Do we need another reason to mourn Tom Petty?

He was thoughtful, and admitted when he was wrong.

The Confederate flag was the wallpaper of the South when I was a kid growing up in Gainesville, Florida. I always knew it had to do with the Civil War, but the South had adopted it as its logo. I was pretty ignorant of what it actually meant. It was on a flagpole in front of the courthouse and I often saw it in Western movies. I just honestly didn’t give it much thought, though I should have.

In 1985, I released an album called Southern Accents. It began as a concept record about the South, but the concept part slipped away probably 70 percent or so into the album. I just let it go, but the Confederate flag became part of the marketing for the tour. I wish I had given it more thought. It was a downright stupid thing to do.

He gives a great answer, and he doesn’t hesitate to reject all the awful things done under that flag.

Beyond the flag issue, we’re living in a time that I never thought we’d see. The way we’re losing black men and citizens in general is horrific. What’s going on in society is unforgivable. As a country, we should be more concerned with why the police are getting away with targeting black men and killing them for no reason. That’s a bigger issue than the flag. Years from now, people will look back on today and say, “You mean we privatized the prisons so there’s no profit unless the prison is full?” You’d think someone in kindergarten could figure out how stupid that is. We’re creating so many of our own problems.

He’s also a reminder that Southerners can be great and good people.


  1. HappyNat says

    I saw this posted on twitter and some people complained it cast TP in a bad light. I think just the opposite, it shows reflection and growth something people should strive toward. Nobody is perfect and I’ll take someone who can’t admit they did a stupid thing over someone who won’t admit they were wrong.

  2. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    It’s always nice to learn that an artist you like is also (at least to some extent) a decent human being.

  3. Walter Solomon says

    Don’t fret, Petty lives! I heard it through the grapevine that he downloaded his mind into a cyborg body and is currently living in a subterranean metropolis with Don Rickles, Dick Gregory, Hugh Hefnor and the Rothschilds.

  4. bowd-boring old white dood says

    I will miss Tom Petty, he was an incredible artist and a decent person.

    Also proof that even we Southerners can overcome some ugly bits of our heritage.

  5. Mobius says

    Yes, just being from the South does not make one a bad person. Not long before he died, I got to see a talk by Shelby Foote. He mentioned that he often got criticism based on the mere fact he was from the South. While he had a very Southern accent, his attitudes were far from the stereotypical Southern view.

    There are indeed good people from the South. Tom Petty and Shelby Foote were two of them.

  6. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To PZ
    Look. I’m sympathetic with what you say, and even agree with some of it. I wouldn’t even be posting this if you didn’t post factually incorrect information. I’m just asking that you don’t post claims that are clearly factually-false.

    Let’s ban all those assault rifles and any weapon that can be fired fast enough that you can murder 50 people in short order.

    This Las Vegas mass shooting was an outlier, even among mass shootings which are outliers. 99.9% of gun deaths are not mass shootings. 50% of mass shootings happen with handguns only, and they also account for about 50% of the deaths of mass shootings – at least according to the available data from Mother Jones.
    In other words, even in mass shootings, handguns are about as dangerous as rifles of any kind. And in the typical shooting, aka a non-mass shooting, aka 99.9% of gun deaths, handguns are a far bigger concern because they’re smaller and therefore more concealable.

    The colloquial term “assault weapon” does not map onto reality. It’s a fiction, invented by anti-gun advocates, in order to purposefully confuse the audience and create confusion between “automatic guns” and “guns that look scary”. There isn’t a category of modern guns that is substantially more dangerous than “semi-automatic guns” in the civilian context that lies between “automatic guns” and “semi-automatic guns”.

    Do you want to ban all semi-auto guns (and revolvers), leaving only stuff like bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles? Then just say that. It’s short, clear, precise, and everyone will understand, and you won’t look foolish for using nonsense terms like “assault weapon”.

    It’s been twisted far beyond its original intent

    The only one twisting its original intent and clear language are the Democrats. The clear author’s intent, ratifier’s intent, and original plain text public meaning is all the same: Individual persons should be allowed to own, possess, and reasonably store, carry, and use military-grade weaponary. See my own collection of citations and argument here:

    Please stop spouting obvious mistruths. We’re supposed to be the political faction of truth and honesty and intellectual integrity.

  7. methuseus says

    @HappyNat #1:

    I saw this posted on twitter and some people complained it cast TP in a bad light. I think just the opposite, it shows reflection and growth something people should strive toward.

    How in the everloving fuck could that cast Petty in a bad light? He screwed up and admitted it. I would love if more Americans did that. Hell, I’ve screwed up and turned it around. I’m sure almost everybody has. Just admit it, and you’ll be better off.