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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS The Fourth Flag Letters journey across our transom in plain envelopes that usually give no hint of the spicy commentary contained within them. For instance, just before press time for this issue a disgruntled subscriber—who now is a former subscriber—wrote to say: "I won't order Southern Cultures again due to the politically-correct, stereotypical beating you administer to white southerners." We found this letter interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it was written in magic marker. Second, it represents an anger that probably is rooted in a deep pride in earlier times, and so it also shows that there is tension alive and well between the Old South and the New South. Scott Wyatt sent us a note from Seattle, which we've published below, that offers a possible bridge between Old and New on a topic that tends more than most to polarize: the South Carolina state government 's flying of a banner of the Old South—the Confederate Batdeflag. Mr. Wyatt's solution is neither to remove the Flag nor deny its negative connotations for some segments of the population . Instead, he proposes adding anodier flag to the crowded pole atop South Carolina's Statehouse. Gavin James Campbell, our music editor, explored a sure sign of that quirky, awkward beast called the New South in last issue's "Mozart Went Down to Georgia," in which he questioned the logic—and suggested the danger—of state-sponsored efforts to raise I.Q.s by bringing Beethoven and Mozart to newborns in Georgia and Florida. Progressive legislators in these two states had acted on research that said exposure to classical music would raise a baby's I.Q., ifonly temporarily. Dr. Gloria Harbin wrote to tell us that although there is little hard data to suggest that classical music makes infants smarter, this alone doesn't necessarily mean that the well-intentioned governors of Georgia and Florida initiated bad policy. We hope you enjoy the letters below, but be forewarned: any I.Q.-raising may last only as long as the effects ofJ.S. Bach in a baby's ear. "I would like to offer a suggestion concerningdefense oftheir homeland. To fly the flag the Confederate Flag controversy in Southnow they say not only preserves the unique Carolina. At present, there seems to be noheritage ofthe South, but honors those who room for compromise: either the Confederatemade the supreme sacrifice in its defense, Batdeflag is going to be flown atop die State-which sends exacdy the right kind of message house in Columbia, or it isn't. One groupto our children. My suggestion is that sees the flag as a symbol of racial inequalitylegislators consider flying a fourth flag— and widespread social injustice in the ante-the Companion Flag—below the three flags bellum South. To fly the flag now they say is(U.S., South Carolina, and Confederate) to overlook or even implicidy excuse thealready on display atop the South Carolina horrors ofnineteenth-century racial bigotryStatehouse. and slavery, which sends exacdy die wrong"The Companion Flag is a new symbol, kind of message to our children. The otherfirst introduced in Seattle, Washington, in group sees in the Confederate Flag a proudJanuary, 1999. It has already been adopted symbol of southern heritage and history—a by the Seattle Center, the City ofVictoria tribute to die tens of thousands of bravein British Columbia, the House of Peace Confederate men and women who died inand Friendship of Ekaterinburg in Russia, our differences and special affiliations, but as a companion symbol to our other flags and emblems it allows us to embrace both parts ofour nature: the fact that we are at once different and the same. "The Companion Flag flying below the U.S., South Carolina, and Confederate flags atop the Statehouse in Columbia would convey an unmistakable message to the children of South Carolina and all visitors to the state: here we are proud ofour differences, our history, and our heritage, but we are mindful , too, of our essential humanity and all that we share in common widi people everywhere, no matter who diey are, where they live, or how pronounced their differences...


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