Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Southern Charm

by Pa Rock
Social Commentator

There was a cultural myth when I was growing up that said - whatever their faults, southerners could always be counted on for politeness. A southern lady was a lady. She might not like you, or your politics, or your Blue Tick Hound, but she would have you parked in a comfortable chair with a glass of cold and sweet iced tea before you could doff your ball cap and bid her good afternoon.

A southern gentleman was a gentleman. Oh, he might take a mistress and hit the bourbon a little too often, but he was a gentleman who subscribed to all of society's conventions regarding good manners.

She was Scarlett O'Hara and he was Colonel Sanders, and they were the poster people for order and decorum. But it was a myth. The ideal was false. There were no (or damned few) gentle southern souls sipping their mint juleps and dispensing kindness to every wayfarer who happened to stroll across their plantations. Real southerners at the time I was growing up were more apt to be raging crackers and hillbillies who fought integration and prayed to a white male God who smiled kindly on the likes of Bull Connor, Orville Faubus, George Wallace, and Lester Maddox. They bombed black churches, murdered civil rights workers, and overtly supported the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

But that was decades ago. Integration happened. The South slowly progressed into the American mainstream. Witness Atlanta, for example, a fairly liberal and progressive city that is leading the South into the twenty-first century. All of that ignorant cracker and hillbilly stuff is history - it's a New South.

Or is it?

Representative Joe Wilson, a Republican of South Carolina, showed his class and his ass tonight at the President's speech before Congress when he felt obliged to yell out "You lie!" at one point during the speech. He was, of course, playing to his voters back home - people who would appreciate name-calling and rudeness - ignorant crackers and hillbillies. Good job, Rep. Wilson. You may be the fool nationally, but the good ole boys back home are gonna love that shit. What a great sound bite for your next election! You really told that uppity colored boy a thing or two - by God!

Kudos to my senator, John McCain, for calling the fool, Joe Wilson, out on his bad behavior.

Update: I just heard Rachel Maddow say that Congressman Joe Wilson has issued a written apology to President Obama. So, in the words of the immortal Miss Emily Litella, "Never mind!"

(But I still think the slimeball will use the sound bite in his reelection campaign!)


Mike Box said...

The Boston Globe reports on that:

"In the first 24 hours after Wilson's outburst, Miller's campaign coffers swelled by $200,000, according to Jessica Santillo of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The contribution, she said, came in from 5,000 individual contributions"

They speak of Rob Miller, Wilson's Democratic opponent.

Meanwhile in Florida four monkeys and a parrot were stolen from a zoo. The thieves, apparently aware of Wilson general election opponent, may have been recruting primary challengers.

kittyknitter said...

I have just read this blog so I'm still digesting it, but please, please do not place all Southerners in the nut basket with Joe Wilson! I am a Southerner, born and bred, taught to have manners, care more for others than I do myself, say "yes sir" and "no ma'am." I also came of age in the turmoil of Civil Rights demonstrations. I was raised by a bigoted father. None of the above statements makes me the cracker and/or hillbilly that you make all Southerners out to be. Believe it or not, there were and are white people in the South who believe that ALL people have equal rights, ALL people have value and a contribution to make to this mixed mongrel country we call America. I would also like to point out that, even though integration was forced in the South, it was several years, maybe decades later before it was forced in the North. Turns out those "Yankee Doodles" were just about as prejudiced, if not more so, than their "cracker" counterparts. I and many of my friends were deeply affected by the stark black and white visions blaring from our TVs in the 60s of our fellow human beings being attacked by dogs and water hoses and beaten senseless in the streets by white policemen's billy clubs for no other reason than the color of their skin. I am a Southern Liberal Democrat. I voted for Obama and am proud to call him my President. I wish I could have been seated near Joe Wilson the night he called our President a liar. I believe my Southern manners would have allowed a lapse so I could have slapped him....hard.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...


Thanks for slapping my writing hand! I didn't make a very good point - Joe Wilson had me fuming! I know that integration came very hard in Boston, and I also know that no region is completely composed of hillbillies and crackers - except possibly for Arizona!