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.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

NOW THEN--seeing as how this morning I have to take Jonathan to the orthodontist to get his braces installed, some of you might think that I would have better things to do that post the FABULOUS FOURTH INSTALLMENT of the Axis of Weevil’s justly-famed Thursday Three.

Well, you’d be WRONG!

So important is this task that I actually wrote up this silly mess ahead of time so that I would be sure and get it done AND be able to get Boy his mouthwires at the same time.

As you all no doubt recall, in the past three weeks we have discussed Southern food, famous folks, and fantastical fun -- er...hmm, ahhhh -- places. (Live by the alliteration, die by the alliteration, I suppose.) In the past, each of our questions required those of you playing along to come up with three answers. Last week, I promised that this week’s T3 (as we snappy, in-the-know sorts call it) would not require such triphilia, mainly because sometimes it’s very hard to think of three things.

So, there you go.

This week’s Thursday Three involves around the notoriously volatile subject of how the South is presented in popular culture. For every figurative punch in the nose in literature or film--in which the South is stereotyped as being full of fat crooked sheriffs, Klansmen, smoldering harlots, ignorance, poverty, cleft palates, and fried chicken--there are the countering representations that movingly show it as a place blessed with poor Klansmen, crooked harlots, fat ignorant sheriffs, grinding poverty, smoldering chicken, and rickets.

(Not that I harbor any sort of inferiority complex or anything.)

Anyway, given all that we see and hear in books and on television and in the movies, surely there is something that comes through as being more true to the spirit of the South than others. And some that just strike out without even swinging.

In that vein, then:

1) What one popular movie, show, book, drama, scene, or other such thing, does the best job of capturing an honest portrayal of the South?

2) What one popular movie, show, etc. etc., does the worst job of honestly portraying the South?

3) Knowing that you will eventually get around to writing your novel or screenplay (which will, of course, be set in the South), could you go ahead and give us a plotline and the first paragraph?

NOW REMEMBER--just because you don't live here, or in fact don’t even live in the U.S., DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN’T PLAY ALONG! Just go and make something up if you have to! But when you do, leave a link below so others can go see what you put down and fuss with you about it.

Okay, for my answers, for Number One I think the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of the best things I have watched. The book is obviously a masterpiece, also, but the movie was--is--still something I could watch over and over. Things are different in Alabama now, and better--whether some would have you believe that or not. Still, there is that nagging sense of doubt mixed with hope that never seems to change and which is such a part of the novel and the movie.

Number Two, the worst depiction is hard to pick--there’s just so many to choose from. The one that seems to fulfill everyone’s worst suspicions is probably Deliverance, followed closely by Easy Rider. Both are something to watch, but there is a certain class of ostensibly open-minded, free-thinking sorts of morons who think of them as documentaries, like the doofs whose only ideas of Viet Nam come from watching Apocalypse Now. Man. Also, I detest anyone who tries to fake a Southern accent--one tip I have posted before, but when your local dinner theater tags you to play Brick or Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, please, PLEASE don’t say “big DADDY.” It’s “BIG daddy.” Accent on the first word, not the second.

The last question has fascinated me for a long time--I keep trying to figure out if there is a way to write something about the South that has none of the expected stuff. Which pretty much means I’m looking at sometime before 1492, and no one in it will be wearing seersucker. Of course, it’ll still be hot and have mosquitoes and cottonmouths, so I might be running in circles. Might as well try something contemporary--
It was an odd feeling. Every once in a while, it was if he could look at a person and in only a moment, know his story. It had just happened again, just then as he was walking down the sidewalk. A young woman came out of the revolving door of the bank, walked over to the bench, slumped down and lit a cigarette. Something about her…. When he saw her, it was as if she were suddenly transparent, like a computer generated wire-frame model being drawn on a sheet of paper. In an instant, she was drawn and colored fully again, but now he knew everything about her--her name, where she grew up, why she was so angry, what she liked to wear to bed. Everything. Then he did something he had never done. He stopped and spoke to her. “Your name is Tammy Norris, and you were born in Mobile, and your father never believed you about the paper plates, and you enjoy the feel of warm lather.” The young woman, her short mahogany hair pulled back in a ponytail, her hand still resting on her purse where she had removed her pack of cigarettes, stared at the man before her, not knowing quite what to do. “Hello,” she said, as Doug felt the hot sting of pepper spray fill his eyes and nose. […]
Doug Elbert, a kind young man who sells remanufactured office equipment across the entire North Central Alabama sales territory, eventually goes on to save the world, and gets the girl. But not the one who sprayed him.

Anyway, all of you go do your thing and let’s see what you come up with, and I am going to go over and lie down and take a nap until it's time to go pick up Boy from school.

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