Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, December 05, 2003

What got all this started…

(aside from the possums) was an Instalink that Dave Helton of Red Georgia Clay sent me this morning. Dr. Reynolds points us to an article in the Knoxville Metro Pulse by Jack Neely, who posits that the stereotypical things most people think of about the South—football, NASCAR, foul-mouthed women, religion, Republicanism—are all the effects of the South trying to ape Yankees.

As I told Dave, “eh.”

Maybe it’s true, maybe not—the article seems like Neely’s been thinking about this topic a whole lot longer than the few days since he got his e-mail. It reads as though he’s had this opinion percolating for a while and has just been rounding up enough stuffing to make an essay out of it. Some parts of it are probably accurate, but it's a little too certain--he paints with a mighty broad brush, and doesn’t take the time to mask off the door frames.

What I see is that everyone tends to imitate or borrow from whom they perceive to be more hip--Southerners may be aping Yankees, but since the Mayflower debarked, Yankees have always tended to ape the Brits (except for the REALLY insufferable ones who ape the French).

And the essay doesn't once mention the other center of trendsetting gravity—California. Obviously, Yankees look down on Cali and would never be caught DEAD being accused of copying them, but what happens is that the Brits and the French pick up on the stuff from Lalaland. This Continental process sanitizes it and makes it worthy of copying by Yankees. ('Broad brush' my eyeteeth--I can paint with an airless spraygun!)

The whole topic of “Southern Culture” is the subject of umpty-billion tomes, with all the usual suspects trotted out for everyone to point at and palaver over. Our inferiority complex, our martial proclivities, our misogyny, our racism, our storytelling ability, William Wallace and George Wallace, on and on.

Again, let me say, “eh.”

This obviously is the last place anyone will come looking for socioanthropological studies—I’ll just say that my own opinion is that if you find something that works pretty good, you grab it, make it do what you want it to do, tell everyone you invented it, and don't worry so much about where the original idea came from. Whatever that makes me, that makes me.

Dave went on to mention something else, which I thought was kind of interesting:
on a semi-related subject...

I'm wondering if it's worth a post, but I've noticed I tend to read Southern
bloggers almost exclusively. I occasionally read others, but I'd say 95% of
what I read is written by Southerners.

you reckon I'm just a lil' bit partisan?
Hmm. Maybe, but it’s a good question anyway—I tend to read around a lot, but the blogroll above does tend to be more heavily skewed toward the Equator.

Part of that is because the idea I originally had with the Axis of Weevil, way back when, was to give folks from other parts of the world a better sense that being from Alabama or living here doesn’t automatically turn you into an idiot. The big shame is that there are people who go on and on about how intelligent and tolerant and open-minded they are, who think that very thing.

Hey, your loss, Sparky.

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