Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Latest Essay Published by THE ABBEVILLE INSTITUTE – What the Death of Roy Clark Symbolizes for America

[Please Note: My anthology of essays about the South and present-day attacks on its heritage, The Land We Love, is available from, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher, Scuppernong Press. But as of yesterday apparently Amazon had sold out the first edition, with new copies via that site only available around Christmas time or a bit later. HOWEVER, the publisher has copies, and they are available for immediate shipment. If you are interested, here are the ordering details: SCUPPERNONG PRESS,   P.O. Box 1724, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588 Web Site address:]


Thirteen days ago I authored on my Web blog a little reflection titled “What the Death of Country Legend Roy Clark Symbolizes for America in 2018”—an essay on the broader cultural significance of the passing of that major country music star and what it symbolized for contemporary America in 2018. [] That piece received some favorable response, and since then I have gone back and edited and re-written parts of it, and yesterday [November 28] it ran as a feature essay on The Abbeville Institute Web site.

Here it is:

What Country Legend Roy Clark’s Death Symbolizes for America in 2018

By Boyd Cathey on Nov 28, 2018

The news came Thursday, November 15, that country music legend, Virginia-born Roy Clark had passed away at age 85. For those either too young to know who Clark was, or who perhaps never cottoned to “country” music, for a whole generation, for twenty-four years, he was in many ways the heart and soul of the popular country music variety television program “Hee Haw.” Beginning in 1969, along with co-host Buck Owens, he emceed and performed regularly on that popular extravaganza, and also demonstrated a finely-honed sense of superbly shaped humor.

For its first season, 1969-1970, “Hee Haw” was a staple of CBS’s Sunday night line-up. But CBS had begun to kill off its “rural” and Southern-themed programming, including such popular offerings as “Petticoat Junction” (with the inimitable Edgar Buchanan and former Gene Autry side-kick “Smiley” Burnette) in 1970, and most notably later on the long-running “Gunsmoke” series in 1975 (despite consistently high ratings). Corporate bosses decided they would shift their focus to more urban, “socially-conscious” and more contemporary themes, as exemplified in the sit-com “Maude.” One is tempted to see the roots of our present cultural putrefaction in those decisions, just as the killing off of “highbrow” programs dedicated to classical music and art forms, “The Voice of Firestone” and “The Bell Telephone Hour,” had a similarly deleterious effect at the other end of the viewing spectrum.

By 1971 “Hee Haw” went into syndication where it remained popular until its demise in 1993.

I was trained in classical music, grew up with it, and I’ve written about it admiringly—and lovingly—on various occasions. But I also grew up with an appreciation of my traditions in rural North Carolina and in the South, surrounded by the South’s historic musical inheritance, a heritage which incorporated superb ballads and songs, many of which derive from ancient Scots-Irish or English sources, and many of which found a New World home in Appalachia and in Tennessee and in the Carolinas, and eventually in other Southern states, and, finally, on the advancing American frontier in the mid to late 19th century.

I never believed there was anything strange about that. After all, historically, classical music, certainly in Europe was in many ways deeply influenced by the music of the “folk,” by the traditional songs, chorales of the local people, as well as by the music of the Church, which itself oftentimes incorporated popular melodies and song into worship. The music of the country folk fed the classical masterworks of Bach and so many other composers.

Anyone who has ever heard Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Christmas Eve Mass” [the “Messe de Minuit”] with its incorporated French peasant tunes will know what I’m talking about.

And in the United States, perhaps the most “popular” classical orchestral piece, Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” (1944), uses as its base the old Shaker tune “ ‘Tis the Gift to be Simple.” Carlisle Floyd’s noted “American” opera, “Susannah” (1955) uses folk melodies. And not to forget George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” with themes based on jazz and American Negro musical traditions.

A major success of what I would call revolutionary cultural modernism in our time has been to sever, in large part, the essential connection between what we call popular music and historical European-inherited classical culture. The creation of and inspiration for “classical” music appears increasingly limited to a small group of incestuous intellectuals and academics who essentially write for each other and for a self-consciously limited audience, and, despite the efforts of classical music groups to effect “cross overs” with classical and rock musicians and artists appearing jointly, the general audience for classical music has decreased considerably since the early 1960s.

By the late 1960s, in place of coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland on the Sunday night “Ed Sullivan Show,” we had “The Beatles.” Indeed, back in the 1950s while my mother and grandmother could tune their radios on Monday nights and hear the New York Philharmonic, or on Saturdays, and hear the Metropolitan Opera—and on the major network stations—now such performances are restricted to PBS and seem to become rarer by the year.

This same bifurcation has occurred, if not as marked, with country and bluegrass music. Indeed, country music has managed to survive and, in fact, prosper, despite the lack of the kind of major television programming that existed a half-century ago. I can still recall when Arkansas native Johnny Cash had a prime-time television program or when “The Porter Wagoner Show” was widely viewed. Today we have “niche” programming. There are televised “specials” from Nashville, it is true, and major country artists are covered regularly by the major media. And, what’s more, country artists sell and have a steady audience for their work.

Yet, I think it can also be argued that just as in classical music but more successfully, there has been homogenization and over-the-top commercialization in country music which has enabled this to happen. Many country artists and performers, and their songs sound far more “rock” than they once would have. “Cross over” is the apparent key in attracting listeners and to eventual success, including monetary success.

I remember four or five decades ago sitting down with my father on Saturday night to watch “Gunsmoke” and then on Sunday, “Hee Haw.” There was the inimitable “Grandpa” Jones on banjo with some of the best Kentucky “bluegrass,” and, of course, Roy Clark with his mellifluous voice, and, our favorite, “The Barbershop,” usually with Clark playing off as a foil to Archie Campbell’s hilarious word-twisting comedic skill. Was anything ever more humorous than Campbell’s “Cinderfella and her three suggly blisters”? Or, Junior Sample’s profound philosophical comment: “I don’t know much, but I suspect lots of things?”

My classically-oriented mother, however, also had her way, and when the long-running “Friends of the College” classical concert series functioned at North Carolina State University, she and I always went (when I was not away at college); and on such occasions I was privileged to see and hear Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Birgit Nilsson, Richard Tucker, as well as Karl Bohm and Vienna Philharmonic, and Yevgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Symphony, among others. And when the Royal Marines Tattoo came, with their massed Scottish pipes and British bands, my father eagerly accompanied us.

Nixon was president, Vietnam was still going on, and the old America I had grown up in was still visible, still palpable, although we did not perhaps realize at the time that in a few short decades those of us who cherished that old America and its traditions would find ourselves excoriated as “deplorables” and “irremediables,” looked down on with scorn and disdain by the media, by Hollywood, and by academia as boobs and rednecks, who probably kept our racist KKK sheets secreted away in a closet for use on Saturday night.

Roy Clark was an indelible symbol of a cultural legacy; he made people smile using the best elements of traditional country artistry and entertained millions of viewers for nearly a quarter century. Today we live in—we swim in—a deeply divided and feculent society, an America where cultural anarchy and decay reign. In such times, I look back to Roy Clark, to Archie Campbell, to Grandpa Jones—as well as to the familiar voice of Milton Cross announcing over national radio the Metropolitan Opera as he had done every Saturday in season since 1931 (until his death in 1975), proudly broadcast by the major station then in Raleigh, NC, WPTF. Thank goodness Cross did not have to witness what we are surrounded with and call “kulchur” in 2018.

Today, as Roy used to say, “I’m-a-picking, and you’re a-grinning,” and I remember him and those days, those good days, but also those days when too many fateful and terrifying choices were made (or left unmade), intellectually, academically, and culturally. We did not then recognize or see what that would mean.

And now America is perishing, in part, for the lack of a Roy Clark and a Milton Cross.

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Remembering Who We Are—How Memory and Hope Will Give Us Eventual Victory


The late Southern scholar Mel Bradford once used the wording “remembering who we are” as a title to a book of finely-honed essays about his beloved Southland. It seems to me, as Bradford so artfully and gracefully suggested in his writings, it is memory, both individual and collective, which is essential not just to the passed-on heritage of any culture, but to the very existence of that culture, itself. We remember the deeds, the sayings, the handed-down lore, the usages, and the faith of our fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers). Their lessons, their admonitions, their successes (and failures), their examples, even their everyday customs inform us and our actions, and, indeed, help shape our lives and view of life. Historically, these are in many respects the very same accoutrements that give definition and offer the earliest structure to our existence, that define us, and that also provide an inheritance which we, in turn, impart to our offspring and descendants.

It is thus memory that is integral to the continuation of a culture and a people. We inherit the wealth and the richness of the remembered past, and we are impelled to both add to it in our own way and also pass it on. To quote the 12th century theologian, John of Salisbury (a quote often favored by my mentor, the late Russell Kirk):  "We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."

A society—a culture—that discards memory, that cuts itself off from its inheritance, whether purposefully or accidentally, deprives itself of the accumulated richness of that heritage. Of course, there are always those who revile the past and its legacy, or at the very least, seek to modify or transform it. And, no doubt, change and reform, in some degree, are always necessary to any well-functioning society.

There is a fascinating quote from Prince Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s famous novel detailing the turmoil of 19th century Italy, The Leopard (Il Gattopardo): “Things will have to change in order that they remain the same.” There is a wonderful film based on that novel starring, quite improbably, Burt Lancaster which director Luchino Visconti directed (1963), in which the tensions between the immemorial past and the circumstances created by change are vividly explored. 
No society—no culture—can completely denude itself of its inheritance and its history and actually survive. Such experiments in total revolutionary transformation have inevitably ended in bloodshed and incredible destructiveness—in the massacres of the French Revolution, and more recently, in the Gulag and the concentration camp, or of blood soaked Maoism.

Over the past half century and more we have witnessed a different kind of complete revolution; it does not employ as weapons of choice the tank and bayonet, nor of the Gulag as the final destination for unrepentant opponents—at least not yet. It has been an unfolding, all-encompassing cultural movement spanning decades, subverting and then incorporating in its service diverse radical revolutionary elements injected into our educational system, into our entertainment industry, into our politics, even into the very language we use to communicate with each other. The “violence” it metes out is mostly of the cerebral nature, not of the physical kind, but rather predicated on shame, humiliation, fear of the loss of a job or reputation, and the playing on the natural human desire for conformity, while steadily upping the ante in our laws—constantly moving the goalposts of what is acceptable. It is the kind of intellectual “violence,” now writ large, that once impelled people to look the other way when their neighbors were hauled off to Siberia under Stalin, or to Dachau under Hitler.

And it has been highly effective, utilizing as its major weaponry the terrifying twins, the ineradicable accusations of the sins of “racism” and “sexism,” and a whole panoply of subterms that accompany such charges: “white supremacy,” “historic white oppression,” “colonialist imperialism,” “misogyny,” “toxic masculinity,” and increasingly expanded to incorporate terms like “anti-migrant” or “anti-transgender” bigotry.

The overarching desire of this Progressivist Revolution is, in fact, not reform—not what Lampedusa’s character the Prince of Salina says consolingly about some things changing so that other things can remain the same. No, it is incredibly “post-Marxian,” making the older Communist and Marxist revolutionary dreams seem tame in comparison. It invokes and demands a total reversal, a complete transformation in which nearly all, if not all, of those institutions, those traditions, and that inheritance vouchsafed to us from our ancestors is rudely discarded, rejected, and vilely condemned as racist, sexist, fascist—in other words, our remembered past is cut off from us.

And we are then naked before history, isolated individuals, without a heritage, without a past, without family, and without memory: neutralized, bland “tabula rasa” vessels to be filled with the “new” Progressivist ideology that will convert us all into the model obedient automatons only hinted at in Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four or by Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov’s deeply disturbing 1994 film of Stalin’s Russia, Burnt By the Sun.

Such attempts have always run aground when eventually confronted by human nature itself, those God-given natural characteristics ingrained in the human being and psyche that desperately seek belonging, family, a usable history, and memory. In the past all putative totalitarian systems have been impelled to offer substitutes in an attempt to satisfy those natural longings.  Verifiably, none of those ersatz replacements has worked, whether the Goddess of Reason enthroned in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, or the deification of the Worker and Party (or of Chairman Mao) under Communism, or modern appeals to a debauched and poisonous corruption of Christianity. 

Yet such efforts continue, and in our day with increased feverish and fanatical determination. Just take a look at the Web sites of such zealous groups as the Workers World Party (centered in Durham, NC), Redneck Revolt, Black Lives Matter, or various Antifa-related outfits. The chiliastic vision of some future Utopia bleeds through nearly every line, it is right around the corner, if only—if only—all those white supremacists and racists, all those male misogynists, all that historic, European-originated and colonialist bigotry and oppression, could be swept from the scene, and, of course, if only those monuments to Confederate veterans or to Christopher Columbus, and maybe to Thomas Jefferson, too, could be secreted safely away in some remote museum (just a small first step, of course, in the continuing revolution).

And our timorous and pusillanimous elites, those cowardly “guardians” of our culture, those globalists and “deep state” denizens, and those political prostitutes, give way in fearful obeisance and run, cowering, to hide in the tall grass.

It is the lunacy—the sickness—of the madman, but unlike the outbreaks of such contagions in the past, its modern roots are far more demonic, and it is far closer to apparent success. It is best described perhaps in the words of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats in his visionary poem written almost 100 years ago, “The Second Coming,” an intimation of the final emergence of the “Rough Beast,” an incarnation of what can only be described as an “anti-Christ,”

          Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
          Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
          The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
          The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
          The best lack all conviction, while the worst
          Are full of passionate intensity.

          Surely some revelation is at hand;
          Surely the Second Coming is at hand.


          The darkness drops again but now I know
          That twenty centuries of stony sleep
          Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
          And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
          Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.”

This, then, is the ultimate challenge and the multifaceted Enemy—the Legion—we face, which appears to have victory and domination within its grasp. And it is why we must never lose hope, for Our Creator is still Master of the Universe, and His promises are as valid and true now as ever before.

Our watchword—our abiding confidence—may be summed up in the words of early 20th century Spanish writer, Miguel de Unamuno in his volume, The Tragic Sense of Life: “Our life is a hope which is continually converting itself into memory and memory in its turn begets hope.”   

Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

My Anthology of Essays About and in Defense of the South, THE LAND WE LOVE, Is Available Now


It’s available now for purchase—my published anthology of essays, THE LAND WE LOVE, about and in defense of the South and its historic culture and traditions. It is available and may be ordered from at least three sellers (addresses and direct contact information are listed below), from, from Barnes & Noble, and from the publisher, Scuppernong Press (Wake Forest, NC). The book is hardback, with 308 pages.  The “Dean of Southern Historians,” Professor Clyde Wilson (Emeritus, University of South Carolina), authored the Foreword, which reads, in part:

“We Southerners are blessed to have a rich story that is still powerful among us and also far beyond our borders.  That history is envied and hated by postmodern Americans who have no story of their own and work to destroy the memory of ours.   Defending our story is not backward and provincial but is a part of the defense of civilization as we have known it.  Seldom has this defense been made by writers as eloquent and as vastly and broadly learned as Dr. Boyd Cathey.  Herein he has erected a sturdy wall where we can gather to resist the barbarism of our time.” 

We are currently investigating the possibility of having a series of book-signing events where I would be available with copies of the book to personally sign for interested persons. If you (or your organization) would like to host such an event, hopefully with good attendance, please contact the publisher (address below) or me, and perhaps we may set something up. We are open to suggestions.

You will notice, as well, that Amazon features several Marketplace (independent) sellers who offer the book at a slightly reduced price. You can order copies directly from those sellers, using the Amazon portal.  

So far we have six reviewers who will receive signed review copies, but we are also looking for additional reviewers who would receive copies that they would review in a publication, either print or online.  
 --Boyd D. Cathey, November 23, 2018

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey. THE LAND WE LOVE: THE SOUTH AND ITS HERITAGE (Scuppernong Press, November 2018; hardback, 308 pages; Foreword by Dr. Clyde Wilson, Emeritus Professor of History, University of South Carolina)

***SCUPPERNONG PRESS,   P.O. Box 1724, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588 Web Site address:

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Our REAL Thanksgiving and What It Means


As we savor and celebrate this joyous Thanksgiving holiday, as we gather with family and friends, enjoy turkey and baked ham and all the fixins’, and as we are comforted by wonderful fellowships, we do so for the 229th time that the American nation has done so since President George Washington proclaimed a “Day of Publick Thanksgiving,” for November 26, 1789. What is often lost is that this special day is also one for profound reflection, offering gratitude to Our Lord for the blessings and mercies we have received, as well as for rededicating ourselves to Him.

In contemporary America, it seems, this day has become for many simply the “day before Black Friday” and all those great pre-Christmas sales. Or, else, a day to watch the Macy’s Parade or some football.  And, of course, the good food. Yes, indeed, it is all that, but Thanksgiving is much more. President Washington’s proclamation signaled thanks to Almighty God that the new American nation had survived war and, in fact, actually had become a “nation.”

Here is that Proclamation:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Notice in particular the first line of the proclamation:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor….”

This sentiment, this belief was shared by almost all of the Framers of our Constitution. America must be a “Godly land,” or it would fail miserably. And those Fathers of the Constitution specifically acknowledged that.  Although there would no national religious establishment, the respective States of the new republic had every right to continue with their own religious establishments and laws (North Carolina, for instance, required an elected office holder to be a Christian up until its 1868 post-War Between the State constitution was adopted). And even more, after adopting the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—to the Constitution, with its famous clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,” the Congress almost immediately provided for paid chaplains:Congress appointed chaplains for itself and the armed forces, sponsored the publication of a Bible, imposed Christian morality on the armed forces, and granted public lands to promote Christianity among the Indians.” []

It appears obvious what the Framers and our ancestors intended, just as it is equally obvious how the nation that they cobbled together into a confederation, consisting of independent states, was founded on the principle of subsidiarity and states’ rights.  It was a nation grounded not in some flighty, abstract ideology, disconnected from and with no real basis in the citizenry, but rather founded upon the deep-seated and deeply-held traditions and beliefs of those citizens, much of which was inherited from the British Isles and from Europe.

In 2018 we live in profoundly perilous times, times in which arguably one half of our population has been horribly infected with the virus of Progressivist multiculturalism and hyper-political correctness, a poisonous brew that is both intolerant and gangrenous, employing the cudgels of “racism” and “sexism” as weapons of suppression and of its advancing totalitarian agenda which will brook no opposition, not any. For any poor soul who should venture even a mild demurrer, there comes the death sentence, the accusation of “racism,” or of “white supremacy,” or of “toxic masculinity.” And then the demand that the humiliated transgressor repent, again and again, prostrate himself before the new god of political correctness, and, probably lose his position or job, suffer abuse and recrimination, his reputation ruined…and perhaps in the future, even a cold jail cell as his destination.

This is not a surreal nightmare, not a bad dream; in America of 2018 it is a growing and horrifying reality.

And so, on this Thanksgiving, I think it even more appropriate for us to remind ourselves that this holiday is also one for our own rededication to the old Republic, to our historic inheritance, and to Our Blessed Lord…and for our own understanding of not just the sacrifices made by our ancestors, but as well the sacrifices—and they may well be great—required of each of us, if our nation and our families may survive.

In scouring over the words of previous presidents, I came across the following proclamation, a proclamation issued by President Jefferson Davis on July 25, 1863, shortly after Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. It combines words of “thanksgiving” and a supplication to God for His mercy, with an appeal to the citizens of the Confederacy who have been chastened by defeat, and who face hardship and suffering.

In 2018 those words equally apply to us: “that from Him, in His paternal providence…whether in victory or defeat, our humble supplications are due to His footstool,” but never to despair, for He is Lord.



The Confederate States - Again do I call upon the people of the Confederacy -- a people who believe that the Lord reigneth, and that His overruling Providence ordereth all things -- to unite in prayer and humble submission under His chastening hand, and to beseech His favor on our suffering country.

It is meet that when trials and reverses befall us we should seek to take home to our hearts and consciences the lessons which they teach, and profit by the self-examination for which they prepare us. Had not our success on land and sea made us self-confident and forgetful of our reliance on Him? Had not the love of lucre eaten like a gangrene into the very heart of the land, converting too many of us into worshippers of gain and rendering them unmindful of their duty to their country, to their fellow-men, and to their God? Who, then, will presume to complain that we have been chastened, or to despair of our just cause and the protection of our Heavenly Father?

Let us rather receive in humble thankfulness the lesson which He has taught in our recent reverses, devoutly acknowledging that to Him, and not to our own feeble arms, are due the honor and the glory of victory; that from Him, in His paternal providence, come the anguish and sufferings of defeat, and that, whether in victory or defeat, our humble supplications are due to His footstool.

Now, therefore, I, JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of these Confederate States, do issue this, my Proclamation, setting apart Friday, the 21st day of August ensuing, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer; and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to repair, on that day, to their respective places of public worship, and to unite in supplication for the favor and protection of that God who has hitherto conducted us safely through all the dangers that environed us.

In faith whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

By the President: JEFFERSON DAVIS.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Thanksgiving Wishes to All – The First Thanksgiving Was in Virginia, not Massachusetts


In addition to wishing each of you and your families a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving, I will pass on to you today some “real” history.

For as long as most of us can recall, via our schools, those special television programs, handed-down lore, and overwhelming commercialization the Thanksgiving holiday has been thought of as a kind of commemoration in family and with friends of what is called “the First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts,” held by those revered “Pilgrim Fathers” (I suppose today in this age of political correctness we should probably say “Pilgrim men, women, transgenders, and transsexuals”…although, as far as I know no fancy Harvard feminist historian has yet unearthed any proof that any of those rather stern religious Pilgrims was anything but traditional by current standards; but I’m not holding my breath!).

A bit later I share with you something on this story, for it is not exactly correct.

In family, as I remember my early Thanksgivings, we assembled to give thanks, first to Almighty God for the blessings, even the rather meager ones, we had received, for our health, for a good harvest and for the goodness of creation, and, most of all, for family. Only surpassed perhaps by Christmas (or our respective birthdays), Thanksgiving was a time when those sweet and delicious smells coming out of mother’s (and grandmother’s) kitchen tempted us with anticipation. The women—usually several generations, maybe including aunts and cousins—worked tirelessly to create some amazing and sumptuous dishes for our repast. Usually there was a grand turkey, baked with maybe stuffing inside, or perhaps yams; and there was baked ham also (some relatives always preferred it, but only a few!). And then, in addition to the stuffing, there was always an assortment of "side" items—corn, maybe on the cob; homemade mashed potatoes (I liked mine a little lumpy); corn and bread pudding; string beans (that had been canned just the summer before); and sometimes some salads, sometimes really fancy congealed ones.

And who can forget those desserts? The chess and chocolate pies and coconut cakes, the scrumptious puddings? Sometimes we had specially-made pastries and cookies—they usually took a long time to make, but, my, what tasty delights. I can until this day taste the homemade gingerbread and sugar cookies, fresh from the oven.

While the women cooked and prepared, the menfolk would gather in another room, some smoking cigars or pipes, with heavy conversation, either about how things had gone on during the recent harvest, or maybe about politics (those things strictly limited to men, not for the women).

And we children? Well, if it were a nice day and not too cold, we played outside, maybe hide-and-seek or some other such game. The older boys would often play touch football, even occasionally a few hoops.

But when the dinner call came, usually from grandmother, all of us—men and children—would hurry to the dining room where we all had assigned places. For the smaller children there was usually a separate table, and only when we children reached a certain age, usually around thirteen or so, were we permitted to sit at the adult table—and then not to speak unless spoken to or invited to by an adult. We knew that and we respected it, and in many ways we treasured that custom. We understood that in family there was and must be a hierarchy.

After the blessing, usually given by granddad, or sometimes by my father, and on one or two occasions, by special request, by one of the children, everyone enjoyed the gracious meal which might well last a considerable part of the afternoon.

I remember that afterwards the men would sometimes take a walk, inviting us children to accompany them…walking off the weight, my grandmother would say, although I never witnessed much reduction in anyone’s waistline.

The one thing that was impressed on us was this: we were thankful and grateful for our family, for our country and our inherited beliefs, and for the goodness that God had granted us. I never forgot that meaning, and it remains with me today, many decades after those childhood memories were formed.

My wish, then, for each of you is that your Thanksgiving be a blessed one, in family and with friends, and that through the fellowship and the breaking of bread together we acknowledge the great gifts vouchsafed us from Our Lord.

A very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you all and your families!

Lastly, as I wrote at the beginning of this installment of MY CORNER, over the years Thanksgiving has been associated with Plymouth and the Pilgrims. But leave it to our northern brethren to appropriate the holiday while ignoring the reality that the very first Thanksgiving was held near Jamestown, Virginia, before those “Pilgrim Fathers” ever assembled. And I pass on a well-documented item that offers some remarkable insight on this topic. I think you’ll find it quite interesting:

The First Thanksgiving Took Place in Virginia, not Massachusetts


Years of elementary school history lessons taught us that Plymouth, Massachusetts, was the site of the first Thanksgiving. Those lessons were false. A year and 17 days before those Pilgrims ever stepped foot upon New England soil, a group of English settlers led by Captain John Woodlief landed at today’s Berkeley Plantation, 24 miles southwest of Richmond. After they arrived on the shores of the James River, the settlers got on their knees and gave thanks for their safe passage. There was no traditional meal, no lovefest with Native Americans, no turkey. America’s first Thanksgiving was about prayer, not food. That came later….

On September 16th, 1619, the Margaret departed Bristol, England, bound for the New World. Aboard the 35-foot-long ship were 35 settlers, a crew, five “captain’s assistant”, a pilot, and Woodlief, a much-experienced survivor of the 1609/1610 Jamestown’s “Starving Time.” The mission of those aboard Margaret was to settle 8,000 acres of land along the James River that had been granted to them by the London-based Berkeley Company. They were allowed to build farms, storehouses, homes, and a community on company land. In exchange, they were contracted as employees, working the land and handing over crops and profits to the company.

After a rough two-and-a-half months on the Atlantic, the ship entered the Chesapeake Bay on November 28, 1619. It took another week to navigate the stormy bay, but they arrived at their destination, Berkeley Hundred, later called Berkeley Plantation, on December 4. They disembarked and prayed. Historians think there was nothing but old ship rations to eat, so the settlers may have concocted a meal of oysters and ham out of necessity rather than celebration. At the behest of written orders given by the Berkeley Company to Captain Woodlief, it was declared that their arrival must “be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” And that’s exactly what they did–for two years. On March 22, 1622, Powhatan, who’d realized the settlers intended to expand their territory and continue their attempts to convert and “civilize” them, attacked Berkeley and other settlements, killing 347. Woodlief survived, but soon after, Berkeley Hundred was abandoned. For three centuries, America’s first Thanksgiving was lost to history.

Graham Woodlief is a direct descendant of Captain Woodlief. While he’s known his family’s history since being a teenager, he’s devoted a considerable amount of energy to research since he retired in 2009. Today, Woodlief is president of the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, which has been held annually since 1958. Woodlief says he thinks the major reason that Plymouth, and not Berkley, is universally thought to be the site of the first Thanksgiving is that “they had better PR than we did.” He also said the emphasis on prayer, instead of Plymouth’s festive harvest meal, also made Virginia’s Thanksgiving a bit less appealing, though more accurate. “In fact, most Thanksgivings in the early days were religious services, not meals,” Woodlief says.

309 years after the 1622 battle with the Powhatans, Berkeley Plantation’s missing history was rediscovered. In 1931, retired William & Mary President (and son of President John Tyler) Dr. Lyon G. Tyler was working on a book about early Virginia history. While doing research, he stumbled upon the Nibley Papers, documents and records taken by John Smyth of Nibley, Gloucestershire, about the 1619 settlement of Berkeley. Originally published by the New York State Library in 1899, the papers’ historical significance had gone undetected. According to Virginia historians, the papers are concrete proof that the New World’s “day of Thanksgiving” originated in their region. Upon his discovery, Tyler told Malcolm Jamieson, who had inherited Berkeley plantation in the 1920s. The plantation was already considered one of the more historic homes in the state, once a residence to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the birthplace of a US President. Now, it had another feather in its historic hat. Jamieson, with the help of descendants of Captain Woodlief, instituted the first Virginia Thanksgiving Festival in 1958. It’s been celebrated ever since.

While locals are convinced about Berkeley’s place among Thanksgiving lore, the rest of the country has been a tougher sell. Throughout the 1960s, Virginia state Senator John J. Wicker Jr. took it upon himself to tell the world of the real story of the first Thanksgiving. He pleaded Virginia’s case to Massachusetts governor John A. Volpe. He went on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson dressed in full 17th-century settler garb. When President Kennedy gave his 1962 Thanksgiving Proclamation and said that Plymouth was the site of the first Thanksgiving, it was Wicker who chastised the White House for ignoring Virginia. Much to his surprise, he received a reply from Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s appointed historian and speechwriter. Schlesinger’s response was also amazingly candid: “The President has asked me to reply to your telegram… You are quite right and I can only plead an unconquerable New England bias on the part of the White House staff… I can assure you the error will not be repeated in the future.”

And it wasn’t. In Kennedy’s 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation (made 17 days before his assassination), the president acknowledged Virginia’s claim, saying “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving.” In 2007, President George W. Bush also noted the history while visiting Berkeley Plantation, commenting that, “The good folks here say that the founders of Berkeley held their celebration before the Pilgrims had even left port. As you can imagine, this version of events is not very popular up north.”

Today, hundreds of people attend the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival every year on the first Sunday of November (it was originally held in December, but moved years ago in hopes of having better weather). “We want to set history straight,” Woodlief says. “It is an important historical event that happened in Virginia. It needs to be recognized as such.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 19, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Latest Published Essay in CHRONICLES Magazine: Who Is Responsible for the Political Violence in Our Society?


I pass on to you my latest essay published in CHRONICLES Magazine, today November 19. It represents a slight editing of my October 29 installment in the MY CORNER series. CHRONICLES is in many ways the “grandfather” of traditional, America First conservatism (as opposed to the globalist Neoconservatism). It was founded in 1976, as an outgrowth and product of The Rockford Institute, and has heralded and presented some of the finest essayists and writers of the traditional Right, including Patrick Buchanan, Anthony Esolen, Clyde Wilson, and the late French philosopher/essayist Claude Polin. This is my fifth essay in the magazine, either in its print edition or online.


who is really responsible for political violence?

By:Boyd D. Cathey | November 19, 2018

For the past year or so—and especially since the badly constructed pipe bombs (none of which went off) that were sent to various Democratic Party leaders and to certain national leftist personalities, and then the hate-filled rampage by a crazed anti-Semite at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh—the mainstream media, including many of the supposed conservative commentators at Fox, have been all a-twitter with demands that President Trump “lower the volume.” From Ed Henry to the vaunted “Fox All Stars” that visit our television sets nightly, from Jonah Goldberg and A. B. Stoddard and others, there has been a demand that somehow the president implicitly  must “do his part” to refrain from “inciting the violence.”

Of course, what the pundits have attempted is to establish an equivalence between what Donald Trump has said on the campaign trail, his colorful language and his use of playful imagery, and the far more dour and angry radical advocacy and language of those on the Left. In this way, they think, if both Right and Left are properly chastised, then the “bad language and incitements” from the “Deplorables” can be offset: thus, both Right and Left, in this narrative, need to “refrain from inflammatory language,” and specifically President Trump needs to stop using his tried-and-true and very popular images: no more “lock her up” demands.

Thus, the Fox pundits earnestly implore him to cease his counterblasts against “fake news” and against the blatant and outright misrepresentation and lies foisted off nightly not just by mainstream media but by much of the entertainment industry (e.g., just take a look at late night television), academia (hundreds of shrill calls for violence by Leftist faculty against conservatives, e.g., Berkeley and dozens of other colleges), and the vast campaign to foment violence against conservatives on the Internet. Somehow Donald Trump, simply by responding to his unhinged enemies, bears some, perhaps equal, responsibility for what has happened in recent weeks.

And for mainstream media, President Trump bears the major share of responsibility. It is almost as if he were the one who carelessly wrapped the faulty pipe bombs and placed them in the mail; it is almost as if he was standing behind the vicious and deranged shooter who invaded the Pittsburgh synagogue. (The shooter was actually a violent anti-Trumper, but you won’t hear that from most of the media.)

So goes the Leftist template: it is the president, through his language who is responsible for violence; not those hundreds of leftists who take part in “non-mobs.”

“Non-mobs”? Well, you see, CNN, MSNBC, and the mainstream have banned the use of the word “mobs”—the folks engaged in what we would call “mobs” (e.g., the takeover of streets in Portland, Oregon, by Antifa, who then assaulted elderly drivers, or the violent toppling of the Durham, NC, Confederate monument) were, to quote Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, “exercising their constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate.”

Got that?

But it is far more serious. For the language and, most importantly, the intent of the forces engaged in this debate are far different. There is, in fact, no equivalence between what the Left has been spewing forth—and doing—since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, and the president’s response to it. And the Fox—and other conservative—pundits are dead wrong, both morally and politically, to accept such an equivalence.

Almost from the beginning of the Trump presidency the forces of the Deep State, that is, the Washington-on-the-Potomac and New York establishment, have responded with a fury unequaled in American history—save, perhaps, for the critical months of late 1860 into early 1861, and we know how that ended. And it has not just been by their language but by their actions: hundreds of unhinged and unleashed “mob” actions, many of which have bordered on real violence, and not a few that were violent.

The list now amounts to hundreds of violent assaults by the minions of Leftist ideology. Just consider these recent instances and statistics (most not reported by mainstream media):

—“Rap Sheet: ***70*** Acts of Media-Approved Violence and Harassment Against Trump Supporters,” July 5, 2018: 

Yet all through 2017 and most of 2018 the mainstream media has either ignored these provocations, or, at best, given them short shrift, passing them off on page 37 in a small, insignificant column in The Washington Post or The New York Times, or simply not reporting on them at all. But now the MSM literally spends weeks with blaring “news alerts,” screaming headlines 24/7, and accusations comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler (see in particular, The Washington Post, “Don’t Compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It Belittles Hitler,” September 13, 2018), and informing us in ominous and frightening tones that our president is directly responsible for the “climate of hate” and for an “environment that foments violence” and for “threatening our democracy.”

And all the while, for nearly two years, it has been those mavens of the media, those overpaid and woefully under-talented Hollywood icons, those mentally corrupted academics, those fanatical mobs of #Resistance and #MeToo demonstrators, and those sexless and brain-dead feminists, who are the responsible ones, those who have initiated a violence-prone and violence-producing condition in this nation.

What Donald Trump has done is reply; and he has done so with humor and ridicule. No, he has not asked the Deplorables to—quoting Maxine Waters and other leading Democrats—“get in the face” of his opponents, to follow them home, to bang on their doors, to follow them into restaurants and shout them down. . . . He has not asked his supporters to take over entire streets in Portland and assault passersby. And when a Leftist attempted to assassinate Republican congressmen at a baseball game, it was not Donald Trump who was responsible; nor was he responsible for sending highly poisonous ricin in the mail to prominent Republicans, nor for the violent attacks and trashing of the GOP headquarters in Manhattan or Orange County, North Carolina, nor for a re-enactment of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, in which the role of Caesar is played by a Donald Trump look-a-like who is brutally murdered.

Yet the response of those new paragons and arbiters of moral rectitude at CNN and MSNBC, at the Times and the Post, is—in their most insufferable pose—to pronounce an anathema on the president and his supporters, as if it came down as a voice from Mount Olympus.

And at the very same time, in the middle of the coverage of the pipe-bombs, came this: The New York Times ran an article fantasizing about the assassination of the president [October 25, 2018].

Apparently, the editors at the “old grey lady” see no inconsistency between their withering attacks on Donald Trump as a provocateur and responsible for violence, and their own blatant incitements to assassination.

There is, of course, a larger issue here. President Trump’s attacks on the media and his leftist opponents are always laced with his unique brand of humor, that New Yorker “you’se guys are idiots!” style of over-the-top braggadocio and insults that make us smile and laugh. We get that. Even his recent aside about “body-slamming” a reporter (while he was in Montana) was uttered humorously, metaphorically, with a broad smile on his face . . . and was understood by his supporters that way.

Of course, there are always a few nuts out there; but those few deranged folks are always out there, and nothing Donald Trump says in his rollicking campaign rallies will either dissuade them from committing what they hope to commit, or convince them to be law-abiding citizens.

The difference is this: those folks who have supported the president, those “Deplorables,” are mostly average hard-working, God-fearing, go-to-church-on-Sunday, “normal” people. By nature they are “conservative” in the way they live. They do not get out in the streets; they do not gather in mobs. Even when pleaded with to demonstrate for some truly worthy cause (e.g, pro-life), most of our folks do not. Such action—demonstrations, marches—are not inbred in our DNA. We were not raised that way; we usually have too much going on in our own families, in our work, in our lives. And the idea of spending time ranting and raving or beating on innocent drivers, or gathering to scream profanity and pull down historic monuments, is foreign to us.

When Donald Trump uses colorful language, we laugh and we smile. It’s imagery we can identify with. We’ve been frustrated for years that the establishment takes us for granted, abuses us, manipulates us. But our revenge was at the ballot box back in 2016; it is not in sending lethal ricin to our enemies or attempting to assassinate Democrats or fantasizing about killing Obama.

That is the difference, and it is what distinguishes us from the unleashed lunatics on the Left and who now dominate the Democratic Party. And we don’t need pundits, including those on Fox, who show up nightly to lecture us (and the president) that we are responsible for the violence.

No. What has happened is not Donald Trump’s fault; he did not cause it, he is not responsible for it. Two years of Leftist over-top-madness are.

  June 10, 2024   MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey   North Carolina’s Mark Robinson and the Uncontrolled Rage of the Left ...