.

    Take Care,
    Mike

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