India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

Confederate Flag

Today I saw a Confederate flag hanging in the front window of a small house in upstate New York. The house looked tiny and dirty. It was unpainted, and the light from the small window was completely blocked by the flag. It must be really dark inside.

I keep wracking my brain, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. I’ve seen them in pictures, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one in person. Obviously, I don’t leave the Northeast that much, but I’m quite surprised to see one up here. I wonder if they know that, had the South won, they would be in the wrong country? I want to laugh at them for being ignorant but I don’t find it that funny and I don’t feel superior. Even though I feel like I should. I’d love to write a little mock history of how a family from the Confederacy came to be immigrants in the North. I could make believe that the South won the war the way that imagining a triumphant evil has become popular in dystopian fiction and TV. What would happen if the Nazis won? What would happen if Roe v. Wade was repealed? Imagine this crazy world! At least ours isn’t that bad.

We can always imagine a worse outcome. When a drunk man sang at me on the street and asked me to “suck him off,” after I just thought, at least he didn’t touch me! At least that car didn’t hit me when I rushed across the street without looking to get away from him! And then, by comparison, we aren’t doing half bad.

I feel ridiculous to bring this up, but in fitness, I’m constantly telling my clients not to compare themselves to others. It just isn’t motivating. Why is it okay to compare history to fake history? Why is it okay for this family or man—I imagine him as alone, and feel comfortable doing so—to imagine and romanticize a world where the Confederacy dominated? What do we gain as a society by comparison to something that did not happen? That’s a comparison between fantasy and reality. It does not make sense to me.

He is a refugee from a fantasy land. But I’m sure he has strong feelings about immigrants. Even though he is flying a treasonous flag.

But he isn’t even flying it. It’s just stapled over his front window so he can live in a weird Confederate cave.

It is scary. The only reason I can think of that someone would display a Confederate flag is because of hate. They say sticks and stones blah blah blah, but words and symbols are scary, too. I wonder how angry you’d have to be to put a Confederate flag over the sun? It seems like almost too perfect a metaphor. That’s crippling hate.

I read a statistic today: “In rural America, rapes increase during hunting season.” [Utmost Existence, V.L.Seek]. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but seeing as how I am in this town to shoot a film about a hunter shooting a woman walking in the woods—a film I wrote about violence against women—it was a funny coincidence to read that quote.

I know people think hunting is a sport. I do not. It is a willful participation in violence. You could argue that sports are as well, but sports don’t involve killing something that is fundamentally helpless against the tools, information, and technology that you possess. Are we superior beings simply because we can kill all others?

I guess I’m a vegetarian now.

That’s a bad joke.

I guess I don’t understand hunters’ minds, and I don’t identify with people who fly Confederate flags. And whether the weapon is a symbol or a sport, I identify more with the prey than the predator.

Men and Beds