Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Thursday Three

Terry Oglesby, the Big Critter over at Possumblog has been running the Thursday Three for almost three months now. I've been remiss in participating, but we'll rectify that now.
1) Assuming for the moment that “The South” still has a distinct and recognizable sense of itself within the greater universe of American culture (not having been homogenized and starched into being nothing more than merely another place on the map), when was the first time you ever felt or noticed that difference or distinction?
We used to travel up to Canada to visit my Mom's family. It was on one of those trips we passed through Ohio. The young woman at the check-in counter almost immediately said, "You're from the South, aren't you?" She said it in that arch-sweet way that also says, "You're stupid freaks, too." Even though that happened thirty-odd years ago, I can still remember it.
2) Assuming our original assumption is still valid, list three of distinctions about the South that you believe are positive, and worth being emulated by others
First, is our public formality. You can watch people meet their mortal enemies with perfect civility, unquestioned manners, and then they'll go off to the side and tell you all their flaws. But not to their face in public. That's nice. Having that public mask makes difficult situations so much easier than the in-your-face, casual culture of modern America allows.

Second, what the smart types call "porch culture." Folks will slow down in the evening and sit down on the porch to watch the world go by and to chew over the events of the day with a nice cold drink. We'll wave and say, "Hey. How y'all?" when friends walk past. Now matter the chaos of the day, that's the nice calm center.

Last, tremendous pride in history, good and bad, to the point of possessiveness. It promotes awareness of who you are and how you got there. Most Southerners know more history off the top of their heads than most Americans because of that.
3) Have you ever been to another place outside of the South that seemed to have that same sense of “Southernness” to it? If so, where was it?
I haven't travelled much outside the South. Arkansas is the farthest West I've been; Tennessee the farthest North, except for travel to Canada where I haven't been since the trips when we were kids. Gosh, I sound like a hick.

So, spread the meme. Copy the three questions to your blog and answer them. Leave a link here for us to read!

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