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Yankies And Southerners
April 25, 2004 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Not Just Whistling Dixie: Is The South, Like The Past, A Different Country? An article by Jacob Levenson in the Columbia Journalism Review retraces the obligatory, almost stereotypical steps of the innocent, enlightened Yank lost and confused in the South. Is it the usual shtick or is there something genuinely befuddled and even "foreign" to it?
posted by MiguelCardoso (77 comments total)

 
at least our chili isnt soup
posted by Satapher at 7:31 PM on April 25, 2004


I don't know, he has some interesting ideas. The idea that this caricature of the South is a whipping boy for problems that are actually national in scope has some merit I think.

I don't know if there is anything foreign to it really, he doesn't seem to go into much detail about what he thinks is foreign. He talks a lot about rural poverty. I think that is foreign to a lot of people, but I don't see it as being unique to the south. I don't see any huge insights.
posted by rhyax at 8:23 PM on April 25, 2004


It's an interesting article, Miguel, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

There are no easy answers here...but I'm glad this article was at least a thoughtful one, and not a reprisal of the tired old cliches: Southerners are stupid/racist/dirt poor/et cetera. (And it's certainly to read an article by a (presumed) Northerner that doesn't purport to completely explain the South and pin it down for study like a collected butterfly.)

But I do think that the South culturally stands apart somehow from the rest of the country (and I'm not quite sure I can delineate exactly how), and it's an interesting thesis that the rest of the US is becoming more like the South. I'm not sure what you mean by "befuddled", though...what exactly are you asking here?

I'd say the South's long struggles with the issues of race certainly inform its "other"-ness. I'd also say the distrust of Northerners comes out of Reconstruction and the South's relative poverty until quite recent times. But yes -- the South's problems are the nation's problems. (One thing I dislike so much about the "racist Southerner" stereotype is that it calls attention away from racists in other parts of the country.)

The South is hard to describe, and thoughtful, respectful journalists writing about it are rare indeed.
posted by Vidiot at 8:42 PM on April 25, 2004


I find it difficult to think that the rest of the country and/or world really believes the south is comprised of the stereotypes hashed out by Levenson. The south has its own character and identity, but to assume that our vision of the world is colored by a focus on abortion, gay rights, religion and race is pure hilarity.

I've lived in south Louisiana all my life and the most racist people I have ever encountered were transplants--both from up north and Europe. I think what most people fail to comprehend is that black and white communities of the south are no different that the ethnic communities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. People of similar heritages have shared experiences and cultures and, as a result, they congregate. How this serves to inform our world view or impact our politics is anybody's guess, but I'd be willing to bet it's no different than the rest of the United States or other first-world countries.
posted by ajr at 8:52 PM on April 25, 2004


The article for the most part is spot on with many ideas I've continually stated on metafilter.

In fact, you need only to look at metafilter to see how outdated the views are of those outside the south. The south is continually a whipping boy for those who don't want to look in their own back yard for problems.

I lived in Mobile for 7 years, and have been in Birmingham for 2 years, and the south that is often portrayed on metafilter is one I don't live in. They seem to still see the South, as the article states, as still in its civil rights era. Hell, we have members who use the derogatory southern term redneck to describe anyone who acts like a fool, regardless that they couldn't be further from the definition.

I called Brandy Ayers, reigning patriarch of The Anniston Star, in Alabama, and asked him if he could talk to me about how the South is portrayed in the press. Well, he said, and I paraphrase, I just rolled up in mah pickup truck, upon which I have fastened a confederate flag to the back window, and am now preparing to spend mah afternoon chasin’ women, but I might be able to spare a few moments to discuss with you what the Yankee press doesn’t get about the South.


“If you grow up and live most of your life in the South, you get tired of the caricaturization,” Richard Oppel, editor of the Austin American-Statesman, told me, echoing the first complaint of many southern journalists I interviewed.


As the presidential primaries unfolded, it struck me that the country, and, by natural extension, the press, often use the South as a convenient box to contain all sorts of problems, situations, and conditions that are actually national in scope — race, white poverty, the cultural rift forming between the religious and the secular, guns, abortion, gay marriage, the gradual extinction of rural life, states’ rights, the continuing debates over the size of government, the contours of American morality, and the identity of the major political parties.

It presumes that the South is perpetually behind the rest of the nation. I would suggest just the opposite, that the South is on the leading edge of a whole series of stories that are vital to the rest of the country because it has been forced, largely by virtue of its racial past, to publicly confront issues that the rest of the nation has been able to avoid.

former New York Times Atlanta bureau chief, who has argued that the rest of America is becoming more like the South, told me, talking about race in the South becomes a way of not talking about race in the rest of the country.

“It’s good that the South makes concrete so many of the issues in this country that are veiled,” she told me near the end of our conversation. “The downside is that because they are so concrete, the press turns it into the grotesque. So instead of seeing the South as representative, we see it as freakish.”

I don’t believe we can explore such nuanced ideas about the South unless we force ourselves to set aside the confining set of impressions that pre-defines our understanding of the region.

On all points I agree emphatically.
posted by justgary at 9:24 PM on April 25, 2004


Maybe the foreign country label could be better applied to New England.
About the biggest difference I could see between the South and the West(*) is that the West has more bookstores.

(*) Everybody but New England and the South.
posted by kablam at 9:53 PM on April 25, 2004


kablam - interesting that you should bring up New England.

Oddly enough, New England has the lowest divorce rates of any region in the US. The South has - overall - the highest. To add to this, it also turns out that 1) fidelity in marriage (and liberal view also) increase with education, 2) agnostics and atheists have unusually low divorce rates.

In plain terms : to avoid divorce, become an atheist and move to Massachusetts.

"Where Bible is the rule, divorce soars - states with evangelical strongholds try to lower unusually high rates [of divorce]" - NYT, May 21, 2001

Here is that study the NYT seems to refer to:

"(Ventura, CA) Divorce may not be popular, but it remains common in America. A new study by the Barna Research Group (Ventura, CA) shows that one out of every four Americans adults have experienced at least one divorce. One of the surprising outcomes to emerge from the study is that born again Christians are more likely to go through a marital split than are non-Christians. Using statistics drawn from nationwide survey interviews with nearly 4000 adults, the data show that although just 11% of the adult population is currently divorced, 25% of all adults have experienced at least one divorce during their lifetime. Among born again Christians, 27% are currently or have previously been divorced, compared to 24% among adults who are not born again. (Because of the large sample size involved, that difference is statistically significant.).....Divorce is much less likely in the Northeast than elsewhere. Only 19% of the residents of the Northeast have been divorced, compared to 26% in the West and 27% in both the South and the Midwest. A higher proportion of whites gets
divorced (27%) than is true among African-Americans (22%) or Hispanics (20%). The eye-opener is that only 8% of Asians get divorced--just one-third the incidence found among whites......Surprisingly, the Christian denomination whose adherents have the highest likelihood of getting divorced are Baptists. Nationally, 29% of all Baptist adults have been divorced. The only Christian group to surpass that level are
those associated with non-denominational Protestant churches: 34% of those adults have undergone a divorce. "
_______________________________________________

Anyway, that's only tangentially about the South, or about Levenson's article......

But not really. I brought up the regional/religious affiliation divorce stats as a contrast to the overall dearth of hard facts cited by Levenson. It's a well written article, sure. Levenson is a pro. But how tied to reality are his observations?

Levenson seems - to me - to spend an awful lot of time reflecting upon others' reflections upon the South and if chatting head derivatives were worth actual money, he'd be rich.

But they are not, and I'm skeptical of such grand ruminations that seem disconnected from empirical facts.
 
posted by troutfishing at 12:12 AM on April 26, 2004


Y'all.

I'm eating black beans for breakfast tomorrow, BTW, with hot sauce. And eggs. But - but I'm fresh out of grits.

Oh, and - the Democratic Party would be smart to relax a bit on the gun rights issue.

Just saying - regional stereotypes........
posted by troutfishing at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2004


Troutfishing, you can bring out all the stats you like. The South will also come in number one for least educated and poorest areas if the US. Much of the article deals with issues hard to put into statistics.

That doesn't change the fact that many view held by those outside the south are simply wrong, and often by individuals miles away (say...from Massachusetts) who only know the South from the very cliched and outdated sound bites mentioned in the article.

The South is changing, maybe not as quickly as some would like, but certainly quicker than many outside of the South would ever believe.
posted by justgary at 12:37 AM on April 26, 2004


justgary - I know that. My previous comment was on the level, sir. Stereotypes - where? I was busting some stereotypes, yes....

"Liberals live in NE. Liberals are immoral. Immoral people get divorced a lot"......oops! - a little problem with this neologism - The US Census Bureau informs me that I live in the low divorce rate capital of the US, but it's chock full of Liberals! Hmm......

I have many harsh words for my state, BTW. Puritanism is annoying

My beef is not with southern poverty at all - it's with Christian evangelical claims to moral superiority which are contravened by the facts. Or so it seems : evangelical Christianity is a major risk factor for divorce. I wonder why?
posted by troutfishing at 1:24 AM on April 26, 2004


I wonder why?

Southerners are sexier?
posted by timeistight at 1:39 AM on April 26, 2004


Miguel, you want to know what the South is like, ask me, or any Southerner. We'll tell you, and it will be simple, concise, and true.
posted by konolia at 4:29 AM on April 26, 2004


North is a direction. South is a place.
posted by alumshubby at 4:39 AM on April 26, 2004


What trout said.

[Cue up "Dueling Banjos"]

The differences have less to do with compass points and more to do with urban vs rural, educated vs uneducated, type of "religious" environment but since the "South" seems to have a disproportionate load of the negative values it is easily painted with a broad brush, y'all.
posted by nofundy at 5:07 AM on April 26, 2004


Wow, nofundy, thank you for that incisive stereotype-free post.

Hell, If you gave me a choice between hanging around with a bunch of rednecks and a buncha yuppies, I'd quite happily choose the rednecks.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on April 26, 2004


that's because you're white
;)
posted by matteo at 7:11 AM on April 26, 2004


no, seriously now:

Certainly the heartland has no claim to superiority when it comes to family values. If anything, the red states do a bit worse than the blue states when you look at indicators of individual responsibility and commitment to family. Children in red states are more likely to be born to teenagers or unmarried mothers — in 1999, 33.7 percent of babies in red states were born out of wedlock, versus 32.5 percent in blue states. National divorce statistics are spotty, but per capita there were 60 percent more divorces in Montana than in New Jersey.
And the red states have special trouble with the Sixth Commandment: the murder rate was 7.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in the red states, compared with 6.1 in the blue states, and 4.1 in New Jersey.
But what's really outrageous is the claim that the heartland is self-reliant. That grotesque farm bill, by itself, should put an end to all such assertions; but it only adds to the immense subsidies the heartland already receives from the rest of the country. As a group, red states pay considerably less in taxes than the federal government spends within their borders; blue states pay considerably more. Over all, blue America subsidizes red America to the tune of $90 billion or so each year.
And within the red states, it's the metropolitan areas that pay the taxes, while the rural regions get the subsidies. When you do the numbers for red states without major cities, you find that they look like Montana, which in 1999 received $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it paid in federal taxes. The numbers for my home state of New Jersey were almost the opposite. Add in the hidden subsidies, like below-cost provision of water for irrigation, nearly free use of federal land for grazing and so on, and it becomes clear that in economic terms America's rural heartland is our version of southern Italy: a region whose inhabitants are largely supported by aid from their more productive compatriots.

posted by matteo at 7:22 AM on April 26, 2004


that's because you're white

Depends on which kinda rednecks you're talking about. But I've also met southern-born black people who still have a strong affection for Dixie, in spite of it's history. And among American blacks there is a definite culture divide and a certain amount of hostility between northern urbanites and southern ruralites. And in the California prison system there's two powerful prison clicks among Chicanos: one of urbanites who allie themselves with the Islamic Brotherhood and one of rural folk who ally with the Aryan Brotherhood of all things. Strange but in a warped way it makes sense. So race is only a part of the age old urban/rural dichotomy. It's strange I realize, but it's true. But that brings up an interesting point, take away the racism of some southerners and whaddaya got left. Great music, great food, and freindly people who like God, grits and guns. Which ain't so bad.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 AM on April 26, 2004


nofundy, you're completely overlooking the urban South. It does exist, and it's growing really quickly. And as jonmc pointed out, your post is just a collection of stereotypes -- I don't think anyone here seriously thinks that the South is different just because it's, well, south of everything else. It's a cultural thing, not a geographical thing, as alumshubby said. (South Florida and Texas are not "the South.")

I'm a Southerner, too, who grew up not too far from where konolia is . But I'm not sure I could easily define the South in any kind of concise manner -- it's too complicated and diffuse and interesting.

And I'm not sure why I'm mentioning this, but I think the "grits line" is interesting.
posted by Vidiot at 7:38 AM on April 26, 2004


matteo - thanks. I'll tuck that one away for later use.

But I do like the South. I may even move there - a change of pace from cranky puritan yankeedom. And if I do, I'll have a drawl so fast, your head'll spin and you'll never know I was weaned a librul.
posted by troutfishing at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2004


Unless we get to talking politics, of course.

But, heck, there's at least one or two libruls living south of the Mason-Dixon line, right?
posted by troutfishing at 8:39 AM on April 26, 2004


Excellent post, Miguel. (Dammit, I am going to have to cut back on the senseless beatings, aren't I?) I kept being afraid he was going to veer off into predictable dead ends (either "the South is weird" or "the South is just like everywhere else"), but he steered a good course. I particularly liked his bringing up Cash:
One of his protégés was W. J. Cash, a thin-lipped, square-faced newspaperman from the South Carolina back country, who, along with C. Vann Woodward, would arguably become the two most influential writers on southern identity... Cash, though, was interested in painting a richer picture of the region than his mentor. In 1929 The Mercury’s publisher, Alfred Knopf, gave Cash a book contract to definitively excavate the character of the region. Finally published in 1941, The Mind of the South was a warning shot to those who would believe that the region and, in particular, the seemingly intractable race and class problems that defined it in the public eye, could be suddenly and dramatically transformed.
Cash, like Faulkner, is still relevant today.

And I too am sick of the thoughtless prejudice so often directed against the South here in MeFi.
posted by languagehat at 9:06 AM on April 26, 2004


Defend the south all you want. This country would be better off without the south, from the federal money that gets poured into its black holes of social programs to the bitching about the very government that gives it more than its share.

Also, the south is full of the type of republicans that the current administration feeds off of. Please, please, please southerners-- get fed up and leave again. We won't try to stop you this time!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2004


evangelical Christianity is a major risk factor for divorce. I wonder why?

At a guess, evangelical Christianity (and its demographic correlates) increase the probability of marrying young, which is the more direct risk factor.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2004


Mayor Curley, I'm surprised to see you trolling here.

So: no federal money gets poured into black-hole social programs up North? No one north of the Mason-Dixon ever bitches about the government? Everyone in the South is a hard-right conservative?

Your comments bespeak a lack of familiarity with the South. If you convince me otherwise, I think I might listen more closely to what you have to say.
posted by Vidiot at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2004


Defend the south all you want. This country would be better off without the south, from the federal money that gets poured into black social programs to the bitching about the very government that gives blacks more than their share.

posted by Mayor Curley at 11:23 AM CST on April 26


Oh.
posted by the fire you left me at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2004


Actually, Mayor Curley, attitudes like yours, about ruralites in general and southerners in have been prevalent among northerners since the beginning of the American colonies, which may account for the defiant streak among some southerners. In major northern cities white southern migrants were viewed as alien and unwelcome, resulting in neighborhoods like Uptown in Chicago and Billytown in Baltimore.

So, settle down and have some pecan pie and sweet tea, Mayor, otherwise me and vidiot'll get in the General Lee and run you over.
posted by jonmc at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2004


Defend the south all you want. This country would be better off without the south, from the federal money that gets poured into its black holes of social programs to the bitching about the very government that gives it more than its share.

Finally, some sense in this thread. Last night, reading this thread, I wrote a long vicious screed about the (to my tender New England sensibilities) absolutely egregious everyday racism, inefficiency, cliquishness, willingness to suck off the government teat (rugged individualism my ass) and old-boy-network politics which have characterized my last three years here in a small (non-rural, historically liberal) city in North Carolina, which I did not post but ought to have. Fuck the South; I can't get out of this hellish part of the world and back to someplace civilized fast enough.

On the other hand, ajr's comment that the most racist people he's met in the south are transplants is perceptive. I think the sort of northerners who choose to move to an area despite their (preconceptions | accurate awareness, take your pick) that it is racist, backward, etc., and who become much more gung-ho (in my experience) about 'Southern heritage' and the like than native Southerners, are seriously messed-up people.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:35 AM on April 26, 2004


"So: no federal money gets poured into black-hole social programs up North?" - (Vidiot) Well, we can start with Boston's Central Artery project. I'd call it a social program or - maybe more accurately - a 13-14 billion dollar (combined Federal and State $ contributions) urban beautification project.

$14 Billion buys a HELL of a lot of mass transit - especially if it's Curitiba style.
posted by troutfishing at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2004


Oh - one more thing - are "Yankies" a new brand of hankies (designed to withstand being quickly yanked out of the box) ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:50 AM on April 26, 2004


trout: give him a break, he's from Portugal.

Oh, and I'll share something that happened to me when I went North to college. During my college orientation, some spoiled brat from Lon Guyland wrinkled up her face when she heard I was from North Carolina. "Oh, I hate the South. Everyone's so prejudiced there!"

I was (uncharacteristically) speechless.
posted by Vidiot at 11:01 AM on April 26, 2004


I long ago decided not to bitch about things in the south that I don't like or to just move away, but to stay here and change things in this corner of the world. (I can get a grant for this, right?)
posted by allpaws at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2004


Mayor Curley, I'm surprised to see you trolling here.

I'm not trolling. I'm speaking the truth. The south gets loads of federal money to combat the problems that I've linked to below. Then it complains about "Big Government" and votes Republican while it's stuffing its collective face with tax money.

Percentage of adults with a high-school diploma by state. Yellow=bad. Guess which color most of the south is?

See the "all ages" column of the portion relating to living in poverty. Guess what? The former Confederacy has the bulk of the double-digit numbers. Yeehaw!

Per-capita income. Again, yellow is bad and the south is wicked yellow. You're number one!!!

Is that enough to back up my allegations? I don't feel like digging any more, but I will if it will make you shut up.

Feel free to call me an asshole for pointing out the truth, or make some emotional claim about how character and politeness more than makes up for a shitty standard of living. Y'all (heh!) have the right to live your lives the way you see fit, but I'm tired of subsidizing it and sick of having to share a government with people with whom I have nothing in common. Please, talk to your neighbors and get some momentum going for a new secession movement.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:12 AM on April 26, 2004


No, I wasn't calling you an asshole for pointing out the truth. I was calling you a troll for your inflammatory, antagonistic tone, lack of support for your claims, and your simplistic response to very real, complicated social problems.

And my neighbors? I live in Queens.
posted by Vidiot at 11:26 AM on April 26, 2004


I'm vidiot's neighbor.

Wanna secede, dude?
posted by jonmc at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2004


lack of support for your claims

Did you check the links? As for my "simplistic" response, I'm merely saying that it's time for an amputation. We tried to treat the infection, but it didn't work and we can't afford to let it spread.

Sorry about the use of "neighbors." I didn't realize that you were utilizing the superior resources of the northeast.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:36 AM on April 26, 2004


Curley, c'mon. Would you be comfortable making statements like that about Jews, or blacks or any other group of people? (Never minding that a large portion (but by no means all) of those suffering from the social problems in the south are members of minority groups). Or is it simply a need to scapegoat a reigon for all of America's problems. Because, as someone who's spent most of his life in the tri-state area, I can say that on a lot of issues, the Northeast ain't got nothin' to brag about.
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on April 26, 2004


I'm about to insert totally anecdotal evidence that is entirely personal to me, so please ignore if you choose. I'll probably make very general statements, but they are based on observations about one small town in South Carolina.

My boyfriend is from a very small town in rural northern South Carolina. Whenever he speaks people ask him where he is from. He has an extremely strong accent that a lot of people in the north don't understand. I had often thought that his descriptions of the South were exaggerated. I'm from a very small rural town in the North, and I felt that we had our fair share of bigots. After dating him for about a year he took me home to see his town and meet his family.

It was horrifying. It was so much worse than what I had imagined, and so much worse than it's portrayed in the Northern media or whatever we're calling it for the purposes of this thread.

Globalization has wrecked the area he comes from; many plants and factories have closed, and a lot of people are out of work. It is poor, and religious, and confused. People talked about leaving their area and going somewhere nice, like Ashville, NC or even to Greenville, SC, but they didn't seem to be able to. Everyone had children, but I witnessed teenagers with jesus tattoos, trying to avoid their "babymamas" who were calling to try to get them to help with childcare. I have a million terrible stories involving care of children, racism, and desperation. I think there are probably quite nice areas of the South, and I obviously can't speak for all areas of the South or all Southerners. The small town that I visited is in a crisis that I felt had been brought upon by decades of fundamentalist religion, poverty, and confusion about the end of slavery.

I'm not sure how to fix it, or how isolated the problem was, but I am sure that there are portions of the South that are culturally different from what exists in the North. And that ignoring what is going on in the South is not better than addressing the problems. Obviously the people in the small town I visited aren't born different than similarly parochial , poor people in the North, but the culture is radically different. I haven't been able to stop thinking about why since I have returned. The only conclusions that I have reached are that it's a really bad idea to have NO sex ed in schools, and to teach children that a self-contradictory book , is more valid than all of science.
posted by goneill at 11:44 AM on April 26, 2004


but I'm tired of subsidizing it and sick of having to share a government with people with whom I have nothing in common. Please, talk to your neighbors and get some momentum going for a new secession movement.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:12 PM CST on April 26


Outside of cultural contributions such as music (jazz, bluegrass, blues, rock and roll), sports (Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron), food (et.al.), 20th century modernist literature (Faulkner) I assume you prefer to think of New England as the birth and primary kiln of American life, and in many ways you are correct.

However, the insidious cultural xenephobia you exhibit is striking. For example, the south of France is rural, country folk, and there is not so much vitriol.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:58 AM on April 26, 2004


Did you check the links? As for my "simplistic" response, I'm merely saying that it's time for an amputation. We tried to treat the infection, but it didn't work and we can't afford to let it spread.

Well, yes, I did check the links. First of all, I called you a troll after you said incendiary things, but before you provided any data to support your claims. And I still think it's simplistic to view an entire region of our country -- one that is as vibrant as any other -- as the cause of all our national ills. As jonmc pointed out, the Northeast is hardly earthly paradise in every regard. Poverty? Check. Racism? Check. Poor educational systems? Check.

Not to mention, you said:
from the federal money that gets poured into its black holes of social programs to the bitching about the very government that gives it more than its share. Also, the south is full of the type of republicans that the current administration feeds off of.

Your links, though interesting and certainly germane, do not measure dissatisfaction with government spending, nor do they measure distribution of Republicans, nor do they measure efficacy of federally supported social programs. And there are many, many more factors that affect poverty rates than education and federal funding.

I was responding to what you said. But evidently your goal is not to have a reasoned, polite discussion... it's "I don't feel like digging any more, but I will if it will make you shut up."

Besides, if you exhibit such irrational hatred of the south, how can you be so sure that you have "nothing in common" with Southerners?
posted by Vidiot at 12:02 PM on April 26, 2004


jonmc, I'm not claiming that very individual in the south fits the general characterization that I've made (and backed up with census numbers). It's a region, and it's a region that indisputably

A) Votes republican
B) Gets a lot of federal money to fix horrible conditions but rarely succeeds

It's not analagous to making racist statements to point out that geographic lump of our countrymen are gladly taking our money and then telling us to stick it. Comparisons to racism would be more valid if I had used stereotypes of individuals (incest, racism and all the stuff that doesn't really describe a majority of the southern populace).

I certainly am not pronouncing the Northeast free of problems. We have many. But they're different, and I'd like to see them better addressed with my money instead of sending it down south where some administrator will then use it to test the separation of Church and State. All I'm saying is that the north and south are separate beyond reconciliation, they're getting the better part of it both in finances and elections, and I want it to stop.

I applaud you for being so civil when I'm being snotty, but the fact is that we would have a much better federal government without the south's input and we would have more money to address our own problems, too.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:13 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm all for a Southectomy, but let's think ahead here. Excise the South from its annoying spot in American culture, and what are you left with? New York. This is obviously intolerable. So you remove New York. What have you accomplished, besides the salutary side-effect of pushing two of jonmc's and languagehat's buttons at once? The UNIMPEDED REIGN OF CALIFORNIA. Which is against the will of God and man, and is the kind of situation that requires nuclear weapons. And then what are you left with? Oregon? Utah? Florida? It's clearly hopeless.

Okay, more seriously, since it's an interesting article and all:

(South Florida and Texas are not "the South.")

I keep hearing this, but how is Texas different from the South in any kind of functional sense? The sociopolitical plates seem near-identical from where I'm sitting. Okay, Texas' has extra chips, but still.
posted by furiousthought at 12:24 PM on April 26, 2004


A) Votes republican

That would be because of clever campaigning by republicans, who cater to interests that provide employment in the south (tobacco, oil) and to some dumb campaigning by democrats who often seem determined to alienate southerners by catering more to the northeastern educated liberal crowd, not realizing they need both to win.

(South Florida and Texas are not "the South.")

I dunno about Texas, having never been there, but I lived in Dade County for two years and I can honestly tell you that the Sunshine State is easily the part of America most deserving of amputation.

So you remove New York. What have you accomplished, besides the salutary side-effect of pushing two of jonmc's and languagehat's buttons at once?

So, languagehat, you wanna kick this mamaluke's ass?

Seriously, New York already is a nation unto itself, my man.

Where the hell is raysmj? he'll set the south bashers straight.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on April 26, 2004


Here, vidiot! Digging it up was a lot more trouble than it's worth, but I'm stubborn. The only southern state that puts out more money than it receives is Texas (but Georgia and Florida break even.) The rest of 'em are all especially mouthy welfare mommas.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:39 PM on April 26, 2004


But that brings up an interesting point, take away the racism of some southerners and whaddaya got left. Great music, great food, and friendly people who like God, grits and guns. Which ain't so bad.

john, I'm not picking on you, but your comment was as good a place to start as any.

I love grits, and think boiling vegetables within an inch of their lives in a pot with some random pig parts is just dandy. I have my own opinions about guns, but that's neither here nor there.

Liking God is great, but you haven't even begun to touch the religious nature of the south with that comment. Folks around here don't just like God, they revolve their entire lives, clothing styles, past times, bumper sticker choices, and politics around God. And they think I should, too, and aren't afraid to very vocally speak to me about it, and fight hard for legislation that would force me to do just that. Not a single day goes by that I don't encounter some piece of in-my-face religiosity that, were I still living in the North, I would assume symptomatic of avoid-at-all-costs-Jesus-freakery. Down here it's totally status quo, and the assumption is that everybody is Christian until proven otherwise.

And the thing is, you can't take the racism away from some southerners and just be left with that lovely, idealized warm summer nights and kudzu idea of the South that you have. Of course, not everybody in the south is racist, but a lot of people are, and a lot of these people are in positions of governmental power. Christ, NC (where I live, in Greensboro -- Hi, allpaws!) elected Jesse Helms how many times? Recently, we had a lovely situation where a commissioner, who has always had a bizarre, one-issue beef with the local NAACP, designed and distributed shirts that featured a little boy holding a confederate flag and peeing (a la NASCAR stickers) on the initials NAACP.

He's not been fired or even censored, and the local GOP had nothing to say beyond a weak, "We don't agree."

Ishmael Graves was dead on to something when he characterized local governments as inefficient, cliquish, and old-boy-network to the extreme. In the almost four years that I've lived here, I've been consistently amazed at how narrow-minded, short-sighted, and greedy the politicians of this city can be.

I could give you pages and pages of personal, anecdotal evidence similar to goneill's as well, from travelling through the areas of the state that are really economically depressed. Mayor Curley had a point--globalization has totally destroyed the livelihoods of entire towns, yet everybody insists on voting Republican, because the southern Repubs aren't afraid to throw around promises of "The Old South".

And there's plenty of racism right here in good, old urban Greensboro. I could fill even more pages and pages with personal anecdotes, from my first day working at a redneck bar where I was told in confidence that "Black people don't tip" to an employee of the court house referring to some one as "colored" (as in, "You mean that colored man that was in here?"). You don't even have to take my word for it, just check this page once a week for a totally depressing peek into some local attitudes.

Anyway, I admire allpaws and his/her determination to stick around and make this a better place. Greensboro specifically has seen some real and exciting progress since I moved here four years ago, but I'm tired of it. We're out of here in August.
posted by jennyb at 12:41 PM on April 26, 2004


That would be because of clever campaigning by republicans, who cater to interests that provide employment in the south (tobacco, oil)

You're REALLY reaching. It's through clever campaigning, I'll grant you, but it's more about Jesus and simplistic "law and order" bullshit than which companies are offering bribes to republicans (and plenty of dems, mind you).

and to some dumb campaigning by democrats who often seem determined to alienate southerners by catering more to the northeastern educated liberal crowd, not realizing they need both to win.

(accepting your assertion at face value when I really don't)
So when the republicans pander to one group it's being smart, but when democrats do it it's being dumb? Someone can't fail in this equation-- you'd better do your routine where you throw your hands in the air and shout "Hey! Hey! I'm non-partisan! I'm a centrist!
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:47 PM on April 26, 2004


Ishmael Graves was dead on to something when he characterized local governments as inefficient, cliquish, and old-boy-network to the extreme.

Hey, check out our "old-boy-network". It's got a different face, though.

I could fill even more pages and pages with personal anecdotes, from my first day working at a redneck bar where I was told in confidence that "Black people don't tip" to an employee of the court house referring to some one as "colored" (as in, "You mean that colored man that was in here?").

I'm tired of it. We're out of here in August.

There's the illusion (Mayor Curley's comments are worse, but so trolling as to be comical). The attitude that you can escape racism by leaving the south. And then when you get to california, ny, nh, or wherever, you can look down at the south and tell everyone how happy you are that you left, all the while ignoring the racism right in your own back yard.
posted by justgary at 12:58 PM on April 26, 2004


Vidiot - I've seen breakdowns of non-social welfare program federal spending which also show a shift in the distribution - towards affluent areas of the South.

But what's the deal with this "South" region - yeah, it's got some cultural commonalities but - some areas in the south are on the skids ( per goneill's observations ) while other areas are rapidly increasing in affluence ( and educational attainment ).

Mayor Curley's opinion is interesting to me because we tend be - as members of the chattering classes here on metafilter - "opinion leaders" (to an extent). This suggests to me that Curley's voicing an anticipating a new political sentiment among liberals - the impetus towards greater state and regional autonomy and towards a shrinking of the federal government.

And why the hell not ? Many functions of the Federal government could be passed on to the states, and these monies spent however state publics see fit. I certainly don't want to cram my values down anyone's throat.

I think that many legal standards set by the federal judiciary can be devolved to the state level - if some state wants to institute the teaching of Creationism as a core to it's high school curriculum, and to repudiate many basic scientific concepts.....well then, fine. Time will show, I'm certain, that this approach will have major economic ramifications. And abortion rights? Well - ugly though the outcome might be - perhaps this decision should be made state by state as well.

My overall thrust is this - rather than continue our spiral into a festering cultural civil war, perhaps we could remove some of the issues of conflict from the purview of federal government.

This way, too, each state could be it's own little experiment, and sooner or later the truth would out about which systems produced superior results.

____________________________________________

jennyb - A friend of mine who was teaching in Arkansas a few years ago (about 5) told me about Little Rock's head of it's dept. of Health (or "Surgeon Genera;", I suppose, if a city can have such a thing.) : the man was publicly espousing a medical theory which had been disproved in the Middle Ages, the concept that a woman cannot become pregnant unless she wants to be pregnant!

Neat, huh?

So all abortion would be inappropriate for the fact that pregnant women - consciously or not - "choose" to become pregnant or, so to speak, "invited" the souls of their babies into the world.

What's the population of Little Rock ?
posted by troutfishing at 12:59 PM on April 26, 2004


an employee of the court house referring to some one as "colored" (as in, "You mean that colored man that was in here?").

To people of a certain age, "colored" is something of a polite term that can be used without malice, I've heard members of my family use it. And I've heard similar raciist remarks from New Yorkers, Floridians, and Bostonians. And racism and xenophobia have played a huge part in the history and politics of the northeast as well. But I'm certainly not excusing southern racism or political ignorance, but believe me there's plenty of the same in the Northeast, Midwest, South Florida and any other region I've spent time in. And you guys have fundies, we've got crazy catholics.

And yeah, I'll admit that there's a lot of things about southern culture I like a lot.

I think my reaction and others is just being a little bit irked that the south has become cultural shorthand for "what's wrong with America, and thus the world." It is a certain amount of scapegoating.

So when the republicans pander to one group it's being smart, but when democrats do it it's being dumb?

Actually, republicans pander to a lotta groups (evangelicals, soccer moms, yuppies) and that's smart. Dems should do more of the same.

I'll grant you, but it's more about Jesus and simplistic "law and order" bullshit

The crime rates in the south are higher than in the north, so the "law & order" shtick rings true to a lotta people. And it's used in urban politics up north all the time too. It more or less got Rudy Guliani elected.

As for the Jesus thing, true enough, but that's a fact of life. Maybe they shouldn't pander to it, but they shouldn't go out of their way to stir 'em up either.
posted by jonmc at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2004


The south gets loads of federal money to combat the problems that I've linked to below. Then it complains about "Big Government" and votes Republican while it's stuffing its collective face with tax money

What's your point? That poor, uneducated people should only receive assistance from the government if they're suitably grateful for it? Or that they should only receive assistance if their political views are good enough for you? Or that they shouldn't receive assistance from the better-off at all?

Besides, you have to look at what's being spent. It's hardly the case that all federal doled out to southern states are there to fix southern problems.

An awful lot of that is going to be nothing more than retirees moving to warmer climes. If you have a bunch of old people sitting around collecting federal Social Security and federal Medicare with little earnings, you'll see a big transfer into the south even if most of the relevant oldsters are goddam snowbirds.

Military spending also gets done disproportionately in the south (and west). There aren't many bases in the northeast and upper-midwest because land is more expensive there, there are too many people who'd be bothered by all the loud noises and other inconveniences of military installations, and presumably out of historical inertia connected to the first two.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2004


"The attitude that you can escape racism by leaving the south" - Well, there's no major tradition of lynching in the Northeast, but I've heard it said that Massachusetts racism is - in it's own fashion - particularly vicious.

See, it's considered to be in bad taste to be a vocal racist, so people don't express racism in public much. They tend to do it in private, and behind the backs of others.

Boston blacks are, as a group (from what I've seen), very pissed off. They keep to themselves. Cultural segregation isn't enforced at all (that I've heard) but "liberal" attitudes accomplish that very efficiently anyway.

The basic problem is that white Mass. Liberals can't perceive their own racism - they don't believe they are racist, even a little. So they tend to say things to blacks - in the workplace, say - which are often felt as rather demeaning or hostile. But the whites are usually clueless - and all the more so for the fact that the blacks usually just keep quiet, suck it up and seethe. It's a nasty dynamic.

This has been going on for decades. It's entrenched. Anyway, that's a bit a northern racism for you.
_____________________________________________

jonmc - yup. I think the Democrats should relax their position on gun rights. Many dedicated gun owners are one issue voters, and I know a few personally who might very well vote Democratic but for this one issue. I think Mike Moore's documentary mostly sold me on this (I checked his facts) - It's not really the guns, it's the culture of violence.

Besides, I've got some poorly grown, vine choked trees in my backyard ( looks like Georgia in the summer, believe me - I'm smack in the Knotweed invasion epicenter. Knotweed - that's the Kudzu of the North ) which I'd love to be able to take down by blasting away at them with a small field cannon. And why not?
posted by troutfishing at 1:19 PM on April 26, 2004


The basic problem is that white Mass. Liberals can't perceive their own racism -

Well, that's the classic hypocrisy. Someone in the Back Bay of Boston saying "I'm not racist. I love black people!" when that's only because they don't know any, making it very easy to say.

And as far as lynchings go, I've seen ugly racial incidents here in New York too, and while I deplore them, I don't let it poison my love for the city.
posted by jonmc at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2004


justgary/johnmc: While I admit that I sometimes forget how horrible people can be, because I don't hang out with racists, I definitely don't live under some assumption that racism exists solely in the south. I mean, my northern grandparents use the word "colored" to describe black people (although I won't give them a pass on it just because they're old and it used to be okay to call people "colored"-- and they also don't work in positions of civil service) and my late step-grandfather drove me from a holiday dinner by commenting that the only thing worse than one black person is two, because in groups, they are dangerous.

I'm not such a rube myself as to be blind to racism outside of the south. However, I have found, anecdotally, in my experience, that there are more openly racist people in positions of power in the south than in the north. You can make an arguement that it's better to be openly racist than not, and I think you'd be right in a lot of ways.

But frankly I'm excited to be ending my tenure in the south more because I'm tired of the Bible-thumping and idiotic city council members here than the racism. Lessening the number of confederate flag waving, states rights arguing, South's gonna rise again, singing neighbors in my life (and just because it's a stereotype doesn't mean those people aren't out there and living a few doors down from me) is just gravy.

PS There are a lot of things I like about the South, too, and I'll be really pleased to return a few times a year to visit the SO's family. I just don't want to live here anymore.
posted by jennyb at 1:38 PM on April 26, 2004


Fair enough, jennyb, you're posts were reasonable, I was more countering Mayor Curley than anything else.
posted by jonmc at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2004


justgary: There's the illusion (Mayor Curley's comments are worse, but so trolling as to be comical).

I didn't frigging mention race. And, if I'm just trolling, why did I bother to dig up information to support my argument?

It's easier to accuse me of trolling and ignore my points than it is to rebut them, right? Or is it just because I disagree with you and therefore I must be either delusional or baiting?

I provided statistics from our own government strongly suggesting that the south is a fetid cesspool. Don't try and provide a distraction if you disagree-- get some facts and prove me wrong. Is it really comical that the South is the leading region in infant mortality? Is it funny that about 35% of the southern population can't be bothered to get a HS diploma?

Why don't you act like a real southerner and blame the problem on "im-ah-gants" or the UN? (That was trolling, pal. Now get to work on those figures.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2004


Well, that's the classic hypocrisy. Someone in the Back Bay of Boston saying "I'm not racist. I love black people!" when that's only because they don't know any, making it very easy to say.

I'm going to chalk up the above statement to coincidence and NOT to the fact that my Back Bay zip code is on my user page and I figure loudly in this discussion. Because I know that you're of too strong a character to suggest that I'm an ignorant racist when I haven't mentioned race and you don't even know me.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:33 PM on April 26, 2004


So, languagehat, you wanna kick this mamaluke's ass?

You betcha!
*gets bicycle chains and knuckledusters out of closet*

Mayor Curley: Regarding the south, I direct you to ROU_Xenophobe's comments, which you haven't bothered to respond to. The south is poor for a lot of historical reasons; you want them to just shut up and pretend to enjoy it? You want them to refuse federal funds? Give me a break. As for the rest, you can hardly blame people for tarring you unfairly (even if by implication) when you swagger in deliberately acting like The Biggest Asshole on Earth. You know exactly what you're doing ("I applaud you for being so civil when I'm being snotty"), so suck it up and don't whine about being misunderstood. Live by the snark, die by the snark.
posted by languagehat at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2004


Dang, jennyb, you are still close enough for a mefi meetup.

(She's right about the local politics down here. Yeesh.)
posted by konolia at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2004


languagehat-- my aside to jonmc was intended to say "I'm sorry to be in this kind of argument with you because I think that you're a nice guy and you're more civil than I am." It wasn't intended as an at-large admission because I'm not the only caustic person here.

As for your and ROU_xenophobe's comments, I linked to a page that explained the South's drawing of funds. Read the explanatory text-- Social Security doesn't figure into it. "Snowbirds" aren't a factor. Except for three states, the south is a giant Welfare Momma. In regards to the statement:

What's your point? That poor, uneducated people should only receive assistance from the government if they're suitably grateful for it?

Yes, that's my point. Cut 'em off for a couple of months and see if they're still subscribing to schizo-affective conspiracy theories about the federal government. The ignorance of some people in the south bothers me-- there's no shame in needing assistance, but there's plenty of shame in being hostile when you should be thankful.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:24 PM on April 26, 2004


It's easier to accuse me of trolling and ignore my points than it is to rebut them, right? Or is it just because I disagree with you and therefore I must be either delusional or baiting?

Hmph. Well, I never said you were delusional or baiting. But I did call you a troll, yes. I did so, as I said above, "for your inflammatory, antagonistic tone, lack of support for your claims, and your simplistic response to very real, complicated social problems."

I note that you did eventually come up with links -- good ones -- to support your point of view, if not your overblown proposals. But I also note that you did that after I called you a troll for shooting your mouth off.

See, maybe it's just my Southern upbringing here, but I tend not to react too positively with people who come in swinging while giving every appearance of not knowing what they're talking about. See, you made these broad generalizations about a very diverse region, and propose draconian social change based upon them. What about the urban South? The high-tech South? (And then you said that your aim was to shut me up. I don't tend to that favorably disposed to people who take that approach with me, either.) And, as languagehat noted, you know exactly what you're doing. But I'm willing to bury the hatchet, because this thread isn't, nor should it be, the Vidiot and Mayor Curley Show.
posted by Vidiot at 5:11 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm going to chalk up the above statement to coincidence and NOT to the fact that my Back Bay zip code

I'm not an expert on zip codes, but I do know your from Boston and figured picking the Back Bay would make my point easier,and I belive we had a breif discussion abou the busing crisis in Southie( I still recommend that you read All Souls by the way, great local history) the other day, so it ties into that.

I know you didn't mention race, but that's always the hole card when it comes to disparaging the south-"I hate them rednecks, they're dumb, lazy, stupid, they talk funny...and their bigoted too." So, consider it a pre-emptive point making.

"I'm sorry to be in this kind of argument with you because I think that you're a nice guy and you're more civil than I am."

Well, generally speaking, you're a pretty well respected poster and a nice guy too, which is why we're reacting the way we are. The tone and sentiment are out of character for you.
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on April 26, 2004


Exactly. I generally like you as a MeFite, so I can't figure out why you're acting like this. You obviously have the same kind of chip on your shoulder about the South that Faze has about NYC; I don't know what's behind it, but it's disconcerting. (And my dad's family is southern, so don't expect me to take it well.)
posted by languagehat at 6:07 PM on April 26, 2004


Just a note on language - "coloured" is for many people of a certain generation in North America still a polite word. I have heard my grandparents use it for non-white people (which is suprising like the currently fashionable term "people of colour"), and I seriously doubt they are racist, as their daughter (my aunt) is black, and they themselves have faced the grim reality of polite Northern, or in this case Canadian, racism. Context is everything - you can use the term African-American and be scathing, or you can say coloured and have been a civil rights activist. It's what you say that matters, not your terms.
posted by jb at 6:20 PM on April 26, 2004


languagehat, jonmc, vidiot and anyone I missed--

Sorry that I was caustic. Not that it's ever justified, but I grew up in a northern New England town with a military base (and resulting military demographics) and the culture clash left an impression that I'm still working through. Again, sorry you guys.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2004


Don't sweat it too much, we all got our buttons and maybe we all learned something.

but I grew up in a northern New England town with a military base

One wing of my family lived in northern New England (central Vermont quarry town) after emigrating from Italy, and that town had it's Bubba tendencies (fondnesses for country music, muscle cars and cheap beer) as well. A guy I met in Florida said that northern Rednecks are called "Bluenecks." Bit of fun trivia for ya.
posted by jonmc at 7:06 PM on April 26, 2004


What a superb thread - all I did was post what I thought to be an interesting article so I'm at liberty to say so. Thank you, Vidiot, jonmc, Mayor Curley, languagehat and all others for making the issue so complex and real. Meaning: interesting! Like many foreigners, I often forget that your country is the (only quite recently) United States of America, i.e. very big, very diverse, very discordant, very contentious but bound by quite strict rules of discussion and dissension.

As a result of this thread, I've become interested in the constitutional and cultural possibilities of secession: I know nothing about how the U.S. could democratically exclude the states it felt (say with a 2/3 majority?) were, so to speak, out of tune or how a state, feeling out of tune with the federal status quo, could presumably secede.

Perhaps it's a wonder you're all still together, though I mean "wonder" almost completely in the most positive sense. Of "Bravo!" even, given the circumstances.

Thanks guys, very sincerely.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:09 PM on April 26, 2004


Like many foreigners, I often forget that your country is the (only quite recently) United States of America, i.e. very big, very diverse, very discordant, very contentious but bound by quite strict rules of discussion and dissension.

Well, we're hardly unique in that regard. My Lombardy born grandmother is very fond of bitching about the "Napolitan" and "Calabrese," and vice versa. And I've heard similar stories about England and other European countries. We're just a bigger country so it gets more spectacular here.
posted by jonmc at 7:20 PM on April 26, 2004


No worries, Mayor Curley. And yes, Miguel, sometimes I think "United States" is an oxymoron. ;-)
posted by Vidiot at 7:33 PM on April 26, 2004


As for your and ROU_xenophobe's comments, I linked to a page that explained the South's drawing of funds. Read the explanatory text-- Social Security doesn't figure into it.

You mean that taxfoundation page? It quite explicitly and directly states that places with more retirees will have a higher benefit/tax ratio.

To resort to the devious expedient of quoting from it,

"However, demography is at least as influential as politics. States with more residents on Social Security, Medicare and other large federal entitlements are bound to rank fairly high."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:02 PM on April 26, 2004


Well, we're hardly unique in that regard.

I think you are, Jon - well not you, the country you belong to. When all the arguments in the EU are about the new constitution and federalism, you understand how interesting the example of the U.S. is. Except in this case we are the newbies. I mean, at least you all speak the same language, know what Beer Nuts and can relate to Johnny Cash. You also have only two big political parties and one White House.

As I said, damn interesting! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm sorry, it's getting a little too civil in here.

Uh... southerners are pooheads!
posted by ulotrichous at 9:04 PM on April 26, 2004


Please, please, please southerners-- get fed up and leave again. We won't try to stop you this time!

Why don't you act like a real southerner and blame the problem on "im-ah-gants" or the UN? (That was trolling, pal. Now get to work on those figures.)


Mayor Curley, why would I bother with someone who starts out with such statements? If you said the same things regarding just about any other group of people, mefi members would be lined up to disagree with you. You just picked a group of people that, as the article states, is the rest of the countries whipping post. Add to that a complete lack of members from the south, and you have yourself quite a little playground here.

Stats can be looked at many ways, and its not important enough for me to dig up a bunch when we both know you have a personal demon when it comes to the south. And to look at those stats without asking "why" is shortsighted on your part. But hey, the article was clearly written for people like you.

The ironic things is with your attitude (lumping entire groups of people) you'd fit right in with the cliched racist that everyone thinks in respect to the south. The article was clearly written for people like you.

You're the same. Just the other side of the coin. So luckily for you, the south is changing slowly, meaning the south will still be here (at least for a while) for you to aim all your misplaced hatred.

Pal.
posted by justgary at 12:59 AM on April 27, 2004


Someone ate some bad chitlins...
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:50 AM on April 27, 2004


Uh, justgary, did you read the thread? If you do so, you might revise your opinion about the "complete lack of members from the south" and discover that mefi members were, in fact, lined up to disagree with Da Mayah—who has as a result apologized handsomely and provided an interesting explanation of how he came by his prejudices. If jonmc, vidiot and I are cool with him (which we are), maybe you too can get over it.

Miguel: The Constitution does not deny states the right to secede (by the way, the Soviet constitution positively affirmed such a right!), but in practice it, uh, didn't work out so well. Plenty of people think the states still have the right, but it's extremely unlikely to be exercised successfully.
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on April 27, 2004


I agree with everything jennyb has said in this thread, and just to offer some perspective, while she has only lived in the south for 4 year, I've been here for 25,yet I'm in total agreeance.
posted by corpse at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2004


I just made up the word agreeance. We do that in the south sometimes.
posted by corpse at 8:48 AM on April 29, 2004


And I thought the thread ended with Mayor Curley's last intelligent comment.

you might revise your opinion about the "complete lack of members from the south"

Take a look at my user page. I'm in Birmingham Alabama, ground zero for the South. How many members are near me? Three. Compare it to your user page, to the Mayor's page. I'm not trying to come off as "poor me" here, I'm just stating facts. What bothers me more is the number of southerners on mefi who almost apologize in the same instance they admit their residence, followed by the requisite "I'm leaving as soon as I can" (In other words, instead of fighting the stereotypes, it's easier to distance one's self from them).

If jonmc, vidiot and I are cool with him (which we are), maybe you too can get over it.

You're joking right? I respect that you and jonmc are fine with the mayor. In fact, jonmc makes more sense of the South than most southerners. But insinuating that if you are ok with his comments then I should go along with the group think? Please.

Da Mayah—who has as a result apologized handsomely and provided an interesting explanation of how he came by his prejudices.


Forgive me if his apology and one paragraph explanation rings hollow (and interesting? We must be reading a different thread).

Half my family is from Boston. I've met plenty of people like the Mayor. He's either ignorant or very young. Take your pick. The fact is, he wouldn't say those one liners about any any other group of people. Nor would he say them anywhere else other than the internet, but everyone has big balls behind a keyboard. But he does, and then is forgiven with one paragraph.

The bottom line is the whole article was about Mayor Curley and others like him. Thankfully, they're in the minority and getting smaller yearly. People who hate another group so much that they begin with the line "this country would be better off without the South" need therapy.

My only mistake was responding to his cliched and ignorant comments. Sometimes I forget how large mefi has grown. When you reach 16,904 you're bound to have a few trolls in the mix.
posted by justgary at 8:59 PM on May 1, 2004


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