Legendary rocker Tom Petty died at 66 this week, and the Washington Post thought it was the perfect time to talk about the Confederate flag.
Yesterday, writer Elahe Izadi published an article titled “Tom Petty Used The Confederate Flag Onstage In The ‘80s. Then He Took A Stand Against It.”
Tom Petty used the Confederate flag onstage in the ‘80s. Then he took a stand against it. https://t.co/4XLYSKMIUw
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 3, 2017
The point of this article very clearly isn’t to celebrate or even commemorate Petty’s life. It’s intended to rile up emotion and ensnare yet another high profile figure into a race debate.
She attempts an explanation:
“Southern Accents” initially was intended as a concept album, but the consensus was that it was an not fully realized concept. Still, several of the songs clearly were inspired by the South. While Los Angeles had been the band’s home for nearly a decade at that point, they hailed from Gainesville, Fla., and spent a significant amount of time in the South during a previous tour.
This is written in such a way that you could replace “Gainesville, Fla.” with “Yemen” or “Iran” and it would still read normally. The sheer hatred and condemnation Izadi holds for the South is palpable.
But the article continues, detailing the efforts Petty made to atone for his Confederate sins. She describes the time Petty likened the Confederate flag to a Swastika, and his decision to stop a performance to reprimand his audience for bringing Rebel flags to the tour (the same tour that was marketed with a Confederate flag).
And in some sort of bizarre effort to justify why Southerners use the Confederate flag, Izadi includes a 2015 quote from Petty.
It isn’t necessarily racism. They just don’t like Yankees. They don’t like the North.
Well that certainly helps to clear things up. Thanks for the heartfelt memoir, WaPo. I’m sure this will bring every Petty fan together more than ever before.