do very well in New York, BeverlynHills, and San Francisco.” Yes, indeed.nTell you what, we’d leave themnalone if they’d leave us alone. But herencomes a smarty-pants Washington lawyer—ntwo words that should terrify andnnauseate honest folk everywhere — tonsue the state of North Carolina, challengingna law that exempts the Biblenfrom state sales tax. The former Dukenstudent is suing on behalf of twonmembers of the ACLU, a Jew, and twonHindus who want Bible-buyers to rendernunto Caesar.nFor my part, I find it charming thatnNorth Carolina doesn’t tax Holy Writnbut (unlike most states) does tax thensale of food. That eloquently bespeaksna conviction that (all together now)nman does not live by bread alone.nMaybe you read that somewhere.nIncidentally, the Charlotte Observernreports that a marketing survey rankingnthe top hundred markets according tonthe percentage of households in whichnthe Bible is read regularly put Charlotten14th, with 28 percent, comparednto a national average of 18 percent.nI guess cheap Bibles could be onenreason.nIn a probably unrelated developmentnthe Associated Press reports thatnCharlotte leads the nation in per capitanketchup consumption. (Three of thenJINGO CRIT, ORnPATRIOTISM’S LAST STANDnA foreigner may criticize almost anythingnmore easily than literature. You donnot have to be an American to revile thenforeign or domestic policies of the UnitednStates, at least in the right company;nand one can lecture across the land in anEuropean accent on most topics ofnnational or international concern to sympathetic,neven enthusiastic audiences.nBut not, in a foreign accent, on Americannliterature. Condemn the U.S. deficit,nby all means, the way Americans eatnor dress, or their behavior in the Persiann(or Arabian) Gulf They will love it. Butn46/CHRONICLESntop five cities were Southern: Atlantanand Memphis were the other two, withnMinneapolis and Omaha taggingnalong.) Rick Carter of the HickorynHouse in Charlotte said folks put thenred goop on “just about everything.”n”It’s just like beer — they suck itndown.” Between services.nSpeaking of things the pinkonsecular-humanist liberal hermaphroditesndon’t want us to do, remembernthe old joke about the teacher who seesnsome kids kneeling in the hall (“Whatnare you all doing?” “Shooting dice.”n”Oh, that’s all right — I thought younwere praying.”)? Well, last year innMarion, North Carolina, three childrennwere suspended from gradenschool not for praying but for preaching.nMatthew and Duffey Strode werenwitnessing outside Eastfield ElementarynSchool one morning before school,nwhen principal Jim Gorst bade themndesist and come inside.nTen-year-old Duffey replied: “Woenunto you, scribes and pharisees.”nNot to be outdone, five-year-oldnMatthew observed: “Marriage is honorablenin all, and the bed undefiled.nBut whoremongers and adulterers Codnwill judge.”nSix-year-old sister Pepper kept thensilence enjoined upon her sex, but thenprincipal suspended all three anyway.nLIBERAL ARTSnno European had better try lecturing onnFaulkner, Frost, or Hemingway in thenUnited States. I have seen Americannaudiences turn pale with fury when anEuropean offers even the most favorablenaccount of the imposing American literarynachievement since Leaves of Grass.nAn Italian professor of American literaturenonce told me in near-faultless Englishnand with tears in her eyes thatnthough she could teach such things innan Italian university, and did, nonlearned conference in the United Statesnwould take her views about Hawthornenor Melville seriously, simply becausenshe was not an American. And whennGeoffrey Moore, British editor of thennnMeanwhile, some other Tar Heelnschools faced a different sort of Firstn• Amendment issue. Down the road innDurham, an administrator at GithensnJunior High School confiscated a student’sndenim jacket because it had anrebel flag on the sleeve, and a numbernof other • high-school and junior-highnstudents were suspended when theyndefied orders not to wear such patches.nOne administrator defended his actionsnby saying that displays of the flagnmight cause trouble. A local commentatornrightly observed that on that basisnOle Miss was right to refuse admissionnto James Meredith.nExcuse me if I exit editorializing,nwould you? This annoys me rightnsmart.nLook, we’re not talking here aboutnincluding the rebel emblem in a statenflag the way Mississippi and Georgiando. We’re not talking about flying itnover the statehouse, like Alabama, ornincluding it as part of policemen’snuniforms, like Franklin, Tennessee.nWe’re not talking about selling Confederatenflag license plates in state-runnagencies, as in North Carolina. In eachnof these cases, maybe there is somethingnto be said for getting governmentnout of the act. Maybe.nBut in Durham all we had was somenteenaged Hank Williams Jr. fans whonPenguin Book of Modern AmericannVerse (1954), addressed an internationalnaudience on certain qualitative differencesnbetween the British and Americannpoetic traditions, the indignation ofnlearned Americans in his audience wasnboundless — for all that his first academicnappointment had been in thenUnited States and his account in no wayndisparaging of the American achievement.n—from “The Americanness of AmericannPoetry” by George Watson, in thenwinter 1989 number of the VirginianQuarterly Reviewn