Sometimes, the subhead on a headline, or a quotation in an article, strikes a definite chord with me. That happened when I was reading about the recent destruction of some mysterious granite markers, the Georgia Guidestones (sometimes referred to as America’s Stonehenge). As several recent articles reported, those stones are “no longer casting a shadow in rural Elbert County, Georgia.” Early on July 5th, one of the six slabs of granite comprising the display was destroyed by what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reports was an intentional explosive.
The quotation that caught my eye was that of a local pastor and historian, who said that the stones would probably have survived a nuclear war, “but they could not survive Southern culture.”
“Southern culture” in this context is a euphemism for deeply-rooted superstition abetted by a generous dollop of ignorance.
The linked article gives the background: In 1979, the president of a local granite company was asked to create the monument by someone identifying himself as Robert Christian (later R.C. Christian–probably a pseudonym), who claimed to represent a group of concerned Americans. Christian obtained funding for the massive project, and the granite company proceeded to create it.
The stone structure was revealed to the public on the spring equinox in 1980. Together the 951 cubic feet of granite weighed 237,746 pounds. The center slab was surrounded by four standing stones of similar height, and the entire structure was capped by a sixth stone 6 ½ feet wide, 10 feet long and 7 inches thick.
The impressive size of the structure was only part of its allure. Carved on each of the four outer slabs were 10 precepts — a message to humanity — repeated in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, Russian and Arabic. Translators from the United Nations assisted Christian with the translations.
Inscribed in the capstone was the phrase “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason,” written in ancient Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sanskrit and Babylonian cuneiform.
The center slab and capstone also acted as an astrological calendar, with carefully cut holes for observance of the moon, sun and North Star. Astronomers from the University of Georgia assisted in refining this part of the project.
While Christian’s identity is still a mystery, his purpose is not.
An “Age of Reason.” If only…
At the time, there was widespread fear of a global nuclear war, and the stones were intended to be a beacon of sorts for those who would survive–a prescription for a more peaceful world.
Criticism of this project could certainly be mounted on many grounds: a vanity project, a waste of money, an ineffective indulgence…But of course, none of those reasonable quibbles prompted the fierce opposition to–and fear of– this monument.
Nearly immediately, local pastors decried the stones as satanic. “We don’t think Mr. Christian is a Christian,” said the Rev. James Traffensted of the Elberton Church of God after the 1980 ceremony. “Look what it says about the unity of the world. That’s where the Antichrist will unite the governments of the world.”
I didn’t realize that world unity and peace was a sign of the Antichrist, but given the behavior of so many so-called “Christians,” perhaps I should have.
Since there is no conspiracy theory or bizarre “religious” belief that today’s Republicans won’t embrace, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by the following passages from the report.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor made demolishing the stones part of her 2022 campaign. On May 2, she tweeted: “Elect me Governor of Georgia, and I will bring the Satanic Regime to its knees— and DEMOLISH the Georgia Guidestones.”
After the stones were destroyed Wednesday, she tweeted, “God is God all by Himself. He can do ANYTHING He wants to do. That includes striking down Satanic Guidestones.”…
The bombing was not the first time the monument was targeted. In 2008, a masked man calling himself an “American patriot” defaced the monument as a warning to the “global elite.” He tied the Guidestones to a coming new world order, a conspiracy theory perpetuated by QAnon followers and expressed by personalities such as InfoWars founder Alex Jones.
Conversations on this blog often include efforts to describe Americans’ current divides: Red versus Blue, urban versus rural, educated versus uneducated…The steady growth of incidents like this one suggest a more accurate division might be: reasonably sane versus bat-shit-crazy.
If humanity actually survives this period–increasingly characterized by the rejection of logic, science and empirical evidence– historians will probably describe these times as “the age of insanity.”
18 thoughts on ““Southern Culture” Is A Euphemism..”
Georgia Guidestones; America’s Stonehenge or America’s Rosetta Stones? Or just someone’s warning message that our strength can be found in peace and saving our world from destruction by uniting? Ever notice if you reverse two letters in the word “unite” that it becomes “untie”? The recent destruction of those stones comes at a time that “Southern Culture”, aka White Nationalism, is what we are struggling against within our government and throughout this country as we become more and more untied from unity as a nation. My comments yesterday about the strength of the Constitution of the United States of America should have included that the weakness, greed and mendacity of elected and appointed officials who refuse to honor their Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution is the problem NOT the Constitution. Southerners have exploded the Georgia Guidestones; will the Statue of Liberty be next? The message carved into the base of the Statue describes the soul of this country; today the government is split on the issue of welcoming and caring for its own people. An explosion of sorts destroying American Culture.
“If humanity actually survives this period–increasingly characterized by the rejection of logic, science and empirical evidence– historians will probably describe these times as “the age of insanity.” IF humanity actually survives this period…!!!
Well done. “Age of Reason” vs “Dark Ages” works for me as a description of our cultural and political bifurcation.
I wonder if we’re just providing evidence for the Fermi Paradox. Maybe sentient beings just don’t survive long enough to make much of an impact on the universe. Hmmm. It seems that ‘intelligence’ is a terrible evolutionary characteristic.
Just to prove a point about human and Mother Nature, I will place a beautiful urn filled with honey in the middle of our backwoods and declare it a monument to world peace and liberty in the pursuit of happiness for all. Then I walk away leaving the monument to fend for itself unprotected. Who is the idiot?
Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern change gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast
– Neil Young – Southern Man
It seems that fear is a pretty good thing to fear. The fear of those hard core Christians who blew up the granite slabs or prayed that it would happen should be frightening to anyone who prefers reason and logic. Where will their crazed campaign turn next?
Much different than the vandals marching through the Capital with confederate flags?
Without a doubt “the loonies are on the grass.”
Pogo was right.
The “Christian” says, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men,’ and I’m gonna tommy gun your ass if you don’t agree with me.”
I find the destruction of the Georgia Guidestones tragic — and symptomatic of the United States of America in general, as the Age of Insanity. Sadly, the remnants of our culture of excess won’t last long enough to be a warning to other civilizations.
I have always thought that a functional strategy for Facebook communication would be to keep the conversation going no matter how unpleasant because eventually learning would take place on one side or the other. I think that it might have worked lately.
It turned out the revelation came to me from a friend and it was this: The topic was urban small town culture and my point was, while I’m sympathetic because I am from it, what’s realistic now is that it is failing those in it economically, socially, and legally. His response is that none of that matters because it’s very comfortable for him. In fact, it’s all he knows.
Republicans have given it respectability instead of offering it any solutions other than power but that’s enough. Non-problem solving is better for those in the grips of problematic culture than improving their lives. People rationalize culture, not other measures of success or failure, which they see as impositions of hated “others”.
We have turned back to civil rights times in the south in the 50s. As George Wallace put it: “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
The little flash allows me to see left and right politics better. The left can’t help being problem solvers looking toward better lives for everyone, the dream of liberal democracy. The right merely promises power to those suffering the most and ignores that the net result of the least successful culture with the greatest influence on everyone else will make them happy. The fact that it would be temporary is not material.
That made Mussolini and Hitler and George Wallace completely successful in right-wing politics. They took people who were unsuccessful in their times, gave them temporary success no matter the consequences, and then suffered the consequences with them.
Left-wing failure, right-wing success.
ya gotta go yo one of their roadside bars,er,dives and really experience the baffeling bullshit they profess. drivin a truck down there has its,er, rewards.. bless their heart…
though the supposed idea by RCCwas to pass the good word on,in case…
the early 80s were in fact getting hot between russia and the U.S. and then came anti communist
reagan(R). (1984)…RCC may have been writting on the wall, to remind civilization of the cliff
that may have been..
Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed.~ Michael Pritchard
And, just who was it, in the enlightenment who thought that there was such a thing a “human progress?”
Gregg, you remind me of the obviously religiously themed names of streets in the recently developed shopping mall
near me, in, of course, Florididia:. I drive through there, and tell myself that whoever chose the theme for the names
of these little streets (like “Disciple Drive”), probably really believes that he/she is doing something religiously “righteous,”
that the names are going to make some difference in the world.
It occurs to me that these street names are examples of “Southern Culture.”
Bless their little hearts!
I am not from or of the South but have lived in Georgia for decades where I practice medicine. This article is a good summary of life and the beliefs in this part of the U.S. The comment: “Southern Culture … is a euphemism for deeply rooted superstition abetted by a generous dollop of ignorance” has the qualities of both brevity and truth.
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