The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sacred cartoons

The cartoonist Adalbert Johann Volck, whose first name is never spelt right in Google, was the Confederacy's answer to the Union's Nash. Volck's cartoons were phantasmagorical, and most typically anti-Lincoln. I'm seeing more Volck on the WWW.

Volck was highly talented, but likely not right in the head. Nash was technically more skilled, but lacked Volck's imagination.

The modern cartoonist Mark Tatulli claims Volck as the primary influence upon his equally phantasmagorical "Lio" series. (Although Lio's framing device, the imagination of a small child with a buffoonish father, is straight outta "Calvin & Hobbes".) I surmise that those of us who pay attention to the news also check out the comics, and read about the comics; it can't just be me. I haven't asked the anti-Volck guys where else they'd have found him.

Volck's referents typically use Volck as a crude weapon against modern "palaeo-conservatives" who denounce Lincoln. So far I've just seen Leftists at it. These Leftists also venture into attacking today's GOP. One critic of the comic "Prickly City", over at Shrubville, implies in "the_late_greats" that a contextual Reagan-Republican "Prickly City" would have looked a lot like Volck.

Observing Volck, one can see the direction in which the Lost Cause was headed. The Confederacy could not win its conventional war. Individual Confederates could however attempt a holy war: wounding the occupying Union and its sympathisers enough to force it to occupy the South militarily indefinitely, or to drive the Whites off their land, or to reach a compromise. Holy wars have a logical strategy, but they generally appeal against logic to the mujahidun.

Nicholas Lemann's Redemption explains this process in Mississippi 1875. The North had its "Reconstruction" plan, which would install reason and racial equity into the South (on the assumption that said equality was rational). The South declared its (successful) resistance a holy "Redemption", assumptions be damned.

Shrubville just sees "the Right" as a nebulous Other, to which category he assigns everyone from Volck to Bush. If Volck writes cartoons for the Right and "Prickly City" writes cartoons for the Right, Volck = "Prickly City"; QED. Shrubville forgets that Bush - or at least, the neo-con movement - is the truest Lincolnist sect since Lincoln himself; arguably more Lincolnist even than Lincoln.

Progress against emotion. The US Army against the Ku Klux Klan. Nash against Volck and, honestly, "Prickly City" against Shrubville and not the reverse.


Ulysses Grant turned out to be not-wonderful at controlling his staff, and at convincing the Union to stay the course with Reconstruction. As a result, in 1876 in several occupied Southern states, there was such fraud that his successor Rutherford Hayes lost the Electoral College. Instead of declaring those states to be in rebellion again, Hayes struck a deal. Then in 1881, the next Republican - who, like Lincoln, won even without the South - was shot before he could do much of anything. So Reconstruction failed and Redemption proceeded.

In Iraq, the neocons are out of Congress and on the outs in Bush Junior's staff. Instead, we are hearing from the more comforting realists of Nixon, Baker, Snowcroft, Kissinger, and Bush Senior (and, hiding back there - Pat Buchanan). Leftists of course don't care enough to see the difference, but I assure you there is a difference.

I suspect that history will see Bush Jr as a latter-day Grant, but less capable. I also suspect that history will see Bush's opponents as the latter-day Volcks - Left and Right both.

UPDATE 7/4/2011: This post has changed. Shrubville from 2006 on is dead; although the 2005 Shrubville, on blogspot, is still there. Also, on rereading it today, I find it to be disorganised and attempting to do too much at once (not untypical of my pre-Moldbug work). Lastly, my views on Reconstruction have changed almost entirely; but not such as to affect the argument(s) of this post, beyond greater understanding. For what I think of Southern opposition to Reconstruction now, here.

posted by Zimri on 17:27 | link | 0 comments

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