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Old 06-28-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,674,733 times
Reputation: 2498

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Quote:
Originally Posted by saganista View Post
So, what are the hallmarks of all this "southerness" that might determine the nature of a region? So far, it seems that rural is an influence, along with long ago attitudes toward segregation and which if any side an area was on during the even longer ago Civil War. Is that about it?

a zillion things from accent, to the availability of grits at diners, to the presence of conservative Democratic pols (i know, I date myself there), to attitudes to authority, to attitudes towards manners, privacy, etc. I suggest this (rather dated) book http://www.amazon.com/Amiable-Baltim.../dp/080182513X to get a sense of what it meant, in a Baltimore context.

This is really good too, but I never finished it.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...le+temperament

I there's more to it than sides in the civil war, or even segregation.

edit

This was really good too

http://www.amazon.com/Albions-Seed-B.../dp/0195069056

for what I meant about politics

http://academic.regis.edu/jriley/421elazar.htm
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:59 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,320,304 times
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Accent and grits are merely superficial. Transplants to the South are likely to pick up both but won't suddenly become Southerners. Privacy is one of those ACLU things. The South has more of a reputation for its gossipy busybodies with everybody in town knowing everything you are doing. Attitudes toward authority and maybe toward manners would be germane, but how are these to be viewed? As the product of a binary and uneroded moral absolutism amplified by the strictures of fundamentalist religion? I spent several of my earlier years in the (at the time, Jim Crow) Deep South, and that is how it has seemed to me in retrospect. Southern seems to have had some of the basics right, but to be burdened still with the remnants of things that time and simple education should by now have done away with. It kind of puzzles me.
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:18 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,674,733 times
Reputation: 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by saganista View Post
Accent and grits are merely superficial. Transplants to the South are likely to pick up both but won't suddenly become Southerners. Privacy is one of those ACLU things. The South has more of a reputation for its gossipy busybodies with everybody in town knowing everything you are doing. Attitudes toward authority and maybe toward manners would be germane, but how are these to be viewed? As the product of a binary and uneroded moral absolutism amplified by the strictures of fundamentalist religion? I spent several of my earlier years in the (at the time, Jim Crow) Deep South, and that is how it has seemed to me in retrospect. Southern seems to have had some of the basics right, but to be burdened still with the remnants of things that time and simple education should by now have done away with. It kind of puzzles me.

Im not quite sure a cultural trait being something one can pick up makes it not a marker of regional identity. Folks have fought wars over issues of language, yet thats something newcomers learn routinely. I think they are perfectly good markers. And Im not sure why you think a transplant can't become a southerner. An immigrant can become an American, or even a Frenchman - why can't a transplant become a southerner?

As for how are things to be viewed, I dont know, thats up to you. Personally I am more interested in understanding different cultural traits and how they came to be than in constantly judging them. I would suggest though that deferential attitudes to authority predate fundamentalist religion in the South - they go back to a South that was lightly Anglican before the Second Great Awakening.

I think the best ways to avoid puzzlement on this matter would be to A. Read more about the roots of these cultural traits (and I STRONGLY recommend Albions Seed for that) and to be less quick to determine what "should" have been eroded. Amazingly different cultures can find ways to be functional, and things you find simple minded and sure to be eroded by education may have more sophisticated expressions than you realize.

I would suggest The Bostonians - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for a take on southern vs New England culture clashes that is sympathetic to the south, yet sophisticated. C Vann Woodward wrote an essay discussing that novel, I think it was in Amazon.com: The Burden of Southern History (9780807118917): C. Vann Woodward: Books but Im not sure. I would also of course suggest C Vann Woodward.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:38 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,016,057 times
Reputation: 6824
I'm a Californian, born and raised. As a child in the mid-60s I visited the East Coast from VA to MA and found both the North and the South almost like foreign countries. The food, accents, architecture, and people seemed very different. However, when I moved back here almost 25 years later it didn't seem as much that way and it was clear quite a bit of homogenization had taken place. Other than the landscape and architecture, Northern Virginia is now pretty indistinguishable from most California suburbs. Greater mobility and mass media have broken down a lot of previous regional differences.
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