UnNews:Confederate flag initiates "civil war of words"

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18 March 2007

TALLAHASSEE, FL - John Sims, a former hangman-become-artist, claims that the Stars and Bars, as the Confederate flag is sometimes known, represents “visual terrorism,” although Robert Huss, a Confederate soldier’s descendant, views the same banner with “Southern pride.” Despite their different points of view concerning the flag, which is exhibited in Tallahassee, Florida’s Museum of Art and Science, their disagreement has been a surprisingly “civil war of words,” the museum’s curator, Mary Brogan said.

One of the exhibits shows the flag hanging from a hangman’s noose on a 13-foot gallows. The piece, “The Proper Way to Hang a Confederate Flag,” is offensive to Huss, and he asked that it, along with 13 other works by Sims, be removed from display.

Brogan, who speaks with a strong Irish brogue, declined to have the pieces removed. “We want to antagonize the community, as we believe that another civil war, even of only words, will publicize our museum,” she told Unnews’ reporter, Lotta Lies. “Besides, it’s fun to open old wounds that stir people up.”

Sims’ work, Huss contended, “is artistic, but offensive to those who gave their lives in the cause of preserving slavery and an aristocratic way of life, for the high and mighty plantation owner, such as exhibited in MGM’s movie, Gone With the Wind.” For this reason, he said, the flag-and-gallows exhibit should be removed.

This is not the first time that Huss and Sims have “butted heads, metaphorically speaking,” Brogan said. “They’ve also met at Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Bull’s Run, and Richmond.” Some battles, Huss has won; others, Huss has won.

Lately, the “civil war of words” has heated up, Brogan admitted, with Huss calling Sims’ art “gimmicky” and Sims responding that Huss and his forebears are “irrelevant individuals with no artistic talent and racists to boot.”

“If the museum doesn’t take the flag down,” Huss said, “I’ll take Sims out.”

“That sounds like a threat,” Sims told Huss.

“No,” Huss reportedly replied, slamming his fist into the artist’s mouth, “this is war."