Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Stonewall Jackson Killed by His Own Troops (Again)

Posted in Media, Memory by Andy Hall on September 29, 2012

It’s been a little over a year since the Lexington, Virginia City Council voted to bar all but the U.S., Virginia and municipal flags from city-owned light poles in the town. The decision was met with protests then, but there have been relatively few developments since. There was a lawsuit, of course, that was tossed out by the judge in June, and if there have been any other major developments on the legal side of the dispute, I’m not aware of them.

So to keep stirring the pot, now local SCV Camp Commander Brandon Dorsey points to the closure and layoffs as a local tourist attraction the Theater at Lime Kiln. This, Dorsey, claims, is “thanks to Lexington City Council,” and somehow vaguely the result of political correctness. Dorsey doesn’t actually explain the connection, though, which is not really surprising, given that the attached news item about the closure makes no such inference. Indeed, the article makes it clear that the theater has been in dire straits financially for the better part of a decade:

When the theater launched the fund drive earlier this year, Russell said Lime Kiln “has been on life support for the past several seasons.”
 
He said the theater has managed with a staff of three doing the work of 10, but that there were no more expenses that could be cut, while the theater’s facility continued to deteriorate and consume what little cash reserves exist.
 
The theater has asked Lexington and Rockbridge County to make $200,000 in multiyear pledges by Dec. 31, in order to make needed repairs and build a new permanent rain structure. It also is seeking a $93,000 rural development loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
When it asked for that help earlier this year, Lime Kiln said it needed a total of $300,000 by the end of the year to do all the work it needed to do in order to present a 10-performance season in 2013. It hopes to grow to 15 performances in 2014 and to become self-supporting.
 
The theater closed for a while in 2005, and now says its signature production, “Stonewall Country,” seriously overstretched its ability to operate, because of its high cost.

My emphasis. For the record, 2005 is SIX YEARS before the Lexington City Council took action on the flag ordinance.

What we have here is, pretty obviously, a case where a long-standing business that’s been teetering on the precipice for years eventually succumbs to hard economic times and competition for visitors’ entertainment dollars. Although the theater’s signature production, “Stonewall Country” (above), focuses on the life of Stonewall Jackson, there’s nothing in the news story that suggests that show, in particular, was struggling due to lack of attendance or a general antipathy toward Confederate subjects.

Dorsey offers no evidence supporting his suggestion that Lexington Mayor Mimi Elrod and her PC minions are the root cause of this event, or why, exactly, they would want the closure of a cultural venue that brings visitors and their dollars to town. And of course the ordinance passed had no bearing on the theater or any other business in Lexington. Dorsey’s claim doesn’t even make sense, frankly. But while we’re busy making unsubstantiated accusations, I’ll toss in one of my own, that at least has some logic to it.

Gary Adams claims that the SCV/Virginia Flagger boycott of Lexington has cost local merchants $633,271 in lost revenue already. Where that number comes from, I have no idea — citing the source of material he posts is not a big priority for him — and I’m dubious that it’s even a real number than can be attributed to the boycott.

But just for the moment, let’s assume this is a real number, and the boycott has cost local visitor-oriented businesses well over half a million dollars. It’s not hard to see that under those circumstances the boycott, cheered on by folks like Dorsey, Billy Bearden and Susan Hathaway, may have played a very direct role the demise of the Theater at Lime Kiln. I remain dubious that the boycott has had much real effect at all, but if it has, as its backers claim, then their fingerprints are all over the pink slips handed out to theater employees last week.

Once again, Stonewall Jackson has been killed by his own troops. Well done, asshats.

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14 Responses

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  1. Billy Bearden said, on September 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Yes, I am proud the boycott is working. Honored to be a part in it.

    Stats below are from 2011-2012

    The city is having to pay to defend the Ban lawsuit and raised taxes 0.05 per $100 from taxpayers to help.

    Lexington gained only 5% tourist revenue while Buena Vista and Rockbridge County saw 9% growth.

    Unemployment in Buena Vista is 5% and Rockbridge County is @ 7% but in Lexington it is 12%.

    On another positive note Mimi Elrod’s son recently lost a campaign bid for elected office.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

      I’m sure the folks who lost their jobs at the theater and others who have suffered reduced work hours are happy to make the sacrifice for your Confederate vanity.

      The problem with this boycott is that a whole lotta people who have nothing to do with this dispute are going to get hurt before y’all are likely to influence those folks on City Council. It’s particularly disappointing that you see 12% unemployment as a good thing. That’s a pretty perverse way to look at things.

      • Billy Bearden said, on September 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        I dont personally see 12% unemployment as a good thing, but, the slightly more than 50% of Lex voters saw fit to place THAT city council together.
        You have mentioned the ‘outsider’ issue in previous posts like when I mention Professor Brodsky and her “I am offended in front of my students” statement. If this were a small place on the back 40, most folks wouldnt even have bothered to raise a fuss, but since Lexington is a mega tourist destination, it is all about ‘outsiders’

        Lime Kiln’s biggest draw since it’s inception was the Stonewall Country show. They obviously didnt offer it enough.

        The townies are already suffering due to Mayor Elrod Regime’s tax increase. Her running the MoC off in 2007 certainly was a crushing blow to the economy (current councilmembers Alexander and Pryde were anti MoC citizens then.)

        It all boils down to this:
        To appease 1 ‘offended before her students’ professor, her 350 itenerant students, and 37 speakers at the city council meeting, Lexington is rewarded with higher taxes, 12% unemployment, a lawsuit, drop in tourism and business closures. Oh, and her son’s recent election loss.

        • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm

          Will you provide a verifiable source for the various figures you quoted, as well as the same numbers for a year or two ago, to show the change?

    • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 12:11 am

      Two other things:

      1. Where do Gary’s numbers come from — I’d like a link to an actual source

      2. What were those unemployment numbers the year before? Again, I’d like a link to a source.

      • Billy Bearden said, on September 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        1) Don’t know. Never been an associate of Mr Adams.
        2) I went thru various places like http://www.ci.lexington.va.us/pdfs/cafr2011.pdf , epodunk, http://www.lexingtonvirginia.com/pressrelease.asp?pid=117, http://www2.fdic.gov/recon/ovrpt.asp?CPT_CODE=E40&ST_CODE=51&RPT_TYPE=Tables , Wiki, etc…

        • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm

          I never asked you to verify Adams’ figures.

          Of the links you provided, the first is a 137-page document for the FY ending June 30, 2011 — two months of more before the supposed boycott. If you quoted information from it that’s relevant, you can tell me where — I’m not interested in digging for something that may be there, or may not be. In any event, it doesn’t cover the period of the boycott at all.

          The second document provides tourism data for 2011, only a fraction of which would be included in the boycott. It does give the numbers you cite, but i don’t see that it tells us much.

          The third link shows a drop in unemployment in Rockbridge County in the last two quarters of 2011 and the first two of 2012.

          The numbers for Lexington are higher overall, but drop slightly over the same period — 12.0% in 3Q 2011, before the boycott, to 11.6 in 2Q 2012, months into the boycott. It dropped into the mid-10s in Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, which I think would be normal for a college town, where employment expands a bit during the main part of the academic year.

          The unemployment data looks like a complete bust for making your case. Both for the county and the city, unemployment dropped overall during the year shown, not increased.

          You claim the boycott is working, but almost all the data you list here is from before the boycott began, or actually undermines your case.

  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on September 30, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Having spent considerable time writing about “economic impact” figures and the like, I pay little credence to numbers touted by organizations and government bodies that toss out this type of information when it suits their purposes. Using things like the multiplier effect makes it very easy to come up with big numbers that are in reality very hard to actually prove. The problem is that most people just take the data at face value, rather than doing, as you did, due diligence and asking how the figures were derived.

    In addition, this type of information is usually computed by economists or university types well versed in this sort of stuff. It would indeed be interesting to see how this group came up with its figure.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 10:32 am

      I remain dubious abut the true effectiveness of the claimed boycott. But for those who claim it to be real, and effective, need to recognize the folks it affects most — who are not the ones they’re mad at.

  3. Eugene Watson, Texas said, on September 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Political correctness will be the downfall of this country, it’s happening on a daily basis. Religious rights, voting rights (enforcement), public education (no discipline-blame the teachers), attack on gun rights (non-enforcement of existing laws), and the list goes on and on.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Except that there’s exactly zero indication that political correctness has anything to do with the struggles of this particular theater.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • Neil Hamilton said, on October 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        Andy,

        Again, I am reminded by Mr. Bearden of the saying,

        “Belief doesn not make truth.
        Evidence makes truth.
        And belief does not make evidence.”

        Zero indicators of PC and supposed boycotts does not make evidence either.

        Sincerely,
        Neil

  4. Corey Meyer said, on September 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    PC is the catch-phrase for…”I don’t have an argument I can back up”!


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