For some, the Confederacy fought to preserve slavery; for others, it’s states’ rights

Mike Staton offers a well researched and thoughtful post on the meanings of the Confederate battle flag, racism, and change. Mike is a retired journalist.

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

This blog post was written by Mike Staton. This blog post was written by Mike Staton.

The times they are a changin’.

It’s the title of a rather famous song by Bob Dylan, released as the title track of his 1964 album of the same name. He wrote it to create an anthem of change for the time.

The song fits my mood right now. Listen. Remember:

We do change, right? We’re not the same people we were decades ago, right? We grow. Or de-evolve. We become better people. Or demons in human flesh.

In 1976, I joined a Civil War re-enactment group, a Confederate regiment, the 26th North Carolina. It was a way for me to learn about the life of a soldier in the 1860s. One summer during my college years I’d drawn meticulous maps of Civil War battlefields, places in rural America that would collect forever-bloody names like Antietam, Gettysburg and The Wilderness…

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Abraham Lincoln, Lewis Thomas, George Will, & Me: Great Minds Think Alike; or, Kurt Vonnegut, Go Fly a Kite

Semicolon (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Public domain.


 Abraham Lincoln

“With educated people, I suppose, punctuation is a matter of rule; with me it is a matter of feeling. But I must say I have a great respect for the semi-colon; it’s a useful little chap.”
Abraham Lincoln

Lewis Thomas

Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.
Lewis Thomas, M. D.

Kurt Vonnegut

“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” 
 Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

George Will

Semicolons . . . signal, rather than shout, a relationship. . . . A semicolon is a compliment from the writer to the reader. It says: “I don’t have to draw you a picture; a hint will do.”
George Will

Kathy Waller

I love semicolons.

My master’s thesis was rife with them.

But my critique group says I mustn’t use them any more. They say I should follow Kurt Vonnegut’s rule.

Mr. Vonnegut is wrong. The semicolon is not a transvestite hermaphrodite, representing absolutely nothing.

It is a compliment from the writer to the reader.

It is a wooden bench, where you can sit for a moment, catching your breath.

It’s a useful little chap.

When Mr. Vonnegut called the semicolon a transvestite hermaphrodite–well, bless his heart, he must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.