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.
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).
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.
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.
Two couples have a cookout in Cherokee National Forest. Photo by J. Baylor Roberts. Who doesn’t love picnics?
Smiling, ruddy, polo-shirted middle-aged men with white baseball caps asking everyone “Howya doing?” are as North Carolinian as NASCAR and pecan pie.
You should just sit down, there should be a bottomless thing of chips and really good salsa and then your meal starts. This whole thing about sitting down and ordering chips and salsa and paying $5.00 for it is insane.
Visualizing Slavery – NYTimes.com. Map showing the distribution of the slave population of the southern states of the United States. I didn’t realize there was so many along the Mississippi River. I’d always imagined more along the Piedmont and coastal plains. The LOC has some great map collections.
We Southerners get super sensitive about snow and ice in the winter but we LIVE for the first full weekend of zero percent humidity. Everyone breaks out their wool blazers and favorite argyle items as soon as temps dip below 87° – it’s a fact! That’s why it’s so sad when inevitably a three-week humid heat wave comes in October and no one wants to put sensible cotton short-sleeved attire back on. Lots of moist people in sweater vests and Glen plaid dragging themselves through the dying strains of Atlanta summer – it’s just embarrassing for everyone.
I was astounded by Bill Rankin’s map of Chicago’s racial and ethnic divides and wanted to see what other cities looked like mapped the same way. To match his map, Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot is 25 people. Data from Census 2000.