What do you bring people who are sick and tired of hearing about politics? Why more politics! Suck it up people, everything is politics. And on this night when we are all setting around the TV and computer waiting to hear the results so we can either gloat to our misguided friends and family or go into hiding for three days (kind of like SEC football), we should all sit back and take things easy. I mean you think OUR time period has dirty campaigning and political ads? Well you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve run for office in 19th century Tennessee. That was a time of politicking.
Which got me to thinking…wasn’t Andrew Jackson promised another guest blogging shot? I think he was and I for one am not one to go around angering Old Hickory. The big cable news channels and regular networks will bring you the pontificating of various strategists, reporters, and commentators, but no one else will bring you the inside look at the political trail from the perspective of our seventh president.
So without further ado I hand over the blogging duties to our good friend President Andrew Jackson…
– Southern Blogger
Thank you Southern Blogger,
It’s good to be back. Not many 19th century former presidents have done took to the inter nets but I’ve been a proponent of blogging for some time now. See folks like ol’ John Quincy Adams like to talk about how smart they are and such just cause their daddies get on HBO and they make a guest appearance on a Spielberg picture show, but that’s a load of week old turnip greens. It ain’t right and it just smells funny.
Well I’m back now by popular acclaim. I always was the man of the people, and I was so popular the last time I done blogged, the people spoke and here I am on this here world wide web. I’ve been following the campaign for president y’all got going on and I am very unimpressed with these here candidates. I mean do either of ’em know how shoot a pea off of a skunks behind at twenty paces? Any of ’em ever take a state from a f’urin power just with an ornery look, a rusty cannon, and a loaded Colt? Any of ’em ever saved New Orleans? I figure they could lose it. Can they even run a non sissy britches, raw hide, whiskey bent hell fire and damnation of a political campaign? I thought not.
Well, here we are then. I’m here to tell all you future candidates for high office, whether president of these States United or Knox County log cabin inspector of them intricacies and aggravations of a political candidacy. If you take to heart my easy to follow advice, you too will soon be closing down no good stock jobbing banks and runnin’ them redcoats out of our continent.
STEP ONE: GENERATE TURNOUT
Now friends, this one should be easy. If you can’t get people to come out and vote for you, then well you ain’t gonna win no office. A horse can’t be no thoroughbred if them other horses say it’s a mule. And that’s that.
But the question then is, well then how do you get people to come out and vote for you? Well, this is where people in your time just have it plum wrong. And I mean as wrong as Henry Clay singing during a sponge bath. That kind of wrong. I’ve been to your polling places. I’m even registered as a Jacksonian Democrat. But I got to tell you, you get nothing for going to the polls these days. Well a little sticker patch that says you done voted. That and some dern fools trying to hand you ballots already filled in with the people you ain’t even gonna vote fer.
In my day we had a sure fire way to get out the voters. Libations. I mean brandy, wine, port, whiskey, punch, ale, and even lager beer fer them German immigrants. Electoring was a party and if you didn’t have the right stuff on hand, you didn’t win. I’m telling you even the Father of this here country George Washington lost his first election because he didn’t bring him some hooch. America was founded on liquor, smuggling it, not paying taxes on it, and writing Constitutions on it. You can look it up…well not in them sissy britch textbooks you can’t.
STEP TWO: GET THE UNDECIDED VOTERS
Now this here is considered great political wisdom today. If you hadn’t noticed some pretty poor canards passes for wisdom these days when it comes to politics. Of course you want to get them undecideds. Everybody knows your kin, your kin’s kin, your kin in laws, and your friends that are such friends they is nearly kin are gonna vote for you. And of course you know that them other feller’s no good kin, and varmit friends is gonna vote for his side. So you need to get them other people. The problem was (and is) in Tennessee that that leaves only about twenty or thirty people left to go out and get.
They is the worst people let me tell you. Them people that can’t make up their minds. Do they want gravy or molasses on their biscuits? These are them folks that wants both. But you can’t have both. That would be bipartisan and that’s disgusting. It’s like I always said “that might be something a hog would eat, but I ain’t got to swaller it”.
So I had a tried and true method to get them extra votes. I used my old hickory cane. Now any proper gentleman’s got to have him a cane. I noticed these here Senate folks today ain’t got no time fer it. Well then, I’d just love to be in the Senate today, because I’d have one and then I could do some persuading.
If you are denser than John C. Calhoun after his hanging and don’t catch my meaning I feel sorry fer you. It’s pretty durn simple. Use your persuasion stick to help jump start their noggins. Either they see the error of their ways or they won’t find themselves to the polls. Either way, you got yourself the undecided vote.
STEP THREE: DEAL WITH NEGATIVE ADS
Now this here one really gets my goat. Them simple no good sons of a guns that run then no account attack hand bills in the newspapers and then hide behind their campaigns, or better yet trees (when the time comes to make amends). This of course is a word y’all all know and understand…. poltroonery. I done hate poltroons. I hate poltroons like nothing else in the world. Them feckless, hyena breathing, tea sippin’, bullet duckin’, treaty makin’, Harvard goin’, willy whistlin’, Brit bungling’, stock jobbin’, bank bringin’ cowardly fools.
Now I’ve dealt with my share of attack ads. I remember this here one from one of my first presidential bids. Cost me the election. A cabal of poltroonish partners named Clay and Adams got together and found some scribes to print up this little ditty. You see it? They done printed a picture of me whoopin’ on some rascal (that deserved it) as if it were some kind of crime, and then had the gall to put a bunch of coffins on top of the page of all them men I supposedly assassinated.
Can you believe that? The whole thing were a bunch of damn lies! Everybody knows I killed more than six. You see my point? If the good people of Tennessee thought I only won six duels in my lifetime I’d have never gotten past county attorney. Six! That is an insult!
But here’s the point. Learn you some code duello and find you a trusty second and you will soon put an end to them political attacks. Shoot, you’d even have them “print-troons” working for you they’d be so scared. That’s called rising above the fray.
STEP FOUR: STICK TO YOUR MESSAGE
The real reason people done hate politicians is because too many of them make a bunch of promises and then get to Washington and get all cozy with them good fer nothing lobster mongering Federalists. They done ferget about Kentucky and their Western roots and settle in with the Adams crowd. They think because they get to be big ole senators that they don’t have to bring home the bacon (literally…in my time you actually had to bring home several pounds of bacon to your district). I’m talking about you Henry Clay! You name the time and place. We can have us an “interview”!
But back to my point….Henry Clay is the Bonaparte of Poltroonery. His ambition hath no bounds but he will run hiself up the wrong tree. Me…well I always stuck to my message. It was pretty simple….death to poltroons, an end to all banks, a big middle finger to them redcoats, and whiskey and cheese for all Americans.
You can call me corny, you can call me old fashioned…and you can call me a two term president!
STEP FIVE: BE GRACIOUS NO MATTER WHAT
Now friends, sometimes it can be easy to win an election and gloat over the misfortune of your opponent. But that wouldn’t be gracious now would it? The Good Book says we are supposed to get along with our enemies and turn our cheeks and all that. And who am I to disagree? I was always gracious to my defeated opponents. I even paid for a few of their funerals.
This of course applies only to worthy foes. It don’t apply to poltroons that make up nefarious stories about your wife or who undercount your dueling prowess or who are named Clay. For those people there ain’t no cheek turning. For those people win or lose it’s best for them to get out of town.
Did you ever hear what John Quincy Adams said at my inauguration? Of course you didn’t because that rascal didn’t stick around long enough to hear it. Although he missed out on some grade A cheese block, he was pretty smart in the end I guess. He figured I was none too happy about the fact that his campaign put my poor Rachel in her grave. And I suppose he had enough brains to know he wanted to keep his brains. All I’m saying is he knew enough math to figure out the quickest coach from Washington city to New England.
And I was gracious enough to let him have a head start. Sometimes I think I’m getting too soft in old age.
Your Humble Obedient Servant,
– A. Jackson
We’re here in Jackson Square, New Orleans. In my opinion it’s the most beautiful part of one of America’s most beautiful cities. New Orleans was a city that changed hands between the French and Spanish several times before finally becoming a part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase. Yet it was nearly lost to the British twelve years later. The story of how a grudge helped save the city of New Orleans for the United States is a quite a tale from history. And who better to tell that story, legend, or cartooned anachronism better than our old friend Andrew Jackson.
You may remember President Jackson from an earlier piece I did called “How to Defend Your Honor“. It was quite fascinating to hear the intricate details on how to properly, professionally, and purposely kill your enemies. It remains one of the most popular pieces ever in the (short) history of The South Will Blog Again! As I promised a few months ago, we’d have Andrew Jackson back. So without further ado I present my old friend Old Hickory…
Hello again gentle readers. It’s been a few months since I’ve last guest blogged for this site. Since then I’ve been told it’s grown quite a bit in popularity. No doubt I had a good deal to do with it. People are always looking for dueling advice on the World Wide Web, and what better place to get it than this site? In any case I’m glad to see that the increased site visitation has plumb improved the quality of the drawings. It used to be much cruder around here. Why I looked like a Tom Turkey trying to squeeze out golden Goose eggs in that there last post. Doubtless I am more properly drawn and attired for this piece.
And what a piece it is. I get to talk about my SECOND favorite topic (the first is smoking poltroons)…revenge. And not just revenge against one rascal but an entire nation of rascals…the British. Now Southern Blogger has told me that y’all and the British are friends now and have been for some time. I keep forgetting that’s the case now…partly because I forget lots of things besides my enemies list. Well, bygones be bygones let me tell you the story of why I hate them redcoats and then what I did about it…
I was born in the Waxhaws. Some folks think that’s in South Carolina and some folks say it’s in North Carolina. We were never really sure. If it was in South Carolina we weren’t like them pink Palmetto sissy britches on here last week. Nor like that rascal John C. Calhoun I nearly strung up for sassin’. No, we were pure backwoods. That might surprise you being that I’m quite proper and all. Or maybe not.
My people were from Ireland but were Scotch Presbyterians. You call them Scotch-Irish today…well and lots of other things. Folks never did like my people. Well, my daddy died before I was born and me and my siblings well we come up real hard and all. Mother did the best she could and we all helped around the homestead. I was apprenticed as a boy but never did take the the trades much. I wanted to see action. And we got plenty of it during the end of the Revolutionary War.
Things were rough in the Western Carolinas. We had lots of in-fighting and feuding between the true Patriot side and them knock kneed Tories. I could give you the details but you might as well watch Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” for the real story. He’s real good at telling history just the way it was.
Back in 1781 we had a bunch of massacring going on. Killed of a bunch of my kin. Made me a real angry lad. To top it all off one of them finely dressed British officers came to our place. He was knocking things around and causing a scene. Maybe his powdered wig was on too tight. His soldiers were stealing our chickens and messing up the garden. Believe me when I say I told them what I thought. Then that officer got real smart and ordered me to shine his boots. He didn’t think much of me or knew I was already helping out the Patriot Cause. Well that being said I wasn’t no boot shiner. I didn’t take kindly to it at all. He took his sword and rose to strike me. I blocked him but he cut my left arm and face. He left a scar…and a very angry boy.
After that day I vowed revenge against the British Empire. Not just that one officer, or his regiment, nor even his king. No I swore revenge against the entire British Empire. I might be a loose cannon but I like to aim high. And I don’t need to remind y’all that I shoot straight…and to kill.
In the meantime I got a lot of fighting experience in my time. I was an Indian fighter on the frontier as you might know but did my best fighting in politics. No, I’m not talking in a metaphor right now, I mean I actually did some great fighting. I got myself a law degree, made it into public office and one by one worked my way up the ladder into the new state of Tennessee.
Tennessee was my kind of place. You couldn’t get elected hog catcher in Tennessee unless you proved your manhood with a test of combat. Could be in war, could be the other kind. I had plenty of both under my belt so I rose kinda far. And well there were plenty of sniveling poltroons in my way I left dead behind me. I ain’t gonna apologize.
Well…it still took a lot of work to rise pretty far and we had lots of wars and raids along the frontier. Then the War of 1812 came along. Them British were taking our sailors and pressing them into their service, insulting our flag, and harassing us along the border. They were clearly behind all the frontier raids. I know. I could just smell it. Every time the hen starts to howl you know the red rooster is stealing the eggs. That’s a metaphor by the way.
I can’t say I was sorry to see the war come. I always liked a good fight. Especially against them British. I was sent to the West Florida region and you can say I picked a few scraps down there. I fought anywhere and everywhere I could and I didn’t mind who wanted to fight for me whether they be red men, white men or black men. Just as long as they weren’t red coats!
But I have no qualms in saying I was an ambitious man. Overall the war was going bad because of them snivelers and stockjobbers back in Washington and I needed to prove myself and single-handedly save the nation. Quite a task for a humble man like me.
Then came New Orleans.
The British were sending some crack troops toward the Gulf of Mexico. They were fresh from whooping up on Bonaparte and no doubt they thought they were going to chase us like a pack of hounds going for a wounded duck hanging on a rabbit’s legs. They were aiming for New Orleans and with that the whole of the Mississippi River. America would then be cut in twain. Well I wasn’t going to let that happen. So I took my men and went to New Orleans to defend the city. I needed extra recruits. I didn’t care where they came for and I didn’t ask any persnickety questions. Questions as you know are for poltroons.
Now obviously some folks didn’t like the kind of people I had in my army. They also didn’t like the idea of how I was going to defend their city to the last. You got to keep in mind that a lot of French people were still in charge of New Orleans. I’m not saying they are a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys, but they were fond of cheese, had big ears, and well were fixin’ to surrender. A least I suspected some of them of it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not some kind ignorant backwoods ogre. I cut quite a dashing figure in polite society. The ladies did love to dance a turn with me, but I was always partial to my Rachel. Well nevertheless the poltroonish behavior of some of the leading “men” did tweek my nerves. I’m not a man who likes being tweeked. I declared martial law. Some of them protested. One said he was a mayor, or a lawyer, or a judge or something. You’ll have to look it up in the history books. I paid him no mind. Any gentleman who had trouble sleeping at night because of my battle plans…well I found them more suitable lodgings.
The British landed in mid December. I had employed our navy and a local sailor of…let’s just say ‘fortune” to disrupt their plans. I also sent my men to attack and provoke the British just below the city. It was a gamble to attack a superior force. For all I knew they had some 25,000 men. I could only round up a few thousand. We slowed their attack and began to dig in. They could no longer take the city quickly and now had to run through us to get their prize. Well I wasn’t in the mood for gift giving…
So I lined up my men along a canal. We dug the canal ditch deeper and placed cotton bales, earth, planks and any kind of barrier we could up for protection. Like my men, it was a rag tag looking bunch…but quite fierce. The terrain in front of the ditch was swampy and descended on down to the river. Only a foolish blockhead would attack our force head on. And I knew them redcoats to have lots of blockheads as officers.
Well around the 8th of January they attacked us. They sent some of their best soldiers our way I have to say. Shame some their good soldiers had such cud peddlers to lead them. They hit us again and again, but my men and our breastworks held. Them redcoats poured what they could into us, but they got stuck in the swamps and couldn’t push past us. So they turned and skedaddled it back to their ships and away from New Orleans. Sounds like it’d make for a great song.
New Orleans was saved. By me. Folks later told me that the peace treaty had already been signed. They claimed our battle didn’t really matter. Well you can believe that if you believe that the British Empire, or any empire or country in that situation would have ever given back New Orleans and with it the Mississippi River. Nope, we turned the polecats against the hounds and sent them dogs barking back across the Atlantic.
As for me? Well my enemies on THIS side of the ocean were downtrodden. Ole Andy here became the toast of the nation and it got me all the way to the White House. There I fought the Sally Britches-Bankers, the Tom Fool Eastern lawyers, the Poltoony Politicians, and every one of them backstabbing curs that ever said a bad word about me, my family, my men, my home of Tennessee, and my beloved Rachel. I beat them all down…
And I never did shine them boots.
I’m hanging out with my good friend Preston Brooks touring the Museum of Southern Honor. I’m getting an insider’s view on what it takes to cause a ruckus Southern style. We are an eccentric people, and even when we are angered, ornery, or downright rambunctious, we tend to do it with our own unique style.
For example, Mr. Brooks tells me that he originally only intended to hit Charles Sumner on the head one time, but that caning someone on the head three times was more spectacular. He used a “trick” guta percha cane which broke dramatically upon his opponent’s skull for effect. He also could have simply performed this act in private, but instead chose to confront poltroonery out on the Senate floor, in front of other elected officials and the visiting public. If you don’t recall, Senator Sumner of Massachusetts insulted Mr. Brooks’ relative and the entire State of South Carolina back in 1856. Mr. Brooks told me that “skullduggery can be ignored, but perfidy of the highest order, must be dealt with in high fashion.”South Carolinians are if nothing else, fashionable to the umpteenth degree.
This insider’s view is one of the perks of my job as your trusty Southern Blogger. Whenever I need to learn about Southern culture in the past, I simply draw up historical figures and ask them. You’d be surprised how adept many of them are at blogging and other social media. And this week, we will be discussing Southerners both of the distant and recent past, about that certain flair it takes down here to get you noticed and to create a good old-fashioned scandal. So without further ado, I bring you HOW TO…CAUSE A SCENE.
The Old South: Brawlers and Nose Pullers
Remember our old friend Andrew Jackson? He had some great advice a few months back about defending personal honor. You see my friends President Jackson was (and remains) one of the world’s greatest duelists. He could follow the code duello to a T, write threatening greetings with great aplomb, and also kill his enemies with the finest of manners. But there also comes a time and place where one must put aside the gentlemanly code and flat out brawl. He could do that too.
For example, sometimes a rascal is just plain asking for it. He might be a no good varmint of poltroon, not worthy of a gunfight or even a good caning. When someone absolutely, positively has to be put in their place publicly you go for the muzzle pull. That’s right, just reach out there and yank your enemy’ nose. It tells the public this scoundrel is a mean sunofgun worthy only of the time to drop him to the floor. It’s dramatic, short, and quite effective.
Of course, you tend to cane, nose pull, and duel folks a lot when you make enemies the way Jackson did. President Jackson grew up rough and tough, and learned to fight even tougher. He once was slashed by a British officer as a teenager for refusing to polish the Englishman’s boots. Rather than forgive and forget (two things Andy was bad at) he made a point of embarrassing the British army at New Orleans, and also pretty much stole the Florida territory from them. Like William Wallace in Braveheart he liked to go “pick a fight”. When Jackson picked fights he didn’t lose.
The key was not so much simply striking fear but doing so in a grandiose fashion, creating exponential fear. Think it didn’t work? Well, Andrew Jackson blamed John Quincy Adams’ “dirty tricks” for creating the stress which he claimed killed his wife Rachel. During Jackson’s inaugural, Adams, the former president and defeated candidate didn’t stick around to watch the ceremonies. Adams was a smart man, and was definitely smart enough to know that “Old Hickory” wasn’t the let bygones be bygones sort. If Jackson ever buried the hatchet it was most likely in someone.
President Jackson also caused a scene by his very presence. It was said the more educated Harvard types in Washington were quite appalled when Andy’s voters came to celebrate. They partied hard off of free bourbon and a giant communal block of cheese. Drapes and furniture were said to have been smashed or gone missing. Spittoons were missed and “Jackson juice” ended up on the White House floors. Such was Jacksonian democracy, and it was a hell of a party.
But, that was politics in the nineteenth century. In many parts of the South you couldn’t get elected to office without at least some brawling or dueling on your resume. Just think of all the early pioneers of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. They were hunters, bushwhackers, fist-fighters, and eye gougers long before they held office. In fact, it was great practice for politics.
Jim Bowie probably stands taller than most of them, both literally and figuratively. He holds the title for greatest brawler of all time. Once during a feud between his party and a rival party, he helped create a fantastic fracas along the Mississippi river. On an island off of Natchez, MS, Bowie was standing in as a second for an offended party. Seconds, if you remember, are there for support and rule-keeping, not fighting. In any event words were exchanged, glances were glared, and before you knew it a real full on melee ensued. Bowie survived several gunshots and took care of some poltroons with just his bare hands and the famous long knife invented by his brother. That kind of theatrical backwoods brawling is picture perfect for someone who ended up martyred at the Alamo.
The New South: Base Stealers, Man Stealers, and Show Stealers
I suppose we’ve calmed down a bunch as a people since the nineteenth century. Even so, we still have plenty of people who know how to create chaos, befuddle enemies, and do so with style. In the world of entertainment, we will discuss three twentieth century Southerners who knew how to be the center of attention, talk the talk, and walk the walk. In the process they became legendary (each in their own way) for their scene stealing excess.
Although the South is known for its love of football it has produced its share of great baseball talent. Among the earliest and greatest of Southern ballplayers was Ty Cobb. Cobb was the perfect storm of baseball ruckus creator. He was born to a wealthy Georgia family that had declined following the Civil War, had a grandfather (who was a general) killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, and hated pretty much all Yankees. So it made sense during the turn of the century, a time when Dixie ballplayers were heckled for their Southerness, and Washington and St. Louis were the two cities closest to home, to send young Mr. Cobb to Detroit. It should also be mentioned that Ty Cobb was probably clinically psychotic and was re-fighting the Civil War on the base paths. Even his own teammates hated him.
Cobb actually seemed to enjoy belittling his baseball opponents. He would announce bases he planned to steal and then would steal them. If an infielder or catcher got in his way they were kicked, clobbered, or spiked by Cobb’s shoes. Legend has it that he even field his metal cleats for effectiveness. If you heckled him he might climb in the stands and punch you. He was afforded police protection in Philadelphia due to the large volume of death threats, carried a loaded luger with him on the road, and was wanted for assault in several states. Yet through it all he snarled and smirked his way into the record books and into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His philosophy the “baseball is something like a war” found disciples in Ted Williams, and fans in Douglas MacArthur.
Although hardly a snarler, the Alabama born Tallulah Bankhead was no stranger to scandal. She came from a wealthy and politically connected Huntsville family yet chose the stage for her career path during an era when acting was looked down upon. While early Hollywood was no less a stranger to scandal in the early twentieth century as today, Miss Bankhead turned heads and raised eyebrows to great effect.
In an era when women (especially rich Southern women) were expected to be chaste until married, then devoted housewives and mothers afterwards, Bankhead flouted the “rules”. Her affairs and love interests were quite numerous and varied and she loudly advertised and proclaimed them. She filled up the gossip columns and created such scandal it more than likely hurt her box office appeal. She was turned down for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, due to her age, yet in many ways was of the same background, personality, and scandalous nature.
Despite it all, Tallulah Bankhead never flinched and never cared if people didn’t like her. She was quite “Jacksonian” in her loyalty to her friends and political allies. She once made a point of booing Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrat Party motorcade, and loudly supported Harry Truman’s integrationist policies and presidency when it was quite unpopular to do so in the South.
Another Southerner who combined flair on and off-stage was the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown. Brown grew up in poverty in rural South Carolina and rose to be the “hardest working man in show business”. In Brown’s case that was hardly an exaggeration.
Brown not only had a tight band (which he fined for things like unshined shoes or missing notes), and a tighter look, but would sing, dance, and perform in such a manner that would kill the average man. Brown recorded and preformed in a chart topping career that spanned nearly five decades and practically wrote an entire genre of music.
While he was known for his flamboyant hair, clothing, and stage persona (down to being draped in a regal cape), he used his scene stealing persona and fame to speak out against segregation, and declare himself to be “black and proud” at a time when declaring both loudly was a dangerous thing to do in the South. Brown never held back his views, his style, or his effort. He had to be the best, because if he wasn’t he knew how quickly and how rough he could fall to crushing poverty. Even when Brown succumbed to legal troubles, he still had the sense of style and performance even in his arrests.
Scene stealing Southerners still put on a show even when they get in trouble.
Point is folks; we are no strangers to colorful characters down here. And while many of the folks mentioned in the piece did things that would get you shot, arrested, hospitalized, and ostracized today they do prove the genius of the genuine. Being quiet after all doesn’t get you in the history books.
After the results of our recent poll it looks like I’ll be posting a piece on Southern pageants. I will be trading blogs so to speak with my friend the Budget Blonde. She will co-blog from personal experience on pageants while I will satirize Southern style blogs on her site. These pieces may take a few days to sort out and schedule so stay tuned for further updates.
From time to time on The South Will Blog Again we will be featuring guest bloggers who are experts on certain topics. This week I’m honored to welcome Andrew Jackson the 7th president of the United States. “Old Hickory” will be discussing “How to Defend your Honor”, something every Southerner should know how and be prepared at a moment’s notice to do. President Jackson is no stranger to “honor defending” as he has survived over 17 duels, 27 feuds, 74 brawls, and 478 “cuss fights” (and has even survived to live over 250 years). So without further ado….
– Southern Blogger
Now…notice I didn’t say “S.O.B.”…I said “S.B.” for “Southern Blogger”. If I had said “S.O.B.” well…we would’ve had us a problem…a problem with honor violatin’. Now even though it would have made for a great demonstration, I happen to like Southern Blogger and there’s no need to needlessly get into a feud (even though I would win). I rather liked that Choosin’ Barbecue piece and would like to see him continue writing.
Now I’m rather new to this whole bloggin’ sphere so you’re gonna have to forgive me…I’ve only gotten into the whole social media thing about three years ago (Thanks to Henry Clay) so this is new for me. I love the chance to talk about my favorite thing in the world…puttin’ down fee simple, knock-kneed, scalawaggin’, mugwumpin’, poltroons. In other words, defending my honor. Even though I’m an expert in this field, with a little practice, and my advice, you too can cane any dune bug, and win you a duel any time.
(Disclaimer: Since dueling is officially illegal in 49 states, Southern Blogger does not recommend you take all of President Jackson’s subsequent advice literally.)
So, if you follow my steps, you too will know how to defend you honor.
STEP ONE: ISSUING THE FIRST CHALLENGE
(Click on the image to enlarge)
Poltroons like to run their mouths. They do so because they think they can get away with it. Now I’m an avid follower of politics, and I have to say that in your time “poltroonery” may be at an all-time high. Now you might say “well, Andy we don’t have honor defenders in our day like yourself”. Hogwash!!!!
One of my favorite challenges of all-time occurred in your generation. During the 2004 presidential election, a TV poltroon, Chris Matthews, was flapping his jaws and being rather belligerent about “answering questions”. Well now, nothing would make me madder than a cornered possum on whiskey than a rascal asking me to answer the question but then not letting me answer it.
Well the target in question, a U.S. Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller (a true Jacksonian Democrat if I saw one) wasn’t about to let Chris’ gums keep on flapping without a proper response. He told this poltroonish pundit that he “wish we lived in the days when you could challenge a person to a duel”. Now due to legal interference, he couldn’t SAY he wanted to duel, just imply it. But the message was sent, and the loud pundit responded with a nervous chuckle. That my friends, is a back down. And let me add that Sen. Miller pronounced “duel” properly, as in rhymes with “jewel”. Anyone who pronounces the word like that definitely has been in one.
But what if a poltroon won’t shut his mouth…what then?
STEP TWO: DETERMINE THE PROPER RETALIATION
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Now friends, not every foe is worthy of a duel. Sometimes certain opponents are so fiendish they deserve a good whoopin’. Take the case in point of one Charles Sumner.
Now Sumner, he was a smart man, a little too smart for his own good. He was a Harvard man, a true Brahmin, and quite the wordsmith when he laid into his opponents. Except this one time he chose the wrong opponent. Long story short, in 1856, Sen. Sumner was attacking the State of South Carolina and its Senator, his former friend, Andrew Butler. He referred to South Carolina as a “harlot” and attacked Butler when the man wasn’t present.
Those were fighting words.
Calling the state of South Carolina a whore in any age is a bad idea. And laying into someone, when they can’t defend themselves is poltroonery of the highest order.
Well, in the House of Representatives Butler had a cousin (South Carolinians always have cousins readily available) named Preston Brooks. He carefully analyzed the situation (in the 32 seconds he went from red hot to white hot anger) and decided Sumner wasn’t worthy of the “field of honor”. He took his walking stick, walked over to the Senate chamber, and broke his cane on Senator Sumner’s forehead…repeatedly.
Problem solved. But what if the opponent is of a higher caliber? (get it?)
STEP THREE: ISSUING THE FORMAL CHALLENGE
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Just because your blood is boiling and your honor is at stake doesn’t mean you can forget your manners. In fact, when issuing a formal challenge it is of the upmost importance to remember your raisin’. After all, honor is at stake.
Personally, I like to keep my challenge letters pretty simple and direct…firm BUT polite. Always address the challenged party by their proper name and title, NOT what you really think of them (there’ll be time for that). Remember anyone being issued a formal challenge is at least worthy enough of the field of honor, so you should address them properly.
At the same time, you ain’t writing a love letter so keep it simple and to the point. If you haven’t issued a formal challenge before I can help you. I have written hundreds of them and have one here for you to look at. I can’t remember who it was to, there’s been so many.
Good luck with all that fuss…I’ve always found the shooting much easier than the writing part anyhow….which brings us to…
STEP FOUR: THE FIELD OF HONOR
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If you’ve reached this point, congratulations, you have truly found a worthy foe (usually). Since dueling etiquette is as intricate as wedding etiquette it’s important to follow good advice. First, you need to properly follow the “Code Duello”. I keep a copy of Emily Post’s “Guide to Dueling”, third edition, with me.
Following the proper Code means you must have a second. Your second is like your best man at a duel. He should be a friend, but a friend that knows what he’s doing. Seconds arrange the details like the time, place, form of combat, and other sundry rules.
Once you’ve reached the field of honor the rest is up to the participants. An apology might be issued by the offending party. In that case you should accept. Anyone who shows up to the field of honor in the first place may be a poltroon, but not a cowardly one. You may also decide to waste your shots or some other arrangement whereby honor is kept, but you both walk away (I found those very disappointing).
In the end, you may find that the best course of action is to duel it out. Good luck! Stand your ground and keep a steady eye!
Like this picture here. Now one look at this “bear” and I’d have personally gone the cane route. But Colonel Reb (a close friend of mine) had too much honor for that. Despite the grave insult this Bear did him (a couple of Poltroons replaced the Colonel as the Ole Miss mascot with this rascal) , the Colonel gave him the ultimate honor of meeting in the field. Either that or he knew that was the only way to get rid of the mugwump.
Best wishes dear readers, and thanks again S.B. for the opportunity.
– Andrew Jackson
Thanks President Jackson! That was great, if not somewhat illegal, advice. I hope y’all now understand the importance of honor and how to maintain it. Next week we have another guest blogger from history, as General Robert E. Lee will teach us HOW TO WIN A CIVIL WAR BATTLE.
Until next time y’all,