A recording of "Dixie" that's nearly 100 years old. Don't click on it if you find the song offensive.
It will surprise absolutely no one that my high school mascot was the Rebel. It was the same little guy as Ole Miss, but in our school colors of maroon and grey.
Couldn't find the right color but you get the gist
Our school seal had a Confederate flag in it, too. They flew by the dozens at our Homecoming celebration. The whole thing is antiquated and offensive and silly but it's pretty much par for the course in the South.
But I learned something interesting today.
I always learn the most interesting things at lunchtime at work. All the ladies crowd in the small kitchen and take turns microwaving their leftovers and Lean Cuisines and run their mouths about this and that while they flip through old OK magazines.
Today I learned that there are schools in Massachusetts that use the Rebel as their mascot. What?
Specifically I learned about the euphoniously named city of Walpole, MA. Walpole High School students are the Rebels just like we were. (All except the girls' field hockey team. They are the Porkers.) Until 1994, they used a Confederate flag as their symbol and sang "Dixie" in the stands. Unofficial lunchtime reports suggest the "Dixie" tradition persisted far beyond '94.
Even more confounding is the fact that a neighboring landowner has put up a gigantic Confederate flag adjacent to the field. He refuses to take it down amid much scandal.
photo from boston.com
This place is well over 300 miles from the Mason Dixon line.
I really have no idea what to make of this. In Tennessee, you hear people speak of "heritage, not hate" when they explain the Confederate flags on splashed decals on their cars or superimposed over the silhouettes of busty women on their teeshirts. But how can it be "heritage, not hate" when there's no claim to the heritage? Is this an example of a weird fetishization of the South, similar to the way white culture has fetishized Native Americans as sports mascots for ages? Call me simple, but I had no idea you could find Rebels outside of Dixie.
Someone please help me make sense of this.
PS I SAY FRANKLIN YOU SAY REBELS