Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
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Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

August 12, 2019


Before our main story tonight, I’d like to do something
a little different and just quickly tell you
about a beloved icon of my childhood,
and it’s this man… WOMAN:For 20 years he made
the dreams of young people
come true,with his hugely popular
Jim’ll Fix Itprogram.Best known for his
trademark jewelry,
track suits, tinted glasses,
and Havana cigar.
Now, I know it’s
hard to believe, but that bizarre looking man,
Jimmy Savile, was a national hero. We named places for him,
we gave him a knighthood, we even put up
this statue of him, even though it clearly looks
more like a cheese sculpture
of George Carlin -that someone left in the sun.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Now, he had a show called
Jim’ll Fix It,
where he basically
granted wishes. And like many British kids,
I actually wrote to him. I asked him to make me the mascot
for Liverpool football club, and he never wrote back. Which I’m actually glad about,
because after he died, Britain began to find out
who he really was. And the truth was horrific. He’s gone from a much loved
entertainer, and respected charity
fundraiser, to a man described by
Scotland Yard as a predatory sex offender.Jimmy Savile’s headstone
was here
for less than three weeks.His epitaph read,
“It was good while it lasted.”
Oh! That is an unsettling thing to have written
on his gravestone. Although to be fair,
nearly every famous epitaph would sound horrifying written
on a sex offender’s gravestone. From Dean Martin’s “Everybody
loves somebody sometime,” to Rodney Dangerfield’s
“There goes the neighborhood.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-You know, funny, funny. But if he’d been
a sex offender, not so much. The point is, Savile’s
headstone was taken down, as was that sign,
and that creepy statue, because once we found out
that he was a monster, we accepted it was
no longer appropriate to publicly glorify him. Which actually brings us
to our main story tonight… the Confederacy. America’s tracksuit
sex offender. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-Now, in recent years, there has been a robust debate
over Confederate symbols. From flags being taken down,
to statues being removed, to the white nationalist
rallies in Charlottesville. Both the one that
ended in violence in August, and another that happened
just last night. So as this debate is clearly
not going away, we wanted to take a look
at some of the arguments. Because you don’t
have to look hard to find people very upset at the idea of Confederate
statues being taken away. You can’t change history. You can’t pick and choose
what you decide is history. I think they oughta
just leave ’em alone and leave ’em
where they are, you know. They’re part of history. I just don’t think
we can erase our history. It may not represent
the best idea… that anybody ever came up with. But nevertheless,
it’s part of our history. And, uh,
I think it should stay there. You know what,
I’ll give him this, he is right that the Confederacy
and everything that came with it is, to put it mildly,
“not the best idea… -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-anybody ever came up with.” Because that of course
is making grilled cheese on a toaster turned sideways. That is a billion-dollar idea that is also
completely worthless. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-But they’re also right about one thing. We should
remember our history, so tonight, let’s do that. And let’s look at the unique
heritage of these symbols. Starting with the fact
that there are a lot more than you might expect. REPORTER:
The Southern Poverty Law Center
found some 1,500 Confederate
memorials across the country.
More than 700 of them
are statues and monuments,
and ten U.S. military basesare named for
Confederate officers.
Think about that. There are U.S. military bases
named for Confederate officers. And they were the enemy.
They killed U.S. soldiers. That’s like finding out that
Nancy Kerrigan -named her child Tonya Harding.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Why would you do that?
That’s a weird choice. And tributes to the Confederacy
are everywhere in the South, and notably some
in the North too. And that map doesn’t include
kitschy ways that the Civil War is presented,
like at this family restaurant: ANNOUNCER:
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
brings a rip roaring
taste of America to life.
Dixie’s Stampede
is a musical extravaganza
of sight and sound.Centered around a friendly
North-South rivalry,
friendly servers bring
the delicious four course feast
right to you.Including a whole
rotisserie chicken,
and all the Pepsi, iced tea,
or coffee you like.
Yes. That is
a Confederate soldier serving a small child
all the Pepsi she likes. Which is still remarkably only Pepsi’s second worst
ad campaign. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING
AND CHEERING) And the thing is if you grew up
with experiences like that, it can seem like the Civil War
is just a friendly rivalry. A fun, colorful part
of U.S. history. But that omits the key fact
about the Civil War. The Confederacy was fighting for
the preservation of slavery. And that’s not my opinion,
that is just a fact. There are many ways
that we know this. Slavery is mentioned in
multiple state’s declarations of secession with Mississippi saying, “Our position
is thoroughly identified with the institution
of slavery.” The Confederate Constitution
contains a clause enshrining slavery forever. And then there’s the speech
Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president
gave in 1861, in which he articulated
the basic principles for the Confederate nation. ALEXANDER STEPHENS:
Its foundations are laid.
Its cornerstone rests upon
the great truth
that the Negro is not
equal to the white man.
That slavery, subordination
to the superior race,
is his natural and
normal condition.
Wow. Subordination to
the superior race. That is explicit. If the Confederacy was not
about slavery, somebody should really
go back in time and tell the fucking
Confederacy that. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And yet, remarkably, many people think the Civil War
was over something else. REPORTER 2:When people
were asked, “What do they think
the main cause
of the Civil War is?”
48% said,
“Mainly about states’ rights.”
Only 38% said,
“Mainly about slavery.”
Nine percent said “both.”And that is amazing. Only 38% thought the Civil War
was mainly about slavery. In other words,
look to your left, now look to your right, statistically all three of you
live in a country where only 38% percent of people -think the Civil War
was mainly about slavery.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And on that “states’ rights”
argument, for the record, the Southern states were
ardently pro-states’ rights. But with some
glaring exceptions. Notably, when Northern states passed laws to help protect
runaway slaves, the South wanted
the federal government to override those states laws. So, they loved states’ rights, as long as they were
the right states’ rights. The wrong states’ rights
would be states’ wrongs, wrongs which would
need to be righted by the right states’ rights–
look, to put it really simply, they just wanted to
own black people, -and they didn’t much care how.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) That’s a fact! But that’s a very hard fact
for some people to accept. Especially if a member
of your family fought for the Confederacy. And sometimes,
the understandable desire to want to distance
your relative from that cause can lead to people
distorting the cause itself. Just watch as one man at a community meeting
in North Carolina defended a Confederate statue by talking about
his family history. My great grandfather
was a Confederate soldier. And I was proud of that. Because my opinion of his fight was for his rights. I don’t know what
his rights were. I wasn’t there. He was dead long before
I came along. But I’m really concerned
about our monument. I want it to stay. It reminds me that I got
a little rebel in me. You know, we all want to
kind of be independent. We all have a little
rebel in us, even the ladies. -Ooh! Even the ladies!
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Hashtag feminism,
hashtag confedera-she. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)
-And look, look. I don’t know, I don’t know why his great grandfather
fought. It is hard to know
the motivations of any individual soldier. What we do know is that
again, collectively, they were fighting to preserve
the institution of slavery. And I do get, honestly,
I honestly get wanting a more comfortable
history for your family. But in doing so,
you can’t invent a more comfortable history
for your country. Because you would be erasing
the actual painful experiences of many Americans. As a fellow North Carolinian
explains. When I walk by this statue,
I– it becomes very painful when I think of the suffering
that my ancestors went through. They enslaved people. Abused people for their own
economic impact.And it should not be
celebrated by these statues.
Right. And that is
the harsh reality of what was done by
those Confederate men. And yes, even the ladies, -hashtag confedera-she.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) If you want to see
a perfect crystallization of what happens when
two people have wildly different views
of the same symbol, just watch this
local news clip. Why do you carry that flag? Because this is my heritage. My family fought
to save their farm under this flag. Who was working that farm? Ooh! (AUDIENCE LAUGHING IN DISBELIEF) That is a good, tough question. And the news clip
actually cut out there, but we were so intrigued to
find out what his response was we tracked it down. And whatever you are expecting,
you’re going to be surprised. -MAN: Who was working that farm?
-My family was! -Who was working the farm?
-They were poor, Do you know how much
a slave cost back then?! -(AUDIENCE SHOUTING)
-Oh! Whoa, whoa, whoa! You know you are in the wrong when you decide
your best argument is screaming at a black man, “Do you know how expensive
you used to be?!” It is– It is comments like that one that landed this guy
on the cover ofHoly Shit That Is Not
Remotely The Point
magazine. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And look, that– that is clearly
an intense example. But denial of this painful
part of history can take many forms. Look at PBS’s
Finding Your Roots,
where Henry Louis Gates
explores celebrities’ family histories, and he often finds some shit. Famously, Ben Affleck
pulled strings to get the show
to remove all references to his slave-owning ancestors. And though he later apologized, that impulse right there
is not good. Because it sanitizes history. And while there is no
easy way to respond to learning that kind of
horrible information, it is worth watching
Anderson Cooper find out how one relative of his died. Boykin was murdered by
a rebellious slave. Wow. Your ancestor was
beaten to death with a farm hoe. (LAUGHS)
Oh my God. That’s amazing.
This is incredible. (LAUGHS) I am blown away. -You think he deserved it?
-ANDERSON COOPER: Yeah. -Wow. You know what?
-(AUDIENCE CLAPPING) You know what,
as a general rule, just try not to live a life …that could lead a descendant
of yours to one day say, “A guy smashed
grand-poppy’s head in with a garden hoe? That’s amazing.
Great job ‘That Guy!'” (LAUGHING) But, my absolute
favorite response to a nasty surprise, undoubtedly
comes from Larry David, who received
a real one-two punch. Are you telling me that
my great-grandfather fought for the South? In the Civil War? (LAUGHS) What? Are you kidding? Oh, my goodness… I hope no slaves show up
on this– Please turn the page. (MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER HOLLERS) Now, Larry, this is
another part of the 18th– Oh– oh, you did it!
You did it! -I knew it! I knew it!
-(GATES LAUGHING) -Unbelievable!
-Unbelievable. Boy. HENRY LOUIS GATES JR:
That’s b– unbelievable. Oh boy, oh boy. -Yeah. Prettay, prettay,
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) pretty bad! Pretty bad! And look! Larry David
is not responsible for what his ancestors did. None of us are. I have to believe that,
because I’m English. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And I would like to go to an Indian restaurant again
at some point in my life. (LAUGHING CONTINUES) But– but we do have to reckon
personally, and as a country with what our heritage means. You can’t ignore it like Batman, you can’t say
it’s something else like town meeting Santa, you’ve got to actively,
painfully, come to grips with slavery, and the lasting benefits
and disadvantages that if conferred. In ways that, frankly,
we haven’t yet. And that actually brings us back
to Confederate monuments, because there is
something about them that that symbolizes our reluctance
to have that conversation and that is the dates
that they went up. Because while some
initial memorials were built mainly in cemeteries,
shortly after the Civil War, the real surge came
much, much later. MALE REPORTER 1:
The Southern Poverty Law Center
says a majorityof the more than 700
Confederate monuments
in public spaces
across the country,
were erected decades
after General Lee’s surrender.
It’s true, as this chart of the years that
they were dedicated shows, there was a big spike
from 1900 to 1920 as white southerners were
re-asserting their dominance through things like
Jim Crow laws, uh, with another spike in the
50s and 60s as the Civil Rights Movement
was gaining steam, so those statues weren’t so much commemorating
recently fallen dead, as sending
a pretty hostile message to African-Americans. And sending messages is kind of
what statues are often for. This one says,
“We love freedom.” This one says, “The most notable thing
about our city -is a fictional character.”
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) (STAMMERS) And this one says,
“About yay big.” -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-We still don’t know… what he was trying to measure,
but whatever it was, -it was… “About yay big.”
-(LAUGHING CONTINUES) But… look, for some
Confederate statues though, for some Confederate statues
the intent is crystal clear. In that town meeting
from before, the statue that
they were debating was this one, which went up
in 1914 and a leader of
that county’s chapter of the KKK gave a speech at its dedication, calling the occasion
an opportunity “To recall the achievements
of the great and good of our own race and blood.” Which, again, is pretty
on-the-nose right there. And the largest
Confederate memorial, the carving on Stone Mountain
in Georgia, is located where the
20th century KKK was born. It depicts
three Confederate leaders on horseback, and
it was completed in 1972, so that means
there is color footage of the dedication. After nearly half a century
of work, the memorial carving here at Stone Mountain
is finally finished. And officials are calling it
the eighth wonder of the world. We must recall those principals
of loyalty, dignity and honor that shine through
the lives of men we commemorate today. Yes. That was
Vice President Spiro Agnew commemorating the loyalty
of literal traitors. But, what can you really expect
from a man whose name, rearranged, spells
“Grow a Penis.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And… and some– here’s the thing. Some monuments went up
even more recently. I– I wanna show you one that was erected
on private lands, but very much for
public consumption. Because once you see it,
you will not forget it. MALE REPORTER 2:
The statue was erected in 1998.
It portrays
Nathan Bedford Forrest
on his horse.Gun in one hand,
and sword in the other.
Surrounded by
Confederate state battle flags,
visible for all to see
on the side of I-65.
(CARS DRIVING BY) MALE REPORTER 2:Forrest was
a Confederate general
-and an early leader of the KKK.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) That is just
objectively terrifying regardless of context. He looks like if a nickel
did cocaine. -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-So– so some of these statues commemorate people who thought
a war to preserve slavery, were erected to preserve
white supremacy and were dedicated by
Klan members and yet, there is a blanket defense that tends to get
authored by people and not just people,
also, this guy. They’re trying to take away…
our culture. They’re trying to take away
our history. Okay, that argument is
taking these statues down obliterates history, which is
clearly just ridiculous. First, monuments are not
how we record history, books are. Museums are. Ken Burns
12-part mini-series are. Statues are how we
glorify people. Or, in the case of one in Tokyo,
how we glorify giant radioactive lizards. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And yet, the President’s concern
seems to be that tearing down statues
leads to a slippery slope. This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s
coming down, I wonder, is it
George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson
the week after? You know, you all– you really do
have to ask yourself, “Where does it stop?” Okay, well,
I’ll tell you where it stops. Somewhere. Anytime someone asks,
“Where does it stop?” The answer is always,
“Fucking somewhere!” You might let your kid
have Twizzlers, but not inject black-tar heroin. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-You d– you don’t just go, “Well, after the Twizzlers,
where does it stop?” -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-And the same is true of Confederate monuments. Think of it this way,
all people, living and dead, exist on what I’m gonna call
The Hitler-Hanks spectrum, from bad to good. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, CHEERING)
-And at some point on the spectrum, monuments to honor people
are going to be inappropriate. Although it– to be fair, it does get tricky
around the middle, where, of course, you’ll fine
Adolf Hankler. -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-And– and look, there are clearly people
deserving of statues who were imperfect humans. And sometimes our standards
change over time, which can then get tricky, because you’re judging
historical figures by modern standards. But for many
Confederate monuments, especially those erected
well after the Civil War, valorizing the cause or leadership
of the Confederacy, this really isn’t a close call. This is your babysitter
showing up in a Jimmy Savile t-shirt. I don’t care what you think
that represents, you’re not staying home
with my fucking kid tonight. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And for Robert E. Lee
in particular, it’s actually even easier
because of this. MALE REPORTER 1:Interestingly,
Robert E. Lee was once asked
about placing memorials
at Gettysburg in 1869.
The former general replied,“I think it wiser… not to
keep open the sores of war,
but to follow the examples
of those nations
who endeavored to obliterate
the marks of civil strife,
to commit to oblivion
the feelings engendered.”
It’s true. Robert E. Lee
was opposed to statues of people like Robert E. Lee. So, any city that decides
to keep a statue of him should at the very least
add a speech bubble saying, “You know, I told you all
specifically, not to do this.” (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) So– so what do we do now? Well– well, I would argue
that nothing is not acceptable, and– and trying
to paper over the cracks can actually make things worse. In the 1990s, Richmond tried
to fix its Monument Avenue, a street lined with statues
of Confederate leaders by adding
African-American tennis legend, Arthur Ashe to it. And you can’t just
give Confederates a black friend and say, “We’re good, right?” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-We’re good! Arthur’s up there! You love Arthur! So– so, if we really want
to learn from, and honor our history,
perhaps the first step might be to put
most of these statues somewhere more appropriate, surrounded by
ample historical context, like in a museum. Where people go to
proactively learn about history, and also
to punish their children. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And please, try not to think of this
as a loss, because it’s actually
a real opportunity, and I’ll show you, please. Come with me. -♪ (PATRIOTIC MUSIC PLAYING) ♪
-Because if and when a pleat becomes empty, that is a chance for your area
to honor someone who really deserves it. A– And I have some–
some ideas for replacements that I would love
to run by you. First, Beaufort County,
South Carolina, how about
a giant statue of… Robert Smalls here? He was born into slavery. He stole a Confederate boat,
and he sailed it to freedom, and later served five terms
in Congress. This guy is amazing. Atlanta, Texas. You are the birthplace to… Bessie Coleman. The first
African-American woman pilot. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-Why would you not want this
in your town? She’s incredible! Now, Florida. You might not want
an individual, but how ’bout something
that honors what your state represents? Something that says, “You’ve got
a little rebel in you.” So, I give you this statue of your
official state reptile… -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-an alligator giving everyone the finger. He’s called Herman, and he definitely says Florida, while also having
nothing to do with slavery. And finally,
finally, there is Charleston, and to you, I say this. Why have a divisive,
Confederate statue when instead, that pedestal can be filled
by your favorite son, -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-the actual Stephen Colbert, who will stand up there
all day telling you fun facts
about your wonderful town. -JOHN OLIVER: Right?
-Yes. -OLIVER: Really?
-Yes. Charleston. Charleston. Charleston is the site
of the first free public library -in America.
-That’s fascinating, Stephen. Every year,
we host Zugunruhefest, the Southeast’s
most comprehensive migration-focused
birding festival. That sounds incredible,
I’ll google it! See Charleston? You can have this
24 hours a day, seven days a week. I– I actually need
to do my show five days a week. Five! How? (AUDIENCE CHUCKLING) (WHISPERS) I don’t know.
I don’t know. Ooh! We’re also
Travel and Leisure’s
number one U.S. destination
for the last five years running. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-Come on Charleston, you can
have this in your life! That’s our show,
thank you so much for watching. See you next week. Goodnight!

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  1. Man, I thought "America's Track Suit Sex Offender" was still putting the Confederacy in mild terms. Then I heard homeboy with his "It may not represent the best idea that anybody ever came up with…"

    Also, best line ever: "If the Confederacy was NOT about slavery, somebody should really go back in time and TELL THE FUCKING CONFEDERACY."

  2. The only differences is that America has a hand full of dumb fucks and proud of it. The Confederates are clearly the villains, but heritage is worth more, apparently…not really, just racist jackasses.

  3. No other country in the world would allow statues gloryfying a racist armed insurrection against itself.

  4. Now first off, I'm Mexican lol (does that give me a free pass? No.) Do they stay up or go down who cares, I say. But fucking know what your saying when defending you position. Both union and confederation WERE FOR SLAVERY. The main conflict was over the new states in the westward expansion belonging to north and south, and wether same slave laws were going to be allowed in them. The only reason the union expedited the freedom of African Americans as US citizens was for a push in wartime support. Not gonna go further than that, also I'm not a history major. If you want to educate me further or maybe debate a bit I'd love to make this a thread.

  5. I don't see Germany saying this about the holocaust and swastikas and Hitlers time. You can see history in a museum. Angry butthurt racist comments in 3, 2, 1,…… go. Oh yeah, and let me add Democrats, leftist snowflakes and president Obama and Hillary Clinton. I think I wrote down all of the usual replies.

  6. Oh yeah I forgot to add the other typical response, but people in different countries in Africa sold slaves😒 okay and they were wrong also and no one forced the slave masters to buy them. If someone tries to sell me a slave today the answer would be no, simple. If I choose to buy a slave I'm just as guilty as the person selling them. The fact that they sold them doesn't absolve me.

  7. No not that! You're removing history! Oh God, I can feel it happening. Who were we in the past?! Who am I?! WHAT IS GOING ON!?

    14:55 "Spiro Agnew" to me, looks like a name that was intentionally rearranged from "Grow A Penis"

  8. The Union/broader United States don't exactly represent the best of history either. I'm a Black woman and die-hard leftist to boot, but I don't see why anyone would/should be more offended by the sight of the Confederate flag than by the sight of the American flag. The Confederacy didn't survive long enough to do a fraction of the damage the United States has done. Genocide, chattel slavery, eugenics, racist pseudo-science, racist mob violence, and a myriad other crimes against humanity – these took place in the Northern U.S., at the hands of Northern whites, before and after the Civil War. Furthermore, Northern whites were essential to the spread of U.S. imperialism to the Phillippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. Mariana Islands (and if you'll notice, 5 out of 7 of the aforementioned territories are still colonies, while 1 was annexed so whites could maintain a veneer of respectability on their colonial project). And as for the idea that the Civil War was about slavery – it wasn't. Or at least it wasn't in that Union officials didn't make war on seceding Southern states to end the institution of slavery. The Civil War era federal government never forced Union state Delaware to end slavery. And if you read the Emancipation Proclamation, you'll find that it presents abolition as a punishment for continued Southern rebellion, not as a moral imperative. So basically, the people calling the shots during the Civil War never really gave a fuck about slaves, and the Union has more blood on its hands than the Confederacy ever could have. And I have to say, I'm sympathetic to Southern whites who are upset about Confederate monuments being taken down – why take down Robert E. Lee and leave Thomas Jefferson (slave-owning child rapist)?

  9. Right or wrong this is a dispute between two ages. In one, perhaps 2036 an action might be right or wrong but in a court of 2079 the same court could decree the opposite. I hope you don't see this as to far a point. 2:09 Some will understand.

  10. Slaveery and states right overlap.
    But the flag and monuments are a part of a greater culture of the south. Why destroy ?

  11. Secession was about slavery, and the war was about secession. Very few men of influence in the North were abolitionists. Technically the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free a single slave – slavery remained legal in the border states and in Union-occupied territory in the southern states, and obviously it had no direct power to free the slaves in Confederate territory.

  12. Little Soy Boy John Oliver is teaching Americans to hate their country!
    Why not tell your leftist, brainwashed listeners, Johnny, that if they are going to hate the Confederate Flag because a minority of whites owned slaves (freed black also owned slaves) then they need to also hate the democratic party, because those Southern People were democrats.

  13. The Lost Cause narrative of the late 1800s and early 1900s was the reason for much of the hype over the Confederacy. It cut out the reason that the war was over slavery. Hell, Robert E. Lee was against commemorating the war through memorials and monuments because of how horrendous it and it's cause was.

    "For the average Southern soldier, preserving the government created by the Founding Fathers was paramount. The constitution was not some fluid document adjusting with time. When the other side refused to acknowledge protection of slavery guaranteed by the federal statutes, Southern states left the Union to preserve what had been." James I. Robertson, Jr. Virginia Tech

  14. Affleck is a pussy. My mom's maiden name is Lee. Direct descendants of confederate general Robert E. Lee. You think I'm proud of that? HELL no. I've been deeply ashamed of it my entire life but it's the truth and I face it. Because I'm not some Hollywood snowflake that can't handle the truth.

  15. He kissed a stranger's kid on the lips in the promo…that pretty much told me everything right there, even before you mentioned his name.

  16. The CSA was the 19th century equivalent of the Third Reich. Glorifying it or defending it is racist. It's that simple.

  17. The people who are most proud of being "white" are the people who make me most embarrassed about being "white". If they are the shining supreme embodiment of "whiteness" I must be a literal garbage person.

  18. Heard a podcast from the CBC about problematic statues and there's some sort of project to change the plaques to better express the subjects' role in history, such as how they treated the indigenous versus celebrating conquering land or winning wars. I think something like this would be the best solution, but idk they're still teaching in public schools that the Civil War was about economics and states' rights instead of slavery, even in the north where I'm from

  19. The issues of Civil War were multiple and diverse. However the rebellion of that was perpetrated by traitors. If they had won they would have been Patriots. But they didn't, they were traitors. And the reasons why they where erected was and perpetrating racist / racism.

  20. Spake the man, whose country still has monuments of Winston Churchill. He was responsible for 1943 Bengal famine, which killed nearly 3 million men, women and children. When Churchill was informed of ravaging famine, he said, "They deserve it, they breed like rabbits". United Kingdom is full of commemorative statues and memorabilia of kings, queens generals and prime ministers who oversaw 200 years of ruthless colonization, barbarism and destruction of Indian subcontinent. You want to talk about history? Learn your own and remove those Churchill monuments before lecturing Americans.

    — Love from Bangladesh.

  21. I live in North PA and I still see idiots flying the confederate flag. They do realize were in the north right?

  22. Well John, you just opened a can of worms. Pretty sure even this comment will get attacked by Neo-Nazis and people who believe removing Hitler Statues was destroying German history! It’s not! It only lasted 12 years! The bloody united Netherlands lasted longer!

  23. every Civil War historian agrees that it was about slavery. Opposition to slavery was the main reason the Republican party was established in the 1850s!

  24. Shits on Ben Affleck for trying to suppress his family history… is all for removal of statues. Wtf??

    Slavery was the worst thing to ever happen to our country and our society.. if we act all afraid to talk about slavery and make an effort to suppress it, there is the possibility decades down the road that the idea may happen again.

  25. We need to remember history.
    We need a Osama Bin Laden statue where the Towers once were, not another building…. 🤔

  26. I was so happy when they took these assholes statues down. Live in New Orleans. I lost alot of friends for my opinion. Who needs friends that ignorant. Most of which didn't even know New Orleans gave up first. Union came to take the miss. River and all we did was ask "ya'll want a strong drink and some Jambalaya "…. Fuck Confederate sympathizers. Long live America.

  27. I live in France. We do not have statues of General Petain, even if he was part of our history as a WWI hero, he collaborated with the Nazis. In Germany, there are no statues of Hitler or Rommel even if they are a part of history.

  28. Ya know I'm born and raised in the South. I remember in grade school how the Civil War was taught. That made the South sound very sympathetic and the North like bullies. The topic of slavery was hilariously glossed over and we learned waaay too much about Robert E Lee like he was damn war hero and I actually felt sympathetic.

    Till my black ass realized, "holy shit of they had won I wouldn't be here right now?!"

    Spell was broken by that simple logic. No one can tell me otherwise. Some can agree with me or others can be wrong.

  29. It’s so mind numbing to think about…
    “I’m willing to bury my sons so I can keep my slaves….”
    Or worse, if you’re like the self-described ‘poor’ guy in the video: “I’m willing to bury my sons, so that Other people can keep their slaves…”
    That’s commitment.

  30. Watching this in August 2019 and seeing how young Stephen looks here makes you realize how covering Trump’s daily lunacy can age a man

  31. Look, Hitler and Stalin are also part of history but do you see their statues anywhere? It's that simple.

  32. This is terrible, and I was hoping for prison term for as a retirement plan…..
    JO is a sexiest man alive that is a fact.

  33. IN America we need to have participation trophies to super villains every 50 miles or someone has a nervous breakdown. Only in my great country could a massive war break out in the South and the North gets blamed for it. We literally have people dedicated to the idiotic concept that the North invaded the South.

  34. Russia and Eastern Europe still commemorate their communist partisans that fought in the war (with communist symbology untouched) even tough they no longer believe in that ideology. I don't see why that can't be the case with American South especially since it (unlike most other parts of the world) has virtually no history without slavery and the Civil War.

  35. I'll tell you where it's going – President Trump tearing the plaque off the side of the Statue of Liberty.

    Give me your tired, your poor

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

    Send these the homeless tempest-tost to me

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    Can you imagine him reading these words in a speech and NOT explaining how unAmerican this is???

  36. In my town, back in 1910, the Board of Supervisors had purchased a confederate soldier statue. When it arrived, it wasn't a confederate soldier though, it was a Union soldier. The towns people had a fit. They didn't want that. So they ordered another. It was erected in July 1910. http://www.yourgv.com/news/local_news/first-statue-in-county-was-monumental-mix-up/article_4d13700c-85e6-11e7-940c-73004bc22f31.html

    Great story. Very funny to me. At least its not in the weeds anymore. LOL.

  37. And that's why we took the Führerbunker and built a parking lot over it. Right next to it is a holocaust memorial and the streets surrounding it are named after famous jewish historical figures

  38. We (in Germany) have cobblestones, golden in colour, worked into the sidewalk called "tripping stones" with the names of former Jewish residents, who died due to the Nazi-Regime. The cobblestones are usually where they lived before they were murdered.
    While I do love the intention, it still feels weird to me. Stepping on those names while walking on the sidewalk seems disrespectful. We should have done it otherwise, I think.

    Incidentally there are hoisted confederacy flags in Germany.

  39. Oh boy, the hate I'll get…. But let me start off saying this: If you just call me hateful names, expect me to either ignore you or respond dismissively and condescendingly. Fair warning. However, if you actually want to talk about substance, I welcome debate! I'm just here, doing this, because all perspectives should be considered, and frankly, I found this piece pretty biased. Understandably biased, but unfairly all the same.
    What really made me write this comment, after literal months of doubt, was seeing parallels between Lee and Hitler. This, from what I've read and heard, is quite frankly ludicrous. But a position is worthless unless argued, so I want to break it down.
    The real problem is that we don't see the men, apparently. I do, but most people clearly don't. In the case of Hitler, this is completely justified. Everything cruel and deranged the Third Reich ever did must've been at least green-lit by the Führer, and he deserves to be condemned and despised for it. Then it appears Robert E. Lee is seen as the Confederacy's Hitler and the Confederacy itself as the Third Reich. We need to talk about this. Apparently on YouTube. I'm probably an idiot for trying. No need to throw that at me, I already know.
    First: Was the Confederacy the Third Reich, or even remotely comparable? I guess… remotely? The Third Reich is inextricably linked to the worst crime in history, and the Confederacy for number two according to many, number three according to me. Both had perverse and vile ideas. But one is definitively worse. What the Third Reich did was actively go out of its way and waste a bunch of resources trying to completely wipe out the Jewish nation, as well as gypsies, homosexuals, etc. This is objectively evil and no one in the right mind would sign off on it. The Nazis drew criticism from Tolkien, famously deeply Catholic and deeply conservative, and racist by our standards, who even endorsed Franco, and the first 'attack', however lukewarm, on the Nazi regime came from the Catholic Church. In the '30s, the Church wouldn't exactly have been 'SJWs'. What I'm saying is, this wasn't normal even for the time, it was an anomaly in all the worst ways and it was widely despised – including by German nobles, many of whom I doubt had a lot of sympathy for the Jews.
    Now, let's look at the Confederacy. Of course they're linked to slavery, and while that is indeed terrible, the Holocaust was essentially a project. It was something the Nazis specifically set out to do with a fairly clear goal. Slavery on the other hand throughout history has always been a system – a way in which society works. People are born into a world where this is just a fact of life, where if you're a wealthy landowner, you buy slaves. That's not going out of your way to harm people, that's just… doing what you do. This is in fact so overlooked that it gives rise to those 'debates'. "It was actually about State rights, not about slavery." "State rights were a cover at best." Bitches, sit your asses down, both of you. The North and the South were operating on very different socio-economic systems – slavery being the one used by the South. This in turn gives rise to very different political interests and views and even different cultures. Basically imagine Belgium, except speaking French was considered a heinous crime in its own right, or even the modern USA, if most States weren't just dominated by Liberals or Conservatives, but almost exclusively Liberal or Conservative. They have essentially nothing in common. The free States were much stronger economically and demographically. The slave States needed to protect State rights, or they would be completely overruled. Including on slavery, the abolition of which would ruin the South, at least as far as Southern leaders could tell at the time, and they were already at a disadvantage. Just as easily, you could say that the preservation of slavery was necessary to keep the Southern States in the fight for State rights against the more prosperous North. See? The two of them are intertwined. The causes of State rights and slavery strengthened each other, not just one the other. It's not A or B, it's a whole package. So yes, it was about slavery, but that does NOT mean 'they just wanted to own black people and didn't much care how.' (Even the example then given by John Oliver is actually textbook a Confederate state model: two member States have a conflict of interests and it's up to the central authority to settle it.) Cultural divides only widened those rifts. Abolitionists condemned the whole way of life of Southern elites as evil. Turns out people don't like that. If instead there'd been campaigns showing slavery as ineffectual in the end, and Southerners were persuaded giving up slavery was in their best interests, it's not hard to imagine they would've agreed to phase it out.
    Does all of this mean the Confederacy shouldn't be judged? No. We still come from our own background, and we are well in our right to look back with abhorrence – for the cause, and the Confederacy as a whole. As long as we don't confuse that with disgust for every single man who fought for the Confederacy, we can judge the Confederacy, harshly even, and remain reasonable.
    And that brings us right back to the man himself: Robert E. Lee. If the Confederacy had been the Third Reich, would he have been the equivalent of Hitler? Excuse me. Chokes back maniacal laugh Sorry. Read up on this guy and tell me why exactly you don't want statues of him – honestly, the best reason is he himself didn't. As I said before, Hitler is at least to some extent to blame for everything evil and crazy the Nazis did. Lee on the other hand is a genuinely tragic figure. From what I've read, he once said: "There's a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war look forward to it, but I tell you, I wish I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to prevent this war." So much for 'fighting to preserve slavery' – something else he explicitly didn't want. He also opposed seccession. Why did he fight for the Confederacy? Because it was his duty. He believed in the States as the independent entities that voluntarily joined and could voluntarily leave the Union. His homeland was Virginia, not the United States. And he continued to serve and fight for his homeland even when he didn't agree with their politics. It's really like blaming US soldiers for Vietnam and the mess in the Middle East. We all should know they're not to blame, the political leaders are. In fact, I've also heard the second Confederate General, Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson, was not a fan of slavery either. And he wasn't racist to Native Americans; there actually was one in the room when he signed his surrender, an aide to the Union commander, and he is recorded to have joked: "I'm there's at least one real American here." Doesn't sound like a way a hardcore white supremacist would describe a Native, even in jest.
    So what do you think? Did I add a touch of nuance to the discussion? Or did I just spread bloated Southern propaganda, despite referring to the Confederacy as having 'perverse and vile ideas'? Or am I just another elitist Liberal snowflake cuck from Europe who'll never understand the heroic struggle against the tyrannical oppression from the North? Let me know just how despicable and biased I am below. Or, you know, we could have an actual discussion if you like, that'd work too.

  40. You'll note that the 1910s and the 1960s are also the 50th and 100th anniversaries respectively of the Civil War. Maybe that just might have something to do with the monuments being erected then too.

  41. I would be interested in the alternative history when the confederation would have won. I think slavery would have stopped anyway soon after.

  42. War is never simple; the past can only be understood from both sides; and gone with the wind is a better book than a movie. Wonder what the future will say about us…

  43. Simple question. What happened to the Confederate soldiers after the war was lost? They became part of the Union again. If the Confederacy isn't part of America's history, it wouldn't be a CIVIL war. Both sides were AMERICANS.

  44. The war was NOT about slavery – secession was. Secession and the Civil War are two seperate issues. The politicans fought for slavery, soldiers fought for their homes. Say what you will about Alexander Stephens and Jefferson Davis, but the only thing Robert E Lee and his soldiers were guilty of is having a deep rooted devotion to their states. I know it's difficult for some to understand today, but back then one's own state was more important than the country as a whole. Today most people think of themselves as just Americans, but back then people called themselves Virginians, South/North Carolinians, Marylanders, Pennsylvanians, etc. I'ts this pride in one's home which brought Lee and his solders to fight underneath the Confederate flag and It's absolutely disgraceful that politicians are dragging the names of these heroic men through the mud for the sake of reenforcing their own petty political narratives. The only "lost cause" in existence is trying to talk sense to these brainwashed finatics who have no understanding or respect for American history or even history as a whole! If Oliver and his band of left-wing cultists think they're actually making a difference in this little fight of theirs to revise history and dement the minds of the American people, then they're even dumber than we knew! John should have one of his minions search "confederate statues poll" on Google! Nearly every single study has concluded that the majority of Americans are not buying his particular brand of trash! Even his leftist buddies at CNN didn't try to hide what their polls found: 57 percent of Americans think the confederate flag is a symbol of southern heritage, only 33 percent think of it as racist! Oliver and his ilk are NOT in the majority, no matter how hard he tries to convince himself and his viewers otherwise! Despite John's best efforts, those men of the south that these statues commemorate will echo throughout time as great tacticians, devoted patriots and fearless leaders long after memory of him and his show has faded into non-existence. Robert E Lee and those who served him are great figures of American culture while John Oliver is not even a foot note!

  45. The answers for that Civil war question were extremely poorly chosen.

    The answer of state's rights and slavery were the same answer. They fought for their state's right to keep slavery.

    Also that how-much-a-slave-costs dude was so wrong and fat. If his relatives died under that flag it really can only be interpreted two ways. Either they were completely on board with slavery and the confederacy or they didn't really agree with the cause and fought because they had too.

    Then they are either terrible people or agreed with America and should be represented by the proper American Flag.

  46. I'm a white dude from Alabama and it's honestly a shame that these people have been glorified. I can say that I think many who fight for them to remain are simply ignorant of all the facts of the civil war and the confederacy, I know people who I've convinced to look further into these "heroes" and their minds have been changed. Of course, an alarming amount is well aware of the full context they've read quotes and statements by these people who are for some reason honored and think it appropriate still to honor them.

  47. Am I the only one who thinks Jimmy Savile looks a bit like Humma Kavula? 😂 I think it's the glasses, mostly.

  48. The hypocrisy of the confederacy wanting states rights but wanted to control the north’s laws reminds me how republicans are for small non restricting government but want to control a woman’s choice

  49. For a long time I always argued statues should be there for preservation of history. In Iran, we had a few of great generals and a few monuments and structures. However, I think this video changed my mind. Putting them in a museum is just as good and makes room for better figures.

  50. I think the glorification of the southern prowess in battle is also a way of bragging how good we where that we defeated this brave ennemi. The same way now the native Americans are pictured as brave warriors in extremely good shape… We also like to think Rommel was a genious general, makes the victory look so much finer.

  51. I think white people should really get over the "oh my god, my ancestors own slaves and I'm so ashamed" response. Like it's really not that big a deal for your worth as a person who's in your blood. The rape of female slaves by white overseers and masters happened in the past, children were born of those rapes, and a lot of black people have to reckon with that blood in their ancestry. Obviously, that doesn't mean those black people agree with slavery, and the same goes if you're white or any other race. You're not a better or worse person because some shit in your family tree owned slaves. It's much more important that we look at slavery's legacy and make sure we mitigate and compensate for the lasting consequences it's had on American society, no matter who we are or whose DNA we carry.

  52. Lots of confederate soldiers joined and fought because after the north embargoed/blockaded the south, food was extremely short. This was exacerbated by the 'Cotton is king' mentality. Many poor young men joined just to earn a meal a day and maybe get to shoot the people they believed were deliberately starving their friends and family.

  53. The comparison made in the beginning is ridiculous. Growing up in the south in the 1850s supporting the confederacy is what most of us would have done.

    Not close to raping children.

  54. It was for States' rights? Yeah, their right to own slaves. I'm not even American and I know this.
    Props to Anderson Cooper. His response was genuine. He didn't hesitate for a second to say he deserved it.

  55. Sooo many reasons I am going to snip and save these comments . Very scary people commenting . Racists are on the Move .

  56. John Olivor doesn't get it, what a dumb brit. The Conferacy & the Union were both Americans. The Union had to burn and pillage it's way to victory.

  57. Move the statues to museums and/ or add plaques that chronicle the reason why the statue and the person is disputed.

  58. Neo-Confederates to Bernie supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Neo-Confederates to Hillary supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Neo-Confederates to Jill Stein supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Southern City governments: "We're removing our Confederate statues because of the painful memories associated with them."
    Neo-Confederates: "BUT MUH HERITAGE!!!!!"
    Bernie supporters to Hillary and Jill Stein supporters: "If YOU GUYS won't say it to him, then I will!"

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