Tag Archives: South

Don’t mourn Jesse’s death – mourn that his legacy lives

On his outstanding Prodigal Son CD, North Carolina folk and blugrass legend Mike Cross presents us with a high-stepping little ditty called “Bill is in His Grave.” Bill, it turns out, was a scoundrel of the first order, and he’d been recently deceased.

The narrator is asked to say a few words at the funeral, a task that proves daunting for a man who’d rather not speak ill of the dead.

He finally manages this: Read more

WordsDay: A Southern writer’s famous Midwestern tale

Perhaps I’m jaded. Maybe I’ve read “A Rose for Emily” once too often, researched a tad too much about dismemberments in Memphis, taught one class too many on “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and indulged myself too uncritically in the fictive Carolina childhood of T.R. Pearson.

Maybe there’s something deep and dark and twisted in me. I don’t know. But I do know that Truman Capote’s landmark In Cold Blood, as magnificent as the tale ultimately is, leaves my dank country soul wanting, well, more.

The Clutters were fine, upstanding folks, and Dick and Perry were warped sociopaths who received better than they dished out and far better than they deserved. And these sociopaths set out to make easy money and wound up killing four innocent and good people in the process. Then they got caught and hung. Fin. Read more

A progressive for our times

Let’s say this guy was running for president on a third-party ticket:

  • proven track record for getting country out of wars
  • strong foreign policy diplomat who forged stronger relationships with powerful developing (and enemy) nations
  • implemented the first significant federal affirmative action program
  • dramatically increased spending on federal employee salaries
  • organized a daily press event and daily message for the media
  • oversaw first large-scale integration of public schools in the South
  • advocated comprehensive national health insurance for all Americans Read more

Saturday Video Roundup: the South’s gonna do it agin…

I was born and raised in the South, a region that’s often misunderstood and mischaracterized by those who’ve never been there. When I moved to the Midwest for grad school I encountered people whose knowledge of the South was pretty much confined to The Andy Griffith Show, The Dukes of Hazzard and Hee-Haw. And they called us stupid.

I’ve tried to live my life in a way that dispelled bad stereotypes about my home. Sadly, not everyone below the Mason-Dixon Line got the memo. Take this guy, the Pride of Kentucky, for instance.

Read more

WordsDay: “The Day Daddy Died”

It’s around 9 a.m. May 1, 1994. My stepmother, Kathie, has spent the night at Forsyth Memorial Hospital with my father, Larry, who will die late this afternoon. Their next-door neighbor, Wayne, is driving her home so she can shower and maybe get an hour or two of sleep. She hasn’t slept much in the six weeks since Daddy was admitted to the hospital with massive liver failure. Wayne has been a constant and salving presence during his friend’s illness.

Ten miles, maybe, down Silas Creek Parkway, through the south side of Winston-Salem, then on out Highway 109’s low, pine-strewn roll of hills to where Gumtree Road cuts across, demarcating the northern boundary of Wallburg, NC. This is where Daddy and Kathie live, and it’s where I grew up. These are the cultural outlands of the sprawling new metropolitan South. Our neighborhood straddles the Davidson and Forsyth County lines, and stands too far out into the country to be properly called suburban. But it’s also way too close to Winston to be considered rural. In some senses it’s a border town, possessing neither the urban sophistication of the city nor the kind of “agrarian virtue” my college Politics professor liked to attribute to country living. Antebellum mystique is dead elsewhere, and it never happened here. Read more

Edwards launches “poverty tour”; have-mores launch the lie machine

John Edwards kicked off Poverty Tour 2007 today.

His opponents and a lot of media people who’d know better if they’d studied a little harder in school will be countering with the even higher profile Idiots and Liars Tour, so brace yourself for all kinds of stupid. You’re going to keep hearing about $400 haircuts. You’re going to hear about new mansions. You’ll hear about “lavish spending.” You’re going to hear lots of talk where the words “slick” and “lawyer” are used in close proximity.

Pay attention: every time you do, somebody is lying to you. Read more

Recent Entries »