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False Flag Policy: Phil Anselmo Uninterested, Kid Rock and The Nuge Predictably Insensitive

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Since the awful shooting by a white supremacist that killed nine people at a black church in Charleston, NC, the modern-day use of the Confederate flag has become a hot issue. For some, the symbol is the American equivalent of the Swastika (a symbol, it should be noted, that is illegal in Germany); for others, it stands for the strength of the South and the rights of the state over the federal government. Given its place in rock and roll imagery, it was only a matter of time before the issue fell on the heavy metal doorstep.

One band synonymous with the South and known for their use of the Rebel flag is Pantera, who many times in the past have displayed ‘Heritage, Not Hate’ versions of the symbol. But in a recent interview, former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, who has also used the flag in art for his hardcore band Superjoint Ritual, distanced himself from the symbol:

“I think, really, where the use of the rebel flag or Confederate flag with us really came from was our love of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and whatnot and shit like that, you know. There was never a time when it was okay to promote hate without a little bit of the tongue in the cheek, you know? It was never this blatant thing, unless I was completely out of my mind, which I was at points in time. And I’ll own that for damn sure, but that was a long-ass time ago…

“These days, I wouldn’t want anything to fucking do with it, because, truthfully… I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want much to fucking do with it at all, and personally, you know I would never… The way I feel, and the group of people I’ve had to work with my whole life, you know… You see a Confederate flag out there that says ‘Heritage, not hate.’ I’m not so sure I’m buying into that, you know?”

You can read the full interview here.

While Anselmo’s statement reads like that of a man carefully trying to not piss anyone off — which is uncommon for Phil — it’s still important. That Southern metal’s great ambassador wouldn’t fly the Rebel flag speaks to a change in how this country regards its own past. Phil has obviously thought about this issue a great deal.

But not everyone has. It was announced today that Kid Rock and Ted Nugent are recording a song together called “Kiss My Rebel Ass”, which Kid Rock describes as “a love letter to the South and a middle finger to the PC establishment.” He went on to say:

“Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t supposed to be nice — it’s supposed to hit you upside the head with a tire iron, and that is exactly what this song does.”

Charming. Nugent, meanwhile, recently defended the flag in an interview, saying:

“I believe that we always have to look at substance over symbolism, and I think we have to be honest. If we burned every Confederate flag today, would they stop shooting each other in Chicago? If we burned every Confederate flag today, would we stop sanctuary cities from accommodating murderers and rapists and savage people?”

While Kid Rock’s statement is some Grade A rockstar cliche bullshit, Nugent’s is typically bigoted and idiotic. The references to Chicago and “savage people” are obvious indictments of black Americans, given that they are the primary group taking issue against the use of a symbol that was once hoisted by an army fighting for their subjugation.

His point — that getting rid of the Confederate flag will not usher in some utopia — has some validity. At the end of the day, the Rebel flag is just a symbol for a sickness that’s deeply ingrained in our culture. What Nugent doesn’t confront is that part of this sickness is a racism deep in America’s heart which causes societal disparity between people of different races and disillusionment among black Americans who see their government flying the symbols of a racist dogma.

Let me put this bluntly: my girlfriend is black. The kids we’re going to have together will be black. The Confederate flag is a symbol of a group that fought tooth and nail to maintain a lifestyle where they would be property. And all the stories of Jim Limber and Yankee devils and state pride in the world don’t excuse that fact. The Confederacy was not full of abolitionists. The Confederacy was not an all-inclusive brotherhood. The Confederacy abandoned America so it could continue a lifestyle involving slavery. Times have changed, but history hasn’t.

Kid Rock and Nugent’s paean to racist pride will be available to download July 17th, should you give a fuck.

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