Can authenticity be aware of itself as such and still be authentic?

Michael Pollan, talking about the way we talk about food, specifically, the bullshitting/storytelling endemic to Southern barbecue culture (which is part of its charm, right?).

Noahpinion: Django Unchained: A white revenge fantasy

With a bit of cartoonish violence, Quentin Tarantino was able to do what a thousand reasonable op-eds and preachy biopics have been unable to do: reverse white people’s affinity for the South. I see Django as a white revenge fantasy – whites, whose ancestors (like Tarantino’s) had no part in the institution of slavery, saying “No. The South does not get to represent my racial group. If I was alive in the 1800s, I would have shot those assholes right in the head!”

Noahpinion: Django Unchained: A white revenge fantasy

Supply of Per Capita Football Talent.

This chart comes from a paper presented by Theodore Goudge, an associate professor in the department of geography at Northwest Missouri State University, at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. It pretty clearly shows what Goudge referred to as the “pigskin cult” of the south.

The paper in question is “The Geography of College Football Player Origins & Success: Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)”, here’s an abstract. Featured in On Urban Meyer’s Ohio State, Wisconsin, and the Big Ten expanding to include Maryland and Rutgers – Grantland.

I love the South. The mud and the creeks and the moss and the lightning bugs and the oak trees and the pecan trees. Climbing trees and looking for snakes, I really miss all that. That was the best part of my childhood.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

The hillbilly figure allows middle-class white people to offload the venality and sin of the nation onto some other constituency, people who live somewhere—anywhere—else. The hillbilly’s backwardness highlights the progress more upstanding Americans in the cities or the suburbs have made. These fools haven’t crawled out of the muck, the story goes, because they don’t want to.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

Every Day Is Like Sunday


Atlanta in particular is one hell of a beautiful old leaky old house. The whole Chick-Fil-A thing is actually kind of a perfect encapsulation of the strangeness of the city and the cultural faultlines its cultures straddle—the old-school conservative businessman and the religious right (usually aligned with the suburbs) versus the progressive urban center, and all the shades in between. The irony of it all is so striking, those statements (and that money) coming from a man who lives in, and in part owes the vast success of his business to, a city with one of the largest gay populations in the South, indeed one of the largest in the U.S. It’s counterintuitive and maddening and hard to explain to an outsider. It is so very Atlanta.

Filed under: Atlanta; The South.

G&G Me With a Buccellati Silver Spoon! The OA Editor Takes Down the Competition :: Oxford American

An extended, worthwhile critique/rant on Garden & Gun. OA Editor Marc Smirnoff talks a bit about willful editorial blind spots, like G&G’s intentional avoidance of politics, religion, and football. And race:

The South’s progress since 1966 is what needs to be celebrated, not the fact that a native magazine ignored the historic issues and deep struggles of the era. The growth in consciousness wasn’t a pretty process—wasn’t pretty enough for the pages of Southern Living—and it wasn’t even a process that all wanted. But nothing, in the end, has made the South more “civilized” and “gracious” than that growth.


G&G Me With a Buccellati Silver Spoon! The OA Editor Takes Down the Competition :: Oxford American

I think that part of my experience of growing up in the American South in the early ‘60’s was one of living in a place unevenly established in the present. You could look out one window and see the 20th century, then turn and look out another window and see the 19th.

General Orders No. 9

General Orders No. 9. Man, what a frustrating movie. There’s one refrain that appears throughout the movie: “Deer trail becomes Indian trail. Indian trail becomes county road.” And so we have a history of Georgia, or part of it anyway. It’s about the march of time, progress, “progress”, cities, bygone ways, and maybe about struggling to suck it up and move on without forgetting where you came from or resenting what’s now around you. Recurring images include water towers, courthouses, cemeteries, rivers, lonely trees in open fields, interstates, damp southern forests. Visually, it’s like 70 minutes of (what in many other films would be used for) b-roll and pillow shots, but a lot of it is beautiful.

There’s narration sprinkled throughout, with sets of lonely sentences bookending the sections of the movie. I feel like maybe he could have used an editor for both text and image. Would that rob it of its deeply personal heart and soul? Maybe. (I also got to wondering at one point if I would like the narration even less if he didn’t have a southern accent. It’s what I grew up around, so there will always be a soft spot. I would not be surprised if the words sounded more crude or banal in another voice.) The title refers to Lee’s Farewell Address, by the way.

I actually believe the South is a hungrier place, and always describe the East Coast as a piece of bread, and the West Coast as a piece of bread, and the South, the meat. Everybody’s roots is from the South, so at the end of the day, we the meat.

Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.

BEING THERE: ATLANTA | More Intelligent Life

Reflections on Atlanta from a Yankee who now calls it home. (via)

Atlanta is a profoundly pleasant city. That is not as easy as it seems. New York is thrilling, Hong Kong a marvel of density, Moscow the closest a city can get to a cocaine level of jitteriness and excitement, London endless: I love all four places, but I would never describe them as pleasant. They are none of them as comfortable and human-scaled as Atlanta. Social life just sort of happens here. In New York and London my calendar filled up weeks in advance; here it is not unusual to look forward to a relaxing, empty weekend on Thursday and then find that Saturday and Sunday are frantic.

The weekend thing is soooooo true. Also, while it’s in the South, it’s not always of the South:

Atlanta has always been about trade, business, enterprise—the hustle. And if that fact robs it of the stately southern charm of Savannah or Charleston, it also did much to protect it from the worst excesses of reaction during the turbulent mid-60s, and made it a bastion of openness and tolerance in the South (not to mention a springtime blessing for those of us allergic to both Spanish moss and antebellum nostalgia).

BEING THERE: ATLANTA | More Intelligent Life

You know how they make us look on TV? Like we live on the front porch with flies and shit flying around us, with our stomachs all big eating watermelon rinds? That ain’t us, man. We’re smart, man. Our life is slowed down so we don’t miss nothing. When shit gets moving too fast you miss everything.

Scarface, quoted in Dirty South.

General Orders No. 9. I’m curious about this documentary. Trailer.

General Orders No. 9 breaks from the constraints of the documentary form as it contemplates the signs of loss and change in the American South.
[…] Told entirely with images, poetry, and music, General Orders No. 9 is unlike any film you have ever seen. A story of maps, dreams, and prayers, it’s one last trip down the rabbit hole before it’s paved over.