Someone finally found a way to make displaying the Confederate flag offensive to people who support displaying the Confederate flag: drape it over a completely innocuous music and television entertainer. The Museum of the Confederacy at Appotomatox included a photograph of RuPaul wearing a Confederate-flag-inspired dress in a new display, and the neo-Confederates got all whiny about it.
This blog post, from 'Southern Heritage Alerts,' informs us of "RECON" that one "flagger" did on the museum before the display officially opened. "Yesterday, Va Flaggers… were outraged to discover a highly offensive display featuring a life-sized photo of cross-dresser RuPaul, wearing a dress with an image of the Confederate Battle Flag." The blogger helpfully provided a photo of the offending display, and, naturally, named the JPEG file "queer," presumably not realizing that it would show up on the web site.
The idea that it's okay to display the Confederate flag except for when RuPaul's wearing it is really up there on my list of absurd things that I keep in a composition book under my bed. There is nothing morally wrong with RuPaul, unless you consider being a loud, ostentatious entertainer morally wrong. But let's delve into the mind of someone who is offended by RuPaul for reasons other than taste. Let's also assume this person is also a fan of the Confederacy (because racism and sexual puritanism often go hand in hand). In this person's mind, this manner of displaying the flag is a desecration of a symbol that is important to them. Why is that such a big deal? Is desecration of a symbol really that huge of an issue? I really like Thomas Pynchon, but if someone who offends me, say a character from Glee, wore a Gravity's Rainbow t-shirt, I would care so little it would almost register as a negative amount. To me, that's more of a sin of pride than anything else, but then again, I'm not from the deeply religious South, so what do I know?
Unfortunately, absurdity triumphed again: "When reached, Mr. Rawls [President and CEO of the museum] acknowledged that the RuPaul likeness was up 'for about six hours, and then taken down for good.'" And she was this close to sharing a legacy with General Robert E. Lee.