I've been reading "This Modern World" for a couple of years now and it's always been right on the mark, skewering the crass commercialism and hipocracy inherant in our American culture. Thanks to you, Noam Chomsky, and Ted Rall, I've discovered more about this society in the past two years than I ever could have hoped for. Keep up the excellent work. I also had to comment on the readers' responses that you got concerning your cartoon about the "Battleflag" that flies above the state capitol in South Carolina.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. As a white male, I really don't feel the direct rage that an African-American would seeing that flag above a state capitol, but I can sympathize. And I do take offense to the flag because of the obstacle it throws in the road to racial harmony.
The letters you got from angry Southerners about how the "revisionist" history that is taught today is incorrect is way off base. As a quick note, they should pick up "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen (a professor at UVM). Chapter 5 deals with the misrepresentation of the Civil War in high school history textbooks. First, The Civil War was not, nor could not have been fought over "states' rights". "As early as Decemeber 1862, Pres. Jefferson Davis denounced states' rights as destructive to the Confederacy" (p. 190). The reasons were that Southern states were not a united front; western Virgina went to the Union, Confederate troops had to occupy east Tennessee to keep it in the Confederacy (p. 190).
I won't go into much more detail, but pick up the book. It explodes some more myths about Reconstruction (there were no black govenors during the Reconstruction, almost all legislatures in the South had a white majority, and the Southern states were not ruined by the "carpetbaggers" (p. 156-157)). It's really interesting.
Just as a final note on this: I honestly believe that most of the people that are writing in to you in favor of keeping the Confederate flag flying s incerely believe that it is a symbol of Southern honor and heritage. However, I feel they are grossly misinformed about this, and that the actual history bears out the fact that the "Battleflag" should be regarded in the same way the Nazi flag is looked at: a banner of hate and oppression.
I could go on for a lot longer, but you're a busy man. I look forward to your next cartoon!
to whom it may concern:
i enjoy your witty cartoon and commentary on the follies of
corporate,establishment,right wing,bible thumping ,know everything busy
bodies;yet your piece of 012600 goes beyond satire and commentary into
the realm of personal insults.to compare our Battleflag-which by the way
is NOT the Stars and Bars-- to the swastika is too much to take.my
ancestors went to war to defend their homes, families,and Constitutional
government,ie:a limited Federal role in one's State and personal
we are proud,defiant,and still reeling from 100 plus years of
meddling,carpetbag politics,yankee lies,liberal whinning,and the legacy
of defeat,military occupation,loss of civil and political
rights,poverty,and the deaths of more than 260,000 of our young men -and
if you ever find yourself in Athens GA i would gladly stand you a few
drinks and discuss current and past events--then slap your jaws and call
you out to defend yourself as I--and my proud,unreconstructed
Confederate ancestors demand satisfaction for your insults.
it is easy to attack those who are not here to defend themselves,and
unfortunately all the men who fought in that most tragic conflict are
dead. thus ,it falls on us-their descendants-to defend thei honor,good name,
and the truth -which you obviously care nothing about unless it suits
your idea of conduct and THOUGHT!!!.
you are a liar,a scallawag,and a mealy mouthed yankee pisspot and i
welcome the chance to teach you respect and common manners.
pick you choice of weapons and your best Second,and I shall meet you on
any field ,at any time and thrash you to within an inch of your
You may need to research this out a bit more. The notion that the war
between the states had much of anything to do with slavery is a bit
of propaganda spread by the 'winners' to cover up the real issue that
dates back to the original constitution: should there be a single
national government (as the unionists believed) or a federation of
state governments (as the confederates believed). The presentation of
the confederate flag should be more about independence from the
national statists than anything else. Of course any symbol can be
used to mean anything; but it's misreading this symbol as having
anything to say about slavery.
I'm writing in reference to the "This Modern World" strip whose topic
was the "Confederate flag issue". Like yourself, I am shocked at the
ignorance behind this debate. Unlike yourself, I am saddened by those
who still perpetuate lies. One of those lies being that the American
Civil War was fought solely over slaves. This is not the case. The South
fought against increasing taxation from the Federal Government. The
"Slave issue" was an emotional ploy to goad the North into war against
the South. In fact Mr. Lincoln stated that he didn't believe in giving
the slaves any rights and wanted to ship them back to Africa to avoid
the conflict. But this never came to pass. I believe he made these
statements during presidential debates, though I'm not for certain
because I do not own the book I read his speaches from. History is
written by the victor, had the British beat us in our Revolution, "Old
Glory" would be just another rebel flag to spit upon also.
Quickly, my other point to make. The swastika is another scapegoat image
that most people, like yourself, seem to know nothing about. It is an
ancient holy symbol. Swastika is a Sanskrit(Hindu) word which roughly
translates to "luck" or "good fortune". This symbol predates
civilization by thousands of years. According to Carl Jungs' theory of
the "collective unconscious" it would be termed an archetype, in fact an
universal archetype. It is found on all continents of the earth as an
ancient holy sign. It is called by many names; Wan (Chinese), Manji
(Japanese), Hakenkreuz(German), Anneagramma(Greco-Roman),
Gammadion(Greek). It is known as Mjollnir(the Hammer of Thor), and in
Asia as the "foot of Buddha". I could go on and on about the symbolism
behind the Sun Wheel but I've quickly made my point.
So, you've managed to not only step on the toes of half our great
nation, but to make offense of one of my religious symbols. But who
cares? I'm just another one of those evil, uneducated, redneck,
neo-Nazi, bigots who refuses to aknowledge our "shameful past" right?
The SHAME belongs to those who perpetuate these stereotypes and lies. I
thank you for taking the time to read through this.
Hello, Mr. Tomorrow. I noticed George Bush visting your cartoon again, but
there was no word regarding the Stars and Bars on the Arkansas State Flag
that Mr. Clinton approved to fly over the State Capitol. I think you
should try to implement a talking sandwich to comment on the
breath-wasting ways in which ALL the candidates try to avoid controversy.
Then again, if a sandwich talked, who would listen.
Hey, Tom, I really enjoy your work and look forward to each strip, even the
ones that make me mad. Thanks for telling it like it is--no matter who
doesn't like your opinion.
How about going further with that Confederate flag/heritage thing? It's a
hot item that ain't going away soon.
Talk about exploding heads:
Robert E. Lee was a devout religious man who despised slavery and never
owned slaves. Although he was described as "the symbol of all that was
noble about the South", many today see him as our country's greatest
Here's the brain-buster: Lee hated slavery and is treated like a Nazi
today. But every American carries pocket portraits of George Washington, a
slave-owning aristocrat who not only made his living off the backs of
oppressed sufferers, he even refused to shake hands with people he
considered below his social status. Ditto to Tommy Jefferson and other
Founding Fathers whom we worship around the Mall with those memorials and
monuments you mentioned.
Let's be fair and acknowledge that every single one of us Nazis is engaged
in the same headbursting hypocrisy, are we not?
Dear Mr. Tomorrow,
I am writing to voice my displeasure over your recent "cartoon"
featuring your view on the Confederate flag debate. With the way you
started your column and your view of the flag, it seems obvious that you
are not from the South and can therefore not have a real understanding
of what it is all about. I freely admit that hate groups, such as the
KKK, have wrongfully used the Confederate battle flag in their heinous
activities, but they have no right to use the flag. Nathan Bedford
Forest officially disbanded a much different Klan in the late 1800's.
The group that exists today has no ties whatsoever to the Confederacy.
I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and I am most
certainly NOT a racist. If you had grown up in the South and studied
the War Between the States as I have, you would totally understand that
it IS about heritage and honor. Yes, people in the south owned slaves,
but it is a documented fact that less than 10 percent of all Confederate
soldiers ever owned a slave. Contrary to the revisionist views they now
teach in history classes, the war was not about slavery, but about
state's rights. To say that the Confederate flag is the same as the
German swastika is, not only a colossal insult, but a complete
falsehood. Alot of people are quick to point to the Confederate flag as
a symbol of slavery. But nobody ever seems to remember that the
American flag flew over slavery MUCH longer than the Confederate flag
ever did. You disqualify yourself from having an opinion on this in my
eyes because you don't even know the facts. You call the Confederate
battle flag the "Stars & Bars". That is wrong. The battle flag is
based on the St. Andrew's cross. The Stars & Bars is the 1st National
Confederate flag, the one that flew over all government offices. It
looks much like the Stars and Stripes, but with 2 red and one white. I
hope you will take the time to review the true history of the war
Between the States, the flag, and the South in general, and if you do, I
think you will find that there has been a gigantic amount of
misinformation and misinterpretation. Thank you for your time.
Tom Tomorrow replies: You should watch what you assume. I spent half my childhood in the south, and have family there going back several generations.
You have really missed the point about this flag thing. Also,
I am sure you probably denounce John Rocker for saying
what he did.
Let me explain something you may have not considered. ANY
censorship of your or mine opinion, speech, expression, etc.
is more and more of our freedom being eroded. Up until 2
years ago I was a bleeding heart liberal until I realized that
we are being conned and coerced into "group therapy" and
manipulation through the press, media, and liberal groups. The
reason is to BASH anyone that goes against the politically
correct thinking of the day. We are having a noose put over
us and tightened ever so slightly. I believe it is okay to speak whatever
you think about anything, race, or religion and that the labeling of
people that do speak out is a bunch of garbage. At work
in a corporate job you cannot speak out and that is being moved
into our private lives. Before you know it your cartoon may be bashed.
Why is this happening? Because people that speak their mind
show unity, solidarity, and strength which is a threat to the establishment
on any level - simple as that. Promoting the minorities and weakening
strength is the democratic party stance to bolster bigger government control.
Bravo to John Rocker. May he have the ability to say whatever he
wnts. Can you believe the press said he needs mental testing? Is
it coming to this?
You had better break your mold and wake up. Look at the big picture
not the small one when it comes to expression for all. Censorship of
thought is happening and you have bought into it unknowingly.
PS - This goes for guns to. Are you for a government gun grab
because the media says it is good?
Just wanted to say I enjoyed your commentary on S.C., especially your
indictment of George W. Bush.
It is shameful that that kind of hypocrisy is championed by so many.
Keep up the good work!
I've always enjoyed your strip, and will certainly continue to do so. I
just wanted to email you in response to your 26 Jan strip on the Battleflag
and its defenders.
All I ask is that you consider our point of view. And I'll try to keep it
brief. I, too, hate long-winded, unsolicited rants.
The conflict between North and South goes way back beyond the opening shots
at Harper's Ferry and Ft. Sumter. The agrarian South distrusted the
commercial North even during the Revolution (better described as the
American War for Independence). Consider a couple of quotes from two
prominent Southern anti-Federalists during the debate on the Constitution:
"The commercial states will assuredly unite, and our situation will be then
wretched indeed. Our commodities will be transported on their own terms,
and every measure will have for its object their particular interest."
William Grayson, Virginia
"This government subjects everything to the Northern majority. Is there
not, then, a settled purpose to check the Southern interest? We thus put
unbounded power over our prosperity in hands not having a common interest
with us. How can the Southern members prevent the adoption of the most
oppressive mode of taxation in the Southern states, as there is a majoirty
in favour in the Northern states?" Patrick Henry, Virginia
To calm down fears of an overly powerful central government, the Bill of
Rights was adopted, which placed strict limits on what the central
government could do. Every provision in it placed limitations on the
Federal government, and affirmed the rights of the States.
However, once in power, the Federalists began slipping in the centralised,
mercantilistic policies they'd always wanted. Alexander Hamilton, as the
first Secretary of the Treasury, pushed for a national bank and the
Federal assumption of state debts. Anti-Federalists North and South howled
in protest. In response, Thomas Jefferson proposed that separation from
the Union was preferable to "licentious commerce and gambling speculation
for the few, with eternal warfare for the many." The Virginia House of
Delegates protested Hamilton's schemes in a resolution declaring "in an
agricultural country like this, to erect and and concentrate and perpetuate
a large monied interest is a measure which must, in the course of human
events, produce one or other of two evils: the prostration of agriculture
at the foot of commerce, or a change in the present form of government
fatal to the existence of American liberty." (Eventually, they got both!)
During the War of 1812, the Southern delegations agreed to limited tariffs
and subsidies for America's fledgling industries to boost the war effort.
After the war, however, the commercial interests successfully consolidated
their power, and were able to expand the role of the Federal government as
a cash cow for private commercial interests.
Here's how Senator Thomas Hart Benton described the conflict:
"Under Federal Legislation, the exports of the South have been
the basis of the Federal Revenue. Virginia, the two Carolinas,
and Georgia, may be said to defray three fourths of the annual
expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great
sum, annually furnished by them, nothing or next to nothing is
returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. that
expenditure flows in an opposite direction -- it flows north,
in one uniform, uninterrupted and perennial stream. This is
the reason why wealth disappears from the south and rises up
in the north. Federal Legislation does this."
When Congress passed the Tariff of Abominations in 1828, which
unconstitutionally made one section of the Union, the South, pay more than
its share of the Federal imposts (as prohibted in Section 8 of the
Constitution), South Carolina threatened secession. President Andrew
Jackson counter-threatened to invade the state. The conflict was deferred,
not solved, by Henry Clay's compromise. Slavery was never an issue; power
and money were.
Jumping ahead a few crises later, the election of Abraham Lincoln, a purely
sectional candidate representing a party committed to subsidies for
business, was the last straw, and many Southern states seceeded.
Interestingly, when South Carolina troops fired on Fort Sumter, there were
more slave states in the Union than out of it. North Carolina, Virginia,
Tennessee, and Arkansas did not seceed until after Lincoln
unconstitutionally called for troops to invade South Carolina -- something
the Federalists, in advocating a stronger central government, had promised
could never happen.
All I'm trying to suggest is that the triumphalist interpretation of the
War Between the States as a noble crusade to end slavery is mythology. In
the real world, invasions are waged for money and power, not out of
idealism. Slavery was an effective smokescreen for Lincoln's immoral war,
and Sherman's total war against civilians. It's worth noting that the same
methods Sherman and Sheridan used against Southern civilians in the name of
abolition were also used against Native Americans in the name of civilising
And yes, after the War, ugly acts were committed. But the rise of the Klan
and the smoldering racial tensions in the South were similar to the
conflicts that would later occur in India and Africa as a result of
colonial manipulation, pitting one indigenous group against the other to
consolidate colonial power. Imagine the anguish of white Southerners who,
after having lost a long, bitter war, lost the right to vote and saw blacks
being propped up in power to enforce Radical Republican rule. When, in
1876, Reconstruction ended, the defeat of black politicans was seen as the
rebirth of self-government. After that, blacks were viewed as agents of
It was no coincidence that the moment Southern legislators left Congress in
1861 that new tariffs were quickly passed (yet no laws ending slavery?),
and that after the Northern commercial interests triumphed, Federal
subsidies flowed like rivers to the politically well-connected, ushering in
the exploitiation and scandal of the Gilded Age.
Well, I promised a short email, and I kept it as short as I could. I just
feel that the man who penned the best political cartoon on the dangers of
the despicable WTO was worth appealing to. Big Money can hire the best
spin doctors to make their profits appear sacred. The South was the first
victim of the Corporate State, and that heritage is worth defending.
Final thought - at the Bon Odori festival in Charlotte celebrating Japanese
culture, no one raised any concern about what had been committed in WWII
under the Rising Sun flag. At the Cinco de Mayo celebration in nearby
Concord, no one said a word about the Mexican government's murder of 1.2
million Mayans in the Chiapas region. Why is every other culture accepted,
but Southern culture rigidly portrayed as being defined only by its faults?
Please believe me that we Southerners are more than just what the media
present us to be. If you'd like to learn more about us, check out
www.freedixie.net or www.dixienet.org
Otherwise, keep zinging. You're good at it.
Your Modern World "cartoon" that ran on 1/26/00 was a complete
embarrassment and a great example of the ignorance
regarding the Confederacy and what it stood for that is so prevalent in
America today. I'll start by saying I am not a
racist, nor am I a nazi. I am a proud Southern man who will not remove my
Confederate flag. I am collage educated and I
am also historically educated.
Let me paint a picture for you that may put things into perspective for
Let's say your at home, watching TV and you see a report from Clinton
calling for an army to invade, yes invade, the
Southern states. You know this army will be coming to your door. Invading
your property. Do you defend your property?
That what my ancestor did. He owned no slaves, yet, he had to stand and
fight for home and property. If he had volunteered,
would his land have been spared? NO! That just makes resistance one less
person strong. This is honorable! A lot of
America has forgotten what true HONOR is. It's not drugs and guns and
killing your wife, kids or random violence. It's standing
up for home, staying true to family against all adversity.
I can't believe any people would be so vain as to think a whole war was
fought to free or enslave them.
On the Nazi note...Read your history! Here's a difference. Nazis invaded
it's surrounding countries in Europe. Why?
To take over the world, to rule it. The Confederacy, on the other hand, was
invaded. Why? To be ruled by another
government who wanted more control over the tax dollars on imports and
exports. War is always a money fight first!
History has shown this time and time again. As far as any relation between
concentration camps and slavery. Let's think about it this way. Germans put
people in camps then killed them. Slaves we fed, clothed, yes worked very,
very hard but they
were not gassed, burned or poisoned and there were not "experiments"
practiced on them. We would equal that into today's terms by driving your
car into a wall. You paid for it, now you just want to destroy it? Makes no
sense does it?
Slavery was wrong, but at the same time, it was legal. Should we remove the
likeness of Washington, Jefferson, etc. because they owned slaves. Remove
them from history??? Food for thought...General Grant owned slaves, General
Lee freed his
fathers slaves before the war! Read it, it's there!
Now let's think about the Confederate flag. It never flew over any slave
quarters. Many black men fought under that same
flag. History forgets those brave souls. Like is quoted at the beginning of
"Braveheart", The victor writes the history.
One more thing to look at...the Confederate Constitution. Read it! No one
mention of slaves or keeping slavery alive.
How could a government or country so hell-bent on keeping slaves leave this
out of their constitution? Because they were
not hell-bent on keeping slaves. Slaves were a tool. Slavery would have
died as we became more mechanized.
Racism is wrong. People who use that flag for their own selfish, racist
reasons are wrong. I hate those people!
I wave a Confederate flag proudly, but I do not hate people because of
their race or religious practice. Live and let
live is part of my motto. I want my flag to survive and I want the memory
of those brave soldiers in grey to also survive.
Oh, one last thing. Read about the draft riots in New York city during the
summer of 1863. I'm not as versed on that
as I wish I was but, it's pretty interesting how many lynchings and murders
there were way up there. It doesn't make this
type of behavior acceptable, but it does make it more than just a Southern
thing as you depict it.
Study what you write. Not only does your ignorance embarrass me, but it
embarrasses the South.
For many years (and now) on the west coast I see many pick-up trucks
where the front license plate is a confederate flag. I am glad someone
is pointing out how sick that is.