Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tallyho in the Squat is free again!

Howdy, folks. For a limited time (and by that, we mean June 24 and June 25), Tallyho in the Squat is free to download. Enjoy!

Download FREE here starting June 24.

And my main website.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Southerners, you didn't protect your brand

In the irregular moments I update this blog, I try to fill it with as much Southern comedy and cartoons as I can. But in light of the horror that happened just a few miles down the road from me Wednesday night, I find it neither appropriate nor feasible to bring any humor into the murder of the nine innocent people at the hands of an admitted white supremacist.

The only truly uplifting moment that has arisen from this tragedy rests in the way the Charleston community has flocked in force to the church on Calhoun Street. A polychromatic gathering of Charlestonians, native or transplant, have joined as one to send a message to the entire country: This won’t stand. This isn’t our South Carolina.

And thousands of people of this state have now turned their sights on a familiar target that has fluttered in some way, shape, or form on our statehouse grounds since 1961: the Confederate battle flag. Since the mid 90s, the flag on the statehouse grounds has been a heated topic in our state. It cost one governor his office when he said he would take it down. It’s resulted in an NAACP and NCAA boycott that still continues today. It’s an issue that more than one politician has called “political suicide” to address. As a born-and-raised South Carolinian, I recall just how much anger has been generated by both sides over this symbol.

Let’s be clear: that flag didn’t drive Dylann Roof to murder nine innocent black people. His actions come from a much darker place inside his soul and mind, and no flag waving in front of the statehouse can shape or alter that. But how our state leaders react to the tragedy—shedding tears and lowering the state flag to half-staff while still flying the Confederate battle flag proudly—is one reason why our state—and the South—still struggles with racial strife.

The immediate counter response is predictable and well-worn. “It’s about heritage, not hate.”

And to that, there is only one word with which we need to answer that argument.


You see, for those of you who truly believe the flag stands for your heritage and the glamorous aspects of the antebellum South, you’ve made a big mistake over the decades. You haven’t protected your brand.

Here’s what I mean from a marketing perspective. Disney will sue the pants off anyone, big or small, who uses Mickey’s likeness without their approval. Remember the stickers of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes urinating on various logos? Bill Watterson, the strip’s creator, sued to protect that brand from such usage. Does Coca-Cola let just anyone use their iconic logos whenever they see fit? Try to sell merchandise with your favorite college’s logo without their permission and watch the cease and desist letter arrive promptly in your mailbox.

These entities protect their brand so that it doesn’t become soiled. So it’s not misused for despicable purposes. So it’s not twisted beyond the sanctity of those who created.

And you, fellow Southerners, didn’t protect your brand.

You let the Ku Klux Klan take the flag as its banner following the Civil War. You stood by as racist segregationists waved it as their rallying symbol while fighting against the Civil Rights movement. You didn’t stop it as it flew proudly at Selma and was held up to taunt black Americans as they crossed that bridge. You’ve turned a blind eye as neo-Nazis in America and beyond adopted it as part of their symbolism. Even the hoisting of the flag to the top of the South Carolina statehouse in 1961 was meant as a direct affront to the Civil Rights movement (no, it wasn’t to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War—stow that crap elsewhere).

If you wanted it to stand for heritage and not hate, you should have tried a lot harder to keep it from being associated with hatred.

Maybe there wasn’t much you could do. A swastika, prior to World War II, used to have a benevolent meaning. Now, it’s synonymous with evil. Perhaps you can’t stop a group of ignorant, hateful people from sullying a brand and giving it a permanent new meaning.

But you do, at some point, have to accept that your brand is lost. You have to accept that it was adopted decades ago by the bottom feeders of our nation, and it doesn’t get to represent what you want it to anymore. The hateful people of America took ownership of it long ago.

Look no further than the front license plate of Dylann Roof’s car. The Confederate flag was his brand. Are you sure you still want it to be yours?

Bring it down, South Carolina.  


Just a quick reminder that my Southern comedy novel, Tallyho in the Squat, is available FREE for download from Amazon on June 24 and 25.

Download it here FREE starting June 24.