17 January 2020

A Series of Unfortunate Events...for Warren and CNN

Two factors from as far back as November 2016 may shed a little light on the events of the week of 12-18 January 2020:

1. After losing in 2016, Hillary wears purple. Warren emulates her immediately.

2. Beginning in late summer/early fall of her 2020 campaign, Warren starts wearing purple as a signature color.

These events all took place the week of 12-18 January 2020:

3. Trump begins attacking Sanders as "Crazy Bernie".


4. Warren accuses Bernie of making sexist remarks, a charge even Fox News denounces.

5. Biden announces Warren that is a possible VP running mate.

6. In the aftermath of the presidential debate, the hastag #CNNisTrash trends on Twitter.

7. Also after the debate, hoards of Warren donors contact Act Blue demanding back money they had donated to Warren's campaign.

8. Bernie jumps in the polls and has huge increases in donations and number of donors.


22 December 2019

On race


The word race as biological term applied to all lifeforms comes from the 19th century, where it was used for what is now usually called a subspecies.  That is the sense in which I am about to use it now.

The Homo sapiens sapiens race began flourishing just 195 thousand years ago.  

Out of the four known races (sapiens, neanderthalensis, denisova, idaltu) of the Homo sapiens species, it is the only one remaining.  There have been six other known species (habilis, naledi, ergaster, erectus, heidelbergensis, floresiensis) of the 2.8 million year old genus Homo, each of which has only one race identified in it, except for Homo erectus, of which nine races have been identified. 

Of these eighteen races of Homo, or Human, known to have walked the Earth in the past 2.8 million years, only ours, H. sapiens sapiens, remains.  So, when Edward James Olmos as his alter-ego Admiral Bill Adama of the Battlestar Galactica (BS-75) said in an appearance with his crew at the UN that there is only one race, the human race (and so say we all, or at least we should), he was literally as well as rhetorically accurate.

That’s why I say that I am a Terran, a citizen of Earth.  The whole world is my home and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins.

09 December 2019

The absurdity of all forms of human religion


The Universe is 13.8 billion years old and 213 duovigintillion cubic kilometers in volume.  The relative dust speck called Earth is but 4.2 billion years old and its dominant race, Homo sapiens sapiens, is but 200,000 years old.  Keep those key facts in mind.

“Man is an animal,” wrote anthropologist Clifford Geertz, “suspended in a web of significance he himself has spun”.

On Planet Terra (Earth) of the Solar Planetary System in Orion’s Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Local Galaxy Group of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster in the Laniakea Supercluster of the Universe, during the Subatlantic Chron of the Meghalayan Age of the Holocene Epoch of the Quartenary Period in the Cenozoic Era of the Phanerozoic Eon of the Current Supereon in Galactic Year (GY) 20, Jews believe that Adonai speaks Hebrew, Muslims that Allah speaks Arabic, American evangelicals that Almighty God speaks Elizabethan English, Roman Catholics that Dominus Dei speaks Latin, Eastern Orthodox that Kyrios speaks Greek, Hindus that Brahman speaks Sanskrit, Zoroastrians that Ormazd speaks Avestan, Buddhists that Adibuddha speaks Pali, Shintoists that Amaterasu speaks Japanese, religious Daoists that Tai Di speaks Mandarin Chinese, and Sikhs that Vahiguru speaks Punjabi. 

Each of these groups, and each subgroup and splinter and cult and sect within each of them, believes they are the Chosen People from which will come the Anointed One to assert their rightful dominion over all Creation for all Eternity. 

That belief is absurd.  In fact, all “belief” is absurd.

To believe is to define.  To define is to limit.  To limit is to control.  To control is to corrupt.

Belief is not humble; it is aggressive.  Belief is not a sign of submission; it is an assertion of domination.  Belief makes itself superior to that in which it claims to believe by controlling it through the very act of belief.  Thus, belief is blasphemy.  Belief is vanity.  Belief is futility.  Belief is the very antithesis of faith.  At the opposite end, disbelief affirms belief by that very negation, which is another attempt at control.

To have faith, one must surrender control.  To surrender control, one must abandon limitation.  To abandon limitation, one must give up definition.  To give up definition, one must let go of belief.  To have faith, one must neither believe nor disbelieve; one must unbelieve.

24 November 2019

Peaches and Plums, Motherfucker, with a Side of Bacon


“What’ll you have for breakfast?”

“Peaches and plums, motherfucker, with a heaping plate of bacon.” 

The ‘breakfast of champions’ for The Magicians (and their fans).  Especially after the death of our beloved Quentin Coldwater.

And with it came the death of possibility for both Quelice and Queliot, or even Quelioce. 

El and Alice sitting together holding hands at Q’s memorial bonfire.

El and Alice standing together holding each other next to Q’s memorial in in Fillory facing the lake.

El and Bambi mournfully sipping martinis under a tree, lit cigarette dangling between El’s two fingers.

Stephanie telling Alice that she do whatever she needs to get through her grief, no matter how crazy.

In the scene from Season 4’s “Escape from the Happy Place” where Eliot finally confronts the memory he most fears to face, El tells Q after the latter proposes giving Queliot a try back in their own timeline, “Q, c’mon, I love you, but you have to know that that’s not me and it’s definitely not you, not when we have a choice”.

Just as the two of them had “proof of concept” that they could have a long term relationship Season 3’s “A Life in the Day”, so too did El have proof of concept for his words.  He and Q got together on the night of their first anniversary in past Fillory working on the mosaic, then Ariel showed up and Q ended up with her.

Of course, El’d also shut down Q’s attempt the morning after to address what’d happened between them that night.  “Let’s just save our overthinking for the puzzle, yeah?”  It was his way of running then, just like the scene of his worst memory.  But while what he said then did apply to Q, for El it was a different story entirely.

What he said to Bambi (Margo) when she compared her having to marry Prince Ess of Loria to El’s having to marry Fen proves that.  “This would only be equivalent if Ess was a girl and you found pussy, you know, interesting in a ‘sometimes you like Thai food’ kind of way.  And now it’s all Thai food, forever, until you die.”

El framed his words to Q in the aftermath of their past-Fillory adventure not because they were true for himself (they were decidedly not), but to keep from inflicting a guilt trip on someone he dearly loved about something over which he (Q) had no control.  He was, in effect, sharing the blame for what he at the time indicated were unlikely prospects of a relationship between them, because while it was Eliot, it had already been proven not to be Q, not when he had a choice.

Margo is Eliot’s Mary Austin (long-term companion of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury).  Even had El and Q become Queliot in the present in Timeline 40, El’s Bambi would have been closer to his heart, something Q would’ve accepted just as Josh has.  El and Q could’ve even married under Fillory’s laws and Fen would’ve accepted it. 

However, Alice isn’t built for that kind of accommodation, something of which Q and El were both aware and for which El, being El, would’ve sacrificed his own happiness in order to maintain that of two people he loved dearly.  So Quelioce was never really a possibility, and while Queliot in a life isolated from the rest of their lives succeeded, it could only happen there, under those circumstances, because El loved Q too much to let him sacrifice a relationship with the one he loved even more.

By the way, I’m not deliberately “side-effecting” the rest of the characters shown in the teaser for Season 5; it’s just that other than the ones that I included it’s unclear whether the characters are mourning Q.  Taking the brief (very brief) teaser along with the special sneak peak from San Diego’s Comic-Con, it looks like Season 5 is gonna be dope.  I can’t wait.


Satan, the Devil, and Lucifer


Of the many things Christianity completely fucked up in its transition from the first century Judasim of Palestine to the hybrid Judeo-based but Gentile-dominated religion it became, standing alongside its invention of the Holy Trinity and the logical paradoxes of its Christology is its creation of a supreme enemy to both its deity and humanity in the character known interchangeably as Satan, the Devil, and Lucifer as well as by more than a few derogatory epithets.  This character in Christian myth and legend is an amalgamation of three separate characters in its parent Judaism.

Satan, or more properly The Satan (ha-Satan), in Judaism is the member of the heavenly court charged with recounting the sins of the dead before the throne of judgment, a heavenly prosecutor so to speak.  The Hebrew word “satan” literally means adversary or accuser, and is a title of an office rather than a name.  Talmudic literature makes The Satan an archangel and gives him the name Samael.

The Satan in Jewish lore is a trickster who uses guile to tempt humans to sin as part of his divinely commanded mission, not to condemn them to hell but to give them the opportunity to resist temptation or not.  By resisting that temptation humans prove their worth; by succumbing to temptation they show themselves unworthy  or at least unready.  This is the function performed by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden in then third chapter of the  Book of Genesis and by “the Devil” in the “Temptation of Christ” in the wilderness in the fourth chapters of both the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew.

Thus in Jewish thought The Satan is in a very real sense the author of freedom of choice, the patriarch of ‘Team Free Will’ as it were, not in defiance of the Divine Will but in its furtherance for the benefit of humanity.

In Middle Judaism (300 BCE-200 CE), the character later combined with Satan by Christians was known as Beliar, later Belial.  Beliar was the leader of fallen angels, devils, and demons, in essence The Devil.  While his presence is often considered evidence of Jewish dualism, Beliar was rather cast as the peer antagonist of the archangel Michael, guardian of Israel, than as an equal direct rival of Yahuweh.

The name Lucifer occurs but once in the English Bible, in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, and clearly refers not to any supernatural being but to an earthly ruler.  The name Lucifer is a Latinization of the Hellenization (Phosphoros) of the Hebrew name (Heylel) for the planet Venus, called the morning star and the evening star.  The passage in Isaiah refers superficially to the Canaanite deity Attar, the god of the dawn who ascends to the throne of the Children of El when it becomes vacant, only to in turn be overthrown and cast out.  In truth, the author uses the story of Attar (who goes unnamed) as allusion to Nebuchadnazzar II of Babylon, conqueror of the Levant.

By combining these three characters and defaming the Heavenly Prosecutor, Christianity effectively created an Unholy Trinity of Three-in-one and One-in-three, similar to the way the Book of Revelation treats the Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet.  A classic of very Jewish apocalyptic literature, this Christian work is one of the earliest extant to explicitly combine the Devil and the Satan and to identify the two with Genesis’ serpent in the Garden of Den (chapter 12).

20 November 2019

Hamilton County's A.P. Stewart statue and its historical revisionism


The question of the statue of former Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart occupying the front lawn of the Hamilton County Courthouse should be examined in the context of factual history of both the county in relation to the Secession and the War of the Rebellion and the history of the statue’s being installed there in 1919.

Hamilton County and the Secession

In the less populous northern counties of Alabama, the great majority were against secession.  Their political leaders initiated discussions with fellow anti-secessionist leaders in East Tennessee and the Northwest Georgia counties of Dade and Walker about seceding from their respective states together as the neutral State of Nickajack.  The citizens of Dade, in fact, were so adamant about it that they’d already seceded from the State of Georgia in July 1860 as the Free and Independent State of Dade.

On 9 February 1861, on the question of secession from the Union for the State of Tennessee, the enfranchised citizens of Hamilton County voted overwhelmingly (1445 vs. 445) against even considering the matter.  The citizens enfranchised at the time were limited to citizens who were male, white, free, and over 21 years of age.  At first, free blacks could also vote under Tennessee’s original constitution in 1796, but this right was taken away in 1834 in the same vote which adopted universal suffrage for white men (dropping property qualifications).

Four months later, after the Battle of Fort Sumter, fanatic secessionist Gov. Isham Harris convinced the legislature to hold a special election on the question.  On 8 June 1861, the enfranchised citizens of Hamilton County voted 1260 to 854 against the State of Tennessee’s secession (as did their neighbors in Bradley and Marion Cos.).

The overwhelming majority of counties in East Tennessee voted likewise, and held two conventions to consider secession of themselves from the State of Tennessee in order to remain in the Union.  A little like some people in Scotland currently considering secession from the UK solely in order to remain in the European Union rather than seceding in order to gain actual independence from a decrepit union.

The two foremost hotbeds of Unionism in East Tennessee were widely recognized as Scott County on the Kentucky border and North Hamilton County, although Unionist sentiment was widespread across the division of the state.  For instance, Bradley County was overwhemingly Unionist as was Cades Cove area of Blount County.

While it may be true that the majority in the Town of Chattanooga, whose southern boundaries at that time were West 23rd Street and Baldwin Street, voted for secession, the statue of A.P. Stewart stands in the front lawn of Hamilton County Courthouse not that of Chattanooga City Hall.  The county seat at the time was Harrison, the original site of which is now under the waters of the bay bearing its name, and it voted along with the rest of the county to remain in the Union both times.

Resistance to the Secession

In the aftermath of the vote, dedicated Unionists began congregating in northern Hamilton County on the right bank of the Tennessee River, seeking sanctuary near the plantation of the leading Unionist in the county and one of the leading Unionists in East Tennessee, William Clift.  Clift, commander of the county’s militia regiment, mustered his troops to the Sale Creek Camp Ground as the 7th Tennessee Federal Militia to fight to restore the Union, building Fort Clift.

Meanwhile, the citizens of the North Alabama counties of Winston, Marion, Franklin, Lawrence, Morgan, Blount, Marshall, Walker, and Fayette met at Looney’s Tavern in Winston County to draft a formal condemnation of their state’s secession from the Union.  Afterwards, those of the host county voted to declare themselves the Free State of Winston.

Military units from Hamilton Co. in the War of the Rebellion

Although more more individual units were raised for the Confederacy, those raised for the Union were by far larger. 

The Confederacy raised twenty-three companies, one battalion, and two guerrilla units whose members were later recognized as legitimate Confederate veterans in Hamilton County.

The Union raised five regiments (a standard regiment had ten companies, ideally speaking) and five individual companies in Hamilton County.  Two of the regiments were raised from “contrabands” (slaves who had escaped or been freed by Sherman’s army and settled in the county) and one was raised from veterans of five Ohio regiments demobilized here.

Confederate units from Hamilton Co.

In the following units, PAT = Provisional Army of Tennessee, PACS = Provisional Army of the Confederate States, and ACS = Army of the Confederate States.

The PAT was strictly a state affair that began organizing in April 1861, with its units gradually absorbed by the CSA by the end of December 1861.

The PACS made up the overwhelming bulk of Confederate forces, the nonregular, or “volunteer”, branch.

The ACS did not really constitute a separate organization, this designation being merely a sign of prestige.  It was intended to be the regular army of the CSA, but the CSA failed before that happened.

Gordon’s Mountain Rifles (later the Raccoon Roughs), tri-state area, mid-April 1861; became Co. I (later Co. D), 6th Alabama Infantry, PACS.

Hamilton Grays, Tennessee Infantry, Chickamauga (Shepherd), Tennessee, May 1861; became Co. B, 2nd East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, then Co. A, 19th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Marsh Blues, Tennessee Infantry, Chattanooga, May 1861; became Co. A, 2nd East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, then Co. I, 19th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Ragsdale’s Lookout Rangers, Knoxville, 15 June 1861, with men from Hamilton County; became Co. A, 4th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, PACS, then Co. H, (Ashby’s) 2nd Tennessee Cavalry, PACS.

Snow’s Company, Tennessee Cavalry, northwestern Bradley County, Tennessee, 7 August 1861; became Co. C, (Brazelton’s) 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, PACS.

Spiller’s Company, Tennessee Cavalry, Chattanooga, 11 August 1861, with men from the Third Civil District of Hamilton Co. (North Chattanooga, Red Bank) and some from North Alabama; became Co. B, (McClellan’s) 5th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, PACS.

Bird Rangers, Tennessee Cavalry, Knoxville, 24 August 1861, with men from the Fifteenth Civil District of Hamilton Co., North Georgia, and North Alabama; became Co. F, (Roger’s) 1st Tennessee Cavalry, PACS.

Co. G, 3rd East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, Knoxville, August 1861 with men from Hamilton County; became Co. G, 26th Tennessee Infantry, PACS, later 2nd Co. K, 1st Confederate Infantry, ACSA.

Co. H, 3rd East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, Knoxville, August 1861 with men from Hamilton County and North Georgia; became (1st) Co. H, 26th Tennessee Infantry, PACS, then (2nd) Co. I, 1st Confederate Infantry, ACSA.

Co. D, 1st East Tennessee Rifles, PAT, Chattanooga, September 1861, with men from the Second and Third Civil Districts (Moccasin Point, North Chattanooga, Red Bank, Browns Chapel); became Co. D, 37th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Co. H, 1st East Tennessee Rifles, PAT, Hamilton County, September 1861, with men from the Fifth and Fifteenth Civil Districts (southeast corner, Concord, Chickamauga, Tyner, Zion Hill) and North Georgia; became Co. H, 37th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Co. I, 5th East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, DeKalb County, Alabama, September 1861, mostly with men from that Dekalb as well Hamilton and Bledsoe Cos. in Tennessee; it (1st) Co. I, 35th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Co. K, 5th East Tennessee Infantry, PAT, Ooltewah, 17 October 1861, with men from eastern Hamilton County; became Co. K, 43rd Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

McKenzie’s Company, Tennessee Cavalry, 1 November 1861, Decatur, Meigs Co., with men from Meigs and Hamilton Cos.; became Co. B, Rogers’ 1st Tennessee Cavalry, PACS.

Lea’s Lookout Rangers, Tennessee Cavalry, Nashville, 1 November 1861, with men from DeKalb Co., Alabama, and Marion and Hamilton Cos., Tennessee, as part of (Smith’s) 10th/11th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, PACS, which later grew into Smith’s 2nd Tennessee Cavalry, PACS.

Co. H, 36th Tennessee Infantry, PACS, Knoxville, 26 February 1862, with men from northern Hamilton County.

Co. K, 36th Tennessee Infantry, PACS, Knoxville, 26 February 1862, with men from Harrison and vicinity in Hamilton County.

Tyner’s Company, Tennessee Cavalry, Tyner,  with men from Tyner, Harrison, and Ooltewah; became (2nd) Co. K, 1st Confederate Cavalry, ACSA, and later Tyner’s Company of Sappers and Miners.

Lookout Battery, Tennessee Light Artillery (aka Barry’s Company), Chattanooga, 15 May 1862 with men from Hamilton County.

Carter’s Company, Tennessee Cavalry, Chattanooga, 14 June 1862; became  Co. A, (Murray’s) 4th Tennessee Cavalry, PACS.

Clark’s Independent Company, Tennessee Cavalry, Chattanooga, 31 August 1862.

Mitchell’s Mountain Rifles, Tennessee Infantry, Chattanooga, 1 October 1862; became (3rd) Co. F, 35th Tennessee Infantry, PACS.

Co. D, Avery’s 23rd Squadron of Georgia Dragoons, PACS, Wauhatchie, Hamilton County, October 1862.

19th Alabama Partisan Ranger Battalion, PACS, Chattanooga, 21 November 1862, intended to be part of Howard’s Legion (3rd Confederate Cavalry) but ended up as an independent unit.

Snow’s Scouts, Snow Hill and Ooltewah, May 1862.

Osborne’s Scouts, Fifth Civil District (Spring Creek, Concord,  Tyner, Chickamauga), Hamilton Co., 1863.

Union units from Hamilton County

The Union army had a similar division between regulars and volunteers, with the regulars designated United States Army and the volunteers designated United States Volunteers, the regiments of which including the state in which the unit was raised in their designations.

7th Tennessee Federal Militia, Sale Creek Campground, 10 August 1861; disbanded 13 November 1861.  This had been the county’s militia regiment until the secession.

Co. I, 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, USA, Sale Creek, 27 November 1861 (with vets from Clift's 7th Tennessee Militia).

Co. C, 5th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, USA, Hamilton Co., Tennessee; 25 February 1862.

Co. G, 5th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, USA, Pine Knot, Campbell Co., Tennessee, May 1862, with men from Hamilton and Bradley Cos.

In addition to the above two companies, Hamilton Co. men served individually in Cos. E, F, H, I, and K of the 5th Tennessee Volunteers.

7th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, USA, Huntsville, Scott Co., Tennessee, 1 June 1862, with men from Hamilton, Scott, Anderson, and Morgan Cos. as a partisan unit until on 1 June 1863.

44th U.S. Colored Troops, USA, Chattanooga, 7 April-16 September 1864.

42nd U.S. Colored Troops, USA, Chattanooga and Nashville, 20 April 1864-6 July 1865.

Co. E, 5th Tennessee Mounted Infantry, USA, Cleveland, Bradley Co., Tennessee,  8 October 1864 with men from Hamilton, Bradley, and Meigs Cos.

Co. D, 10th Tennessee Cavalry, Nashville, 25 January 1864 with men from Hamilton and McMinn Cos.

18th Ohio Veteran Infantry, USA, Chattanooga, 31 October 1864, with veterans of the 1st, 2nd, 18th, 24th and 35th Ohio Infantries.

6th Tennessee Mounted Infantry, USA, Chattanooga, 24 October 1864, for one-year service.

Confederate occupation of Hamilton County

In the aftermath of the two “Clift Wars” (September and November 1861) as well as the East Tennessee Bridge Burnings, Chattanooga along with the rest of East Tennessee was occupied by first the Provisional Army of Tennessee, then by the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. 

The first units of the Confederate occupation of Hamilton County were the 7th Alabama Infantry out of Pensacola and the 16th Alabama Infantry from Virginia, both commanded by unrelated colonels named Wood.  Chattanooga eventually became the headquarters of the Confederate army’s Department No. 2 (later reorganized as the Department of the West). 

Col. Clift’s militia voted to disband in November 1861, and veterans of it formed the core of the 7th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry (USA), organized May 1862 in the Free and Independent State of Scott, as Scott County in East Tennessee had become known (it held a special vote to secede from Tennessee in July 1861).

The county was occupied by the Army of the Mississippi (Confederate) in July and August of 1862.  That organization’s successor, the Army of Tennessee, occupied the city and county from early July through early September in 1863.  The Confederate military occupation of Chattanooga and vicinity lasted from November 1861 through 9 September 1863.  Two months shy of two full years.

Union occupation of Hamilton County

The official Federal Military Occupation of Chattanooga and vicinity lasted from 9 September 1863 through 31 December 1866.  Three years and nearly four months.  For the last eight months of that, federal authority was represented solely by a Union military provost officer; the occupation’s last regiments, 16th and 44th U.S. Colored Troops, mustered out in April 1866.

Postbellum carpetbaggers

Practical occupation by former Union soldiers, their civilian friends, and other opportunistic businessmen from the North lasted decades longer.  In this case, however, the so-called “invasion” was not against the consent of the residents but with their avid encouragement.  Papers in Chattanooga even published explicit invitations to carpetbaggers to come to the city, and other parties took out ads in Northern newspapers with the same invitation.

In 1888, the citizens of the community of Tunnel beyond the western mouth of the Whiteside Tunnel through Missionary Ridge on the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railroad voted to rename their community Sherman Heights.  For balance, they named the inn which became their municipal center Cleburne Hotel after the actual victor of the engagement known then as the ‘Battle of Tunnel Hill, Tn.’.  In the 21st century, the neighborhood association adopted the name Glass Farm District. 

In the adjacent community of Boyce (now Boyce Station) on the Western & Atlantic Railroad, its citizens named their main inn and meeting place the Sherman House.

The names Sherman Heights and Sherman House are not exactly the Lost Cause names we would expect given the romanticized propaganda claims of the neo-Confederate movement.

Hamilton County’s neo-Confederates

In 1867, citizens of Chattanooga bought a section of Chattanooga City Cemetery in which to inter Confederate dead.  To oversee its development and maintenance, they formed the Confederate Memorial Association.  In all, the remains of 877 Confederate soldiers who died in area hospitals are buried in Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery.  

Not long after, these same people and others decided there ought to be a monument in the city to the Confederacy, so they formed the Confederate Monument Association. 

In 1874, these two groups combined as the Chattanooga Confederate Memorial Association, with Penelope McDermott (wife of Tennessee Supreme Court Judge J.B. Cooke) as its president.  The CCMA may be regarded as a precursor to the county’s chapter of the UDC.

Former Confederate officers in Louisiana formed the Southern Historical Society in 1869.  In 1870, the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia organized, followed seven years later by the Association of the Army of Tennessee.  All these were restricted to former commissioned officers.

An 15 September 1885, a group of Confederate war veterans organized as N.B. Forrest Camp No. 3, Confederate Veterans.  The chief organizer was Joseph Shipp, formerly captain of Company G, 60th Mounted Tennessee Infantry Regiment.  In 1889, this group became a charter local of the United Confederate Veterans Association as N.B. Forrest Camp No. 4.

The leading instigator of the UCVA was, once again, Capt. Shipp, who in his networking to build support for the hoped for Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park had frequent dealings with the Grand Army of the Republic and wanted a counterpart national organization for Confederate veterans of the war.  The majority of the founding members and groups came from Tennessee and Louisiana.

At their organizational meeting, Shipp invited the association to hold its first annual convention in Chattanooga in the following summer (1890).  As part of the convention’s proceedings, Chattanooga’s Frank M. Walker Camp No. 1, Sons of Confederate Soldiers, petitioned to be recognized as an official auxiliary of UCVA.  In response, delegates authorized the formation of groups for “Sons and Daughters of Confederate Veterans”, implying these could be separate organizations.

And yes, by the way, Capt. Shipp is the same Shipp who was Sheriff at the time of the Ed Johnson lynching.

In August 1894, UCVA’s N.B. Forrest Camp No. 4 voted to allow sons of its members to join their camp as nonvoting associates.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy was founded in Nashville in 1894 as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy.  It was not, like the later USCV, an auxiliary of the UCVA but a separate entity in its own right, with its purpose being more to glorify the Confederacy than to support Confederate veterans, though it did do some of the latter.

The A.P. Stewart Chapter No. 81 of the UDC formed here on 5 September 1896.  In 1904, the Francis Marion Walker Chapter No. 784 formed in St. Elmo, initially as the John B. Gordon Chapter; it dissolved 1969.  The UDC currently has a second local affiliate here, Missionary Ridge Chapter No. 1777.

In 1896, the UDC authorized an affiliate organization for non-adult sons, daughters, and later descendants of Confederate veterans called the Children of the Confederacy (COFC).  Each COFC chapter is attached to a mother chapter in UDC, and in Chattanooga that is Jonathan W. Bachman Chapter No. 21.

The United Sons of Confederate Veterans finally came into being 1 July 1896.  Its name was changed in 1912 by dropping “United” so that its acronym would not be the same as that of the United States Colored Veterans (“USCV”).  In Chattanooga, the local USCV affiliate was Jonathan W. Bachman Camp No. 3.  Initially, the USCA was solely concerned with the welfare of Confederate veterans, but as members aged and began to die off, they began to look to preserving the mythology invented and propounded by the UDC.

When the local Confederate veterans died out, the Jonathan Bachman Camp of UCVA died out too.  The whole UCVA ended in 1952.  In Chattanooga, the Jonathan Bachman Camp of the SCV died out not long afterwards.  There was an attempt to reestablish an SCV camp in Chattanooga in 1971, but the effort failed to get very far.  Another effort occurred in 1983, and the members chose to call themselves Chattanooga Camp No. 3, SCV.  This attempt to restart local SCV activity also failed soon after.

The current group, Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp No. 3, SCV, organized in the mid-1990s, probably so designated in memory of the UCVA camp.  In the mid-1990s, there was an A.P. Stewart Camp of SCV in North Hamilton County, but it has long been defunct.

Hamilton County’s Unionist organizations

The Grand Army of the Republic (created 1866), the premier organization of Union veterans, had posts across the South in the early years after the war, but they fell off after the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction and sold out the former slaves.  These began to revive and add new posts in the mid-1880s, about the same time as Confederate veterans began to mass organize, but with far fewer Afro-American members since the resurrected posts in the South adopted Jim Crow attitudes.

Where the UCVA had just the one chapter (“camp”) in Hamilton County, the revived GAR had five posts:  Lookout Post No. 2, Chickamauga Post No. 22, and Mission Ridge Post No. 45 in Chattanooga; Robert L. McCook Post No. 36 in Soddy, and Gordon Grainger Post No. 84 in Sale Creek.

The GAR created the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in 1881.  The affiliate of SUVCW in Chattanooga is Missionary Ridge Camp No. 63.

The National Alliance of the Daughters of Veterans of the United States of America organized in 1885 but was not recognized as an official auxiliary by the GAR until 1900.  In 1925, the NADVUSA became the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. 

By the early 20th century, a tent of the NADVUSA  existed in Chattanooga, but it apparently failed because in 1930 the national office of DUVCW proudly announced the organization of a tent in Chattanooga.  This too soon crumbled, apparently.  In 2009, a group of women organized the Andrew Jackson Penny Chapter under the National Alliance of the Daughters of the USA, a separate association which organized in 1904.

Another Union veterans organization with a presence in Chattanooga and vicinity, this one strictly for former officers of the erstwhile field command, was the Society of the Army of the Cumberland (1870).  There were like groups for commissioned veterans of the Army of the Tennessee (1865), the Army of Georgia (1868), the Army of the Ohio (1868), and the Army of the Potomac (1869), but none had locals in the county.  The SAC had two here, the Lookout Mountain Camp and the Moccasin Point Camp; in the mid-1890s these two chapters voted to merge as the Mountain City Club.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

The primary movers behind U.S.A.’s first national military park were Gen. Henry Boynton on the Union side (assisted by Maj. Frank G. Smith) and former Capt. Joseph Shipp on the Confederate side.  It was the latter who suggested the Blue & Gray Barbeque of Union and Confederate veterans of the two battles be held at Crawfish Springs in 1889 to drum up their support for the legislative effort.  As we know, this proved successful and the park was authorized the next year.

With the approval of the park, a board of commissioners was appointed, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Former brigadier general in the Union Army of the Cumberland Joseph Fullerton was its chairman as well as the representative of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Active duty Capt. Sanford C. Kellog represented the War Department.

Former lieutenant general and last commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee Alexander P. Stewart represented the United Confederate Veterans and was the only on-site commissioner.  As such, he also became the park’s first superintendent, a position he held until his death in 1908, though his active service ceased after 1905.

Thomas Dixon

After coming across a performance of a play version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly, former preacher and then current lecturer Thomas Dixon became enraged a its depiction of Southern life under the slave-owning plantocracy.  Stowe’s anti-slavery novel is widely credited as the most popular of  the 19th century not only in the U.S.A. but across the world.

Nephew of a Grand Titan in the postbellum Ku Klux Klan of North Carolina, Watson vowed to write a novel to counter it.  In fact, he wrote three, known collectively as the “Trilogy of the Reconstruction”, these being The Leopard's Spots: A Romance of the White Man's Burden—1865–1900 (1902); The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (1905); and The Traitor: A Story of the Fall of the Invisible Empire (1907).

In the postbellum KKK, a Grand Titan was over a Dominion, which covered a third of a Congressional district.  The basic local unit was a Den, governed by a Grand Cyclops; a county was a Province, governed by a Grand Giant; the Dominion and Grant Titan came next; a state was a Realm, governed by a Grand Dragon; and the whole area of KKK operations was called simply the Empire (no “Invisible” added) ruled by the Grand Wizard.  The Empire included the states, or “Realms”, represented by the thirteen stars of the Confederate flag, the eleven of the Confederacy plus Kentucky and Missouri.

Due to the presence of so many Union veterans in the City of Chattanooga and its suburbs, the overhwhelmingly pro-Unionist sentiment in North Hamilton County, and the absence of the Confederacy’s most stalwart proponent (William Snow) from East Hamilton County, there was no Ku Klux Klan activity in the county during Reconstruction, despite what a fanciful short bio of Judge Lewis Shepherd may say.

Watson went on the write nineteen more novels and several plays, the most popular of the latter being his own adaptation of the second novel in the Reconstruction trilogy, case titled eponymously The Clansman.  To give an idea of the scope of his influence at the time, no less than W.E.B. DuBois referred to Watson’s works as read more widely than those of Henry James.

The Birth of a Nation

The influence of D.W. Griffith’s movie should not be underestimated.  It was, for instance, the first motion picture ever to be shown in the White House, for a President Woodrow Wilson who at its conclusion sobbed that, “It’s all too true”. 

Leo Frank lynching

In the summer of 1913, Leo Frank, a director of the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta, Georgia, and president of the city’s B’nai Brith organization, was wrongly convicted of the murder of 14-year old worker Mary Phagan in the basement of the factory.  Frank’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed in April 1915.  The case connects to Chattanooga because the lawyers working on his appeal leaned on Hamilton County’s Judge Lewis Shepherd for advice and direction.

After reviewing the evidence and considering other information that had not been available at trial, Gov. John M. Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence from death to life imprisonment.  The Georgia National Guard had to be called out to protect Slaton from the outraged public. 

Thomas Watson, a former Georgia U.S. Congressman, openly called for Frank to be lynched.   Founder of Georgia’s branch of the Populist Party, Watson once strongly advocated for poor whites and blacks working together and for the right of blacks to vote.  After the Populists reorganized in the 20th century, he became the party’s strongest advocates of segregation and white supremacy, serving as its presidential candidate in 1904 and 1908.

After Slaton’s commutation of Frank’s sentence, a Judaeophobic secret society formed to take matters into its own hands called the Knights of Mary Phagan, made up of some 28 men.  On 16 August 1915, a mob led by these so-called “Knights” broke into Milledgeville State Penitentiary where Frank was being held, kidnapped him, and hung him at Frey’s Gin, two miles east of Marietta, at 7 am the next morning.

The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

The evening of Thanksgiving 1915 (November 25), Indiana-born William J. Simmons and seventeen other men (almost all alumni of the Knights of Mary Phagan, founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan atop Stone Mountain in Georgia, with the permission and participation of Venable brothers William and Samuel, who owned it and quarried rock there.

Despite claims to the contrary, the new organization had no connection to the postbellum terror organization.  Instead, it was based on Simmons’ interpretation of the highly romanticized fictional version he had seen in that year’s blockbuster movie, The Birth of a Nation, released in February.  The movie which inspired their cosplay and the White Caps movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the group’s actual antecedents.

Unlike the postbellum Ku Klux Klan, the 1915 Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had a klavern in Chattanooga, a quite strong one, in fact.  In 1923, it ran its own slate in the city’s municipal elections in a campaign which included soliciting votes from Afro-Americans in their own neighborhoods.

This new Knights of the KKK remained small and confined to the South for five years, until Imperial Wizard Simmons contracted the marketing services of Elizabeth Tyler and Edward Young Clarke in 1920.  It was they who moved the organization from romantic historicism-based cosplay of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy into a Stars-and-Stripes waving, cross-bearing facist terror organization for enforcing law and order, traditional Protestant Christian values, and “one hundred percent Americanism”.

Tyler and Clarke thus enabled the new Knights of the KKK to breach the borders of the former Confederacy and spread across the country, even into Canada.  Its largest “realm” in the 1920s was Indiana.

The Town of North Chattanooga

By the second decade of the 20th century, the area immediately north of downtown Chattanooga across the Tennessee River had become widely known as North Chattanooga.  It was originally called Hill City.

In 1915, the almost exclusively white neighborhoods of eastern North Chattanooga incorporated themselves as a town.  In early November that year, Mayor J. Read Voight introduced an ordinance prohibiting Afro-Americans from settling inside its borders, with a grandfather clause allowing the two families already within the town to continue living there. 

It was also around this time that the name of Forest Avenue, which divided the Town of North Chattanooga from the unincorporated and mostly Afro-American section to the west, was changed to Forrest Avenue in honor of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first and perhaps only Grand Wizard of the postbellum Ku Klux Klan.

Within just a few years, however, the council of the town voted to annex the remaining unincorporated area of North Chattanooga, effectively nullifying Voight’s racist ordinance.

The UDC and the Lost Cause

The UDC’s primary mission has always been to “tell of the glorious fight against the greatest odds a nation ever faced, that their hallowed memory should never die”.  In other words, to gaslight everyone in reach and rewrite history in the name of the Lost Cause.

The year after the release of The Birth of a Nation, a member of the national leadership of UDC, Laura Martin Rose, published a romantic historical account of the postbellum Ku Klux Klan, based largely on the fictions of Dixon’s trilogy, called The Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire.  Though not in origin a project of the UDC, the fake history was endorsed by the national organization and most of its state organizations.

To help indoctrinate the members of its Children of the Confederacy auxiliary, the UDC published A Confederate Catechism in 1920, which is a collection and concentration of Lost Cause myths.

Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association

In 1916, the national office of the United Daughters of the Confederacy formed the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association, its goal being to carve a massive memorial to the Confederacy with engravings of Jefferson Davis and the C.S.A.’s most prominent generals.  As part of this endeavor, the UDC partnered directly with the Knights of the KKK as well as approving several of its members on the board of the SMCMA.

Hamilton County endorses white supremacy

In 1917, the A.P. Stewart Camp of the United Daughers of the Confederacy proposed a memorial to the Confederacy on the front lawn of the courthouse of a county which had voted overwhelming against joining the Rebellion.  It joined with the local klavern of the Knights of the KKK to accomplish this, and in 1919 installed an equestrian statue of former Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, last general commanding of the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee, on the front lawn of the courthouse, in full Confederate uniform.

For eighteen years, Stewart was a commissioner of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.  Its board was composed of three members, one from the War Department, one from the GAR, and one from the UCVA.  It was by mutual agreement of the first two that Stewart was chosen as the last.  The only member of the board, whose headquarters was in Washington, D.C., present in the region, Stewart also became the park’s first superintendent.

At the ceremonies, the flags of the United States of America and the State of Tennessee flew alongside what was described at the battle flag of the Confederacy, but whether of the Army of Tennessee or the Army of Northern Virginia was not specified.  In addition to the three flag bearers, there was an honor guard, composed entirely of Confederate veterans.

Col. Jonathan W. Bachman, former commander of the 60th Tennessee Mounted Infantry as well as Chaplain General of the United Confederate Veterans Association, gave the invocation. 

Capt. Henry A. Chambers, former commander of Co. C, 49th North Carolina Infantry, officially presented the statue to the county. 

County Judge Samuel Conner, whose father Asbury B. Conner was a captain in William Clift’s 7th Tennessee Federal Militia then a first lieutenant in Cos. A then H of Clift’s 7th East Tennessee Volunteers, USA, accepted the statue on behalf of the county. 

Thomas C. Thompson, the former mayor of Chattanooga whose father’s Battalion of State Cadets (from The Citadel and The Arsenal campuses of the South Carolina Military Academy) fired the first shots of the war when they opened up on the U.S.S. Star of the West in Charleston Harbor on 9 January 1861 as it attempted to relieve Fort Sumter with troops and supplies, gave an address on the life and character of Stewart.

Lapsley G. Walker, editor-in-chief of the Chattanooga Times whose father Col. Francis M. Walker commanded the 19th Tennessee Infantry then the former Maney’s Brigade until being killed at the Battle of Atlanta, also expounded on Stewart’s good character.

Representative from the War Department Maj. Phil Whitaker “stressed the value of monuments because they hold ideals from which the younger generation seems to have strayed: and stated his belief that, sooner or later, all will stand for what the heroes of the Confederacy stood.” (quote is from the contemporary description of the event in Confederate Veteran).

Dr. I.D. Steele, whose brother Miley died fighting with Co. D, 32nd Mississippi Infantry at the Battle of Franklin, gave the benediction.

The ceremony closed with the song “Dixie”.

And thus is rewritten to repaint it and its entire population as fervent secessionists, ardent supporters of slavery, and diehard white supremacists the history of a county which:

(1) twice voted overwhelmingly against secession;

(2) whose militia regiment mustered to fight for the Union;

(3) produced five and half regiments to fight for the Union versus three regiments two guerrilla units to fight for the Confederacy;

(4) was occupied for one year and ten months by the Confederate army but occupied by the Union army for three years and four months;

(5) hosted five posts of Union veterans versus a single camp of Confederate veterans after the war; and

(6) whose later county seat was built into the “Dynamo of Dixie” by carpetbagging northern industrialists who were almost all former Union officers who were explicitly invited here to do just that.

Briefly on the career of A.P. Stewart

Prior to the war, Stewart had been an emancipationist on the slavery question, at least according to several accounts.  This was different from being an abolitionist in that the latter wanted to end slavery by law and with force if necessary, while the former wished to accomplish it solely by positive encouragement on a voluntary basis.

On the question of the Secession, Stewart was very much against it, but like many who shared his sentiments, went where his state followed (or rather was dragged by) “fire-eater” Isham Harris, the state governor.  In fact, he accepted a commission as an artillery officer of the Provisional Army of Tennessee in May 1861 before the state had even voted to secede. 

Stewart commanded a brigade in the Army of the Mississippi and later Army of Tennessee until being promoted to major general and division commander just before the Tullahoma Campaign in June 1863.  He became commander of Third Corps after Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk died at Pine Mountain during the Altanta Campaign.  For the Carolinas Campaign, he became last general commanding of the Army of Tennessee.

When the Army of Tennessee’s foremost division commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne, introduced to his fellow generals in the winter camp at Dalton, Georgia, in January 1864 his memorial which recommended the Confederacy arm the South’s slaves and give them and their families freedom in return for their service, Stewart remarked that the proposal was “at war with my social, moral, and political principles”. 

Those do not sound like the words of an emancipationist, though this was after several years of hard, bitter warfare.  However, for Stewart to have been the first and only choice of the War Department and the Grand Army of the Republic to represent the United Confederate Veterans on the board of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, his conduct and publicly expressed views must’ve been such as would support and enhance the reconciliation which most veterans of both sides sought at the time.

As superintendent of the park, Stewart made his residence in the City of Chattanooga and thus has a connection to the city, his greater connection to the area is with Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.  His statue thus belongs there, not forcibly occupying the front lawn of the court house of the county which was overwhelmingly Unionist.  Even he himself would no doubt agree.  The statue belongs at the headquarters of the park to which Stewart devoted the last eighteen years of his life.

Moving the statue of Alexander P. Stewart from the front lawn of the Hamilton County Courthouse to the front lawn of the headquarters of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will not be rewriting history but restoring true history rewritten fifty-eight years later.

08 November 2019

The Fool among the Questers of the Seven Keys in Syfy's The Magicians

SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you haven't finished Season 3.

I am a huge fan of SyFy’s The Magicians.  There is nothing I don’t love about it, and yes, that includes the finale of Season 4.  As much as I miss and will continue to miss Quentin Coldwater, the character with whom I identified more than any other, I get why the creative staff made that decision (with lengthy discussions including Jason Ralph and Lev Grossman) to have our beloved Q do a Penny.

But I’m not here to write about the finale.  I’m here to write about the list of the eight adventurers on the Quest of the Seven Keys to restore magic to the Universe.  And rather than go directly into that discussion, there are a couple of things in previous episodes that bear on the information.

“Have You Brought Me Little Cakes?” (S01E13)

In the Season 1 finale, Quentin and Julia discover they were unnamed characters in one of the Fillory and Further books, these being The Witch and The Fool who freed Jane Chatwin from the trap she was caught in.  As circumstances worked out, Q and J agreed that she was The Witch and Q was The Fool.

Q discovered that he was in the Fillory and Further novels not once but twice, the second time with Eliot as solvers of the mosaic puzzle in Season 3’s “A Life in the Day” (S03E05).

“We Have Brought You Little Cakes” (S02E13)

The episode opens with the god Ember recounting the intrepid team of adventurers accompanying Quentin Coldwater in his attempt to defeat The Beast (Martin Chatwin) and rescue Fillory.  As he names them by epithet, pictures of them show, so there is no doubt which epithet refers to which magician or witch.  The Addict is Eliot; The Victim is Julia; The Bitch is Margo; The Scowl is Penny 40; and The Martyr is Alice.

“The Tale of the Seven Keys” (S03E01)

Distraught over the absence of magic, High King Eliot the Spectacular travels to the Darkling Woods to seek out Faran Tahir, the Great Cock.  The Great Cock gives High King Eliot a quest by which he and his friends may restore magic, a quest which ends at the Castle at the End of the World, which is nothing at all like the Restaurant at the End of the World.

Since quests are better done with friends, the Great Cock lists people El should take along with him, by epithet rather than name.

First is The One-eyed Conquerer, who can only be Margo.

Second is The Traveler, who is Penny; Penny 40 at first, then Penny 23.

Third is The Warrior, who has to be Kady, the badass master of battle magic.

Fourth is The Fool.  About this one, most who have commented have assigned this epithet to Quentin, though some have suggested Josh and a few even name fen.  I disagree with all of these; it can only be Eliot for reasons I’ll give below.

Fifth is The God-touched, who is Julia.

Sixth is The Lover of Tomatoes, who can only be Josh, who in addition to being the only gardener has mentioned his love of tomatoes.

Seventh is The Torture Artist, an epithet referring to Alice in her times as a niffin when she was separated from her shade.

Eighth in the list is The Brother of the Heart with the Foppy Hair, which El himself identifes as Q, as if we didn’t know.

So, the Great Cock lists eight Questers, and Q, whom most commenters assign as The Fool, largely because that is his role in the Season 1 finale, is definitely the eighth.  Given that Fen is untouched by magic until Season 4 (and we still don’t know what that fully entails), The Fool in this case can only be Eliot himself, perhaps because that is how he sees himself.

The Seven Golden Keys

Created by the god Prometheus, the original Seven Golden Keys were destroyed by Alice Quinn in Castle Blackspire (aka the Castle at the End of the World).  In their place, then goddess Julia created a new set of keys, effectively horacruxing herself like Prometheus before her.

The Key of Illusion (found by Eliot on After Island)
The Key of Truth (found by Julia in the McAllisters’ home)
The Key of Time (retrieved by Margo from Jane Chatwin’s grave)
The Key of Melancholy (found by Poppy Kline in the Abyss)
The Key of Unity (found by Q, Alice, and Kady in the fake cottage)
The Key of Vision (retrieved by Julia from Timeline 23)
The Key of Realm (traded to Margo by the Fairies)

The eight Questers, albeit with two epithets misapplied.