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The video that proves liberals hate the south, America, kittens, and apple pie.

Today I’ve been reading the back and forth on Andrew Sullivan’s blog about the above video by filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi which recently aired on Real Time with Bill Maher, where the citizens of the poorest state in the nation flaunt their prejudices and their lack of teeth.  According to Sullivan, the wing nuts are going “ape-shit” over this.  I don’t need to go dumpster diving in the right-wing blogosphere to verify this.  After all, this is just the perfect storm to set right-wing spittle flying:  the daughter of San Francisco Liberal Nancy Pelosi and that atheist Hollywood libertine Bill Maher making fun of the poor, humble, hardworking folk of the American heartland.  

It’s not just the right-wing who react when someone shines airs the dirty laundry of the South; moderates and liberals like the dissenters quoted by Sullivan leap to the defense of aggrieved southerners whenever someone besmirches their honor.  Because they know a few gays or progressives or minorities and frequent a nice vegan restaurant in town and don’t know a single person in the Klan, they claim that accusations of racism of their fellow southerners are unfounded.  Often the violent reaction to Martin Luther King’s visit to Chicago is trotted out as an example of how the North is just as bad, or even worse, than the South.  Never mind that this argument is undercut by the fact that the South directed violence against African-Americans for a hundred years prior to King’s visit to Chicago, or that King himself was murdered in Tennessee.  

“It is the manifestation of why the Democratic Party, and left-leaning politics in general, are so totally irrelevant to many of the people who should, by all rights, be its base,” one of Sullivan’s dissenters writes about the video.  If only liberals would stop being such meanypants about the South!  If we would abandon our prejudices against the hard-working, toothless masses of places like Mississippi, then those voters would abandon their prejudices and begin voting in their economic interests.  Really?  I fail to see how this is anything but fantasy, powered by the perennial American myth in the essential goodness of common folk.  Is it the prejudices of liberals that caused  52% of Mississippi GOP voters to think Barack Obama is a Muslim or 46% of them to think interracial marriage should be illegal?  Is it the prejudices of liberals that caused members of the Southern Mississippi University band to chant at a Puerto Rican basketball player on the opposing team “Where’s your green card?’

If Mississippi didn’t have the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation, they might know that Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

The dissenters claim that we must respect the South and are ignorant of the ways of its kind, hard-working folk.  The dissenters never insist the reverse; that southerners respect and learn about other places, such as knowing that Puerto Rico is a territory of the US.

An anecdote from neighboring Alabama: You may have heard of gifted scientist Douglas Prasher, whose work helped three others win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, while he ended up driving a courtesy van for an Alabama car dealership.  A profile in Discover highlighted his interactions with some of those southerners:
“We’ve been teaching Douglas about the real world,” he said. Jim, another body shop worker, listed some of the things they had educated Prasher about. They all happened to be local culinary delights: “mountain oysters” (hogs’ testicles), fried moon pies, Goo Goo Clusters. I asked Jim if Prasher had taught them anything in return—say, about DNA. “DN who?” Jim asked, smiling.
This respect, this learning, this open-mindedness demanded of liberals is not a two way street.  While we have to learn about the “real world” of eating pig testicles, they can remain wholly ignorant of the entire world outside their state.  We have to endlessly praise them as the “heartland” of this country and listen to them attack the rest of us as wicked, evil, and corrupt.   We are subsiding their rural lifestyles with our money while they demand that taxes and government services be cut even further, except for stuff they like, of course, which doesn’t really count.

I’m sure there will be some responses that echo the dissenters above, that I’ve unfairly tarred all southerners with the same brush, that I’m reinforcing mean liberal prejudices, etc.  It may surprise you to learn that I live in a southern state that has also often been a national laughingstock.  When my state is attacked, I don’t cling to some sort of stubborn regional pride and complain that we’ve been unfairly maligned.  I realize that the attacks are accurate.  After all, we elected as Governor a guy who defrauded Medicare of millions because his opponent, a former Bank of America executive, was a socialist or something.   Yes, there are racists and toothless idiots in Florida and Illinois and Pennsylvania and Oregon, but there are a hell of a lot of them in Mississippi, and you aren’t being unfairly maligned just because we are pointing out what you already knew.  Yes, Mississppi is the home of William Faulkner and Eudora Welty and B.B. King too, but you can be damn sure they knew what their neighbors were like, so there’s no sense in you denying it.

What's your favorite thing about Mississippi?

37%26 votes
5%4 votes
20%14 votes
36%25 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  There's nothing else to say. I lived in Alabama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    absdoggy, Troubadour, jilikins

    3 years.  It was every bit as delightful as you describe.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:11:44 PM PDT

  •  Did you know that George Wallace was so angry (2+ / 0-)

    With B'ham for not voting for him, that he caused all the interstates to stop 10 miles outside of town? Very convenient for us.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:13:35 PM PDT

    •  Better for B'ham in the long run (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Interstate highways despoil the beauty of the natural landscape and soundscape, and dehumanize the cities they cut into.  I've never been to Birmingham.  Do you have less urban blight than most cities?  If so, I'd think it a worthy tradeoff to have to drive 10 miles to find it.  

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 09:52:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We're Offering Them Outsourcing, Economic and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, Marjmar, brae70

    finance deregulation and free trade along with the Republicans, so as Howard Dean suggested why be surprised that they've gone with the Republic culture war?

    The only way people give up prejudice is when they realize they're not threatened by those who are different. That's not a very likely realization to come during times of decreasing opportunity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:33:18 PM PDT

  •  It is the 'heartland'. America is where the f'ing (0+ / 0-)

    PEOPLE are.  The overwhelmingly live in the NE, midwest and West coast.  'nuff said.

    BTW, it tickles me to no end that these clowns do not understand where this 'heartland' b/s came from: judgments about how rustic and quaint they were.

    And btw, I live in Texas.  So take your 'don't point to the huge f'ing warts in the South and maybe they'll like us' and put it where the sun don't shine.  Its b/s.  And these crackers are b/s.  

  •  MA native, VA resident, worked in NC/SC (8+ / 0-)

    Look, I can tell you that, even in the early 1980s in Lowell, MA where I grew up, I played basketball in the Catholic Youth League and it was a great example of how segregated the Northeast can be - St. Patricks was 15 white Irish kids, St. Rita's was 15 white Italian kids, St. Jude was 15 black kids, St. Jeanne D'arc was 15 white French kids, St. Therese was 15 Puerto Ricans.  That's how it was in the neighborhoods those churches were in.

    I know I had an African-American friend who worked with me, and we went to Boston on a trip and he wanted to go to some of the old Irish bars I had talked about (not the tourist traps at Fanueil Hall) but I was afraid to take him.

    So, the north has its warts.  But here, wow, just wow. The CFO of a $250M company in NC told me how he couldn't get signatures on his delivery orders because "the only ones there when we deliver are the field niggers and they can't read or write".  The farmers sitting around the local feed and fertilizer store doing nothing but shooting the shit, complaining about how lazy the niggers that worked for them are - of course, their workers were actually  working their ass off in the 100 degree heat, and for minimum wage.

     In NC, I was staying at a bed and breakfast for a week working on an audit, and was told by so many white people "don't walk past that blue house on the corner, it's a crack house".  In reality, it was a nice old gentleman and his wife, who bought the house to live out their retirement days.  But it was on the white side of town, don't you know, so they were accused of being crack dealers.

    It's an uglier, meaner, nastier racism down here, at least from my white perspective (which is, perhaps, ignorant of what really matters in racism, I don't know).

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 06:18:54 PM PDT

  •  Mississippi is the heartland of the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobBlueMass, HeyMikey

    not of America.

    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

    by Troubadour on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 06:48:47 PM PDT

  •  Clearly... (0+ / 0-)

    ...ignorance is not bliss.

    I just find this...incredibly sad.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 07:22:25 PM PDT

  •  speaking as a yankee,who is missing teeth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Because I couldn't afford dental care, couldn't you leave the dental jibes out? Sorry, but it hurts.

    "I took a walk around the world, To ease my troubled mind. I left my body laying somewhere In the sands of time" Kryptonite 3 doors Down

    by farmerchuck on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 08:56:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm from Mississippi. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm white, was born in Mississippi in 1961. We moved away when I was 2. I grew up in Georgia and Florida, mostly Georgia, and the farthest north I have ever lived is the suburbs of Atlanta. I have regularly visited family in small-town and rural Mississippi my entire life. My observations:

    1. My relatives in northeast Mississippi are some of the most educated people in the area, and thus in the small minority of white people who would consider voting Democratic at the state or national level. But even so, only some of them vote Democratic regularly.

    2. It is distressing and infuriating that so many people--both educated and uneducated--whom I know to behave decently and generously in many aspects of their lives become selfish ignoramuses when it comes to politics. This is by no means confined to the south, but I believe it is more prevalent here.

    3. There is a strong school of thought--er, "thought"--in the south that emphasizes letting no one tell you what to do, even if they're right. A substantial minority of southerners are quite willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces. Again, this is not confined to the south but seems to be more prevalent here, especially among the less-educated. Or perhaps just closer to the surface, and more socially accepted. When you have little else, the ability to assert your autonomy seems to become even more important.

    Bottom line: I don't think the video showing a bunch of malicious hicks is unfair. It isn't a full cross-section, thank God, but it doesn't purport to be, and that's obvious. I hope.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 10:06:09 PM PDT

  •  When did "the south" (0+ / 0-)

    ... come to mean white people ignoring the fact that non-whites are %40 of Mississippi?

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