Song, song of the South
Sweet potato pie and shut my mouth
Gone, gone with the wind
Ain’t nobody lookin’ back again . . .
– “Song of the South” by Alabama
I remember back in grade school when we first discussed the Civil War. It was simple. North good. South bad. The South wanted slavery. The North wanted to free the slaves. They fought, the North won, the slaves were free, Lincoln was a hero – a dead hero, but a hero. And the South was made to pay – and some counties in the deep South are still paying today. War is rarely gracious to the loser. Even those who were freed had no where to go. It would be years later before they had a right to vote, and even longer before they had a right to an equal education and the same water fountain. But that wasn’t really discussed so much back then. Keep it simple for the kids.
But the thing is, it isn’t that simple. No, I’m not going to wave a Confederate flag – those people make me want to throw up. But we aren’t all morons, anymore than the North are saints. Even way back then they weren’t saints. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the revolutionary book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (please read the book and disregard any plays or movies made from it), pointed out that the North was as much at fault as the South. Because even the most staunch abolitionists were more content to condemn the slave owners than actually try to do anything to change matters. In her mind this was as much a sin as actually keeping the slaves, because they were allowing the souls of the slave owners to be doomed to Hell for their crimes against humanity and God. Harriet wasn’t super popular with either North or South.
Even Abraham Lincoln wanted to play it safe until his hand was forced. Imagine taking office and half the country deciding to leave. And actually doing it, unlike the idiots who signed petitions when Obama was elected. Yes, we have some of those here. One small town flew the flag upside down to signal distress when Obama took office. I pretend not to know these people, kind of like we all like to pretend no one did “black face” comedy routines. It used to be a regular thing at the college where I work. It’s in the yearbooks. Oops.
But things DO change, even if they do slowly, and even if it takes blood and tears to make it happen. The Civil War took a horrific toll on the country. The civil rights movement was dangerous and deadly. Some police officers are even now being called on the carpet for being trigger happy with black civilians. Are the police automatically bad, and the ones shot good? No. But no one can ignore there’s a problem.
But that’s a whole other political issue, and what I really want to talk about are the people in the South that I know, specifically my own Southern heritage. My grandparents grew up in poverty. My maternal grandmother married young, and had a toddler and a baby on the way when her husband was killed. She was 22, had little education, and two children. But then my grandfather – at least the one I knew – came along and raised my mother, her sister, and the son they had together. Grandpa had a sixth grade education before he was pulled out of school to help on the farm. He joined the service at 16 and lied about his age. World War II was more appealing than the hard, back-breaking work he did day in and day out in the fields, only to face abuse and outright neglect at home.
Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch
We all picked the cotton but we never got rich
My maternal grandmother died when I was fourteen, so I never got to know her on an adult level as I did my grandfather. He was quite a man – 6’4″, huge broad shoulders, but a gentle heart. When my grandmother was alive, he was always in the background, the guy who counted my ribs and called me “stinkerpot”. Not sure if that’s just a Southern thing or an all around annoyance for children. When my grandmother died, we worried about how he would make it. But he did very well. He became more than the man who worked 7 days a week on oil wells to keep the family going (yet cleaned up shinier than anyone you’d ever seen), though there were times without work where they barely made it. My mother remembers picking cotton once as a child, and the pain of her fingers, and the tiny amounts of money they made from an entire day’s worth.
My grandfather was a DEMOCRAT. He lived and breathed the values of the party. I mean the party, and not the politicians, who obviously aren’t perfect. Once he went to vote and they asked him which party he belonged to, causing my grandfather to bellow “Do I look like a goddamn Republican to you?” I doubt they asked him again.
Daddy was a veteran, a southern democrat
They oughta get a rich man to vote like that
When George Bush was elected, I remember him saying “We’re gonna go back to catchin’ rabbits for food.” He lived through the Depression. And it was Roosevelt that pulled them through it. He was elected to four terms. President Hoover’s answer to the poor people storming the White House was a water hose. President Roosevelt put them to work, building what they needed anyway, and paying them to do it. I don’t care what you say, most people DO want to work for pay, if given the chance. Though he grew up rich, his polio handicapped him, forcing him to see those less fortunate. Eleanor was often forced to be his voice to the people. And when this once very shy woman spoke, thousands of people listened and cheered. My daughters and I watched the Roosevelts’ documentary on PBS. No, I didn’t make them watch it, they wanted to, and they loved it. Thing Two insisted on being Eleanor in her school play, even though she only had one line.
Cotton was short and the weeds were tall
But Mr. Roosevelt’s a gonna save us all
Well momma got sick and daddy got down
The county got the farm and they moved to town
Pappa got a job with the TVA
He bought a washing machine and then a Chevrolet
They had chickens, and rabbits. I remember the rabbits especially because when I asked for one, my father reacted in horror saying “They stink”. He did not view them as fun pets after caring for them. There is a picture of several of the family in from of an old car. Having a car was a big deal, even then. His grandfather didn’t have indoor plumbing still. His mother was a fabulous cook, making do with what they had. She never had a job, but people remembered she was the best basketball player on the team. She played with her three sons, who would pick her up and annoy the hound out of her. But she loved her kids, and did what she could. My father needed just a little more money to make it working and going to college. She scraped it together somehow. My father was the first person in his family to get not just a college degree, but a Master’s as well, all through sheer determination – and a little help from his mom and random acts of kindness.
Well somebody told us Wall Street fell
But we were so poor that we couldn’t tell
My father will always be a “poor boy” in his head. He worked hard, and saved hard, and paid for my college education. I did not have to work, and I do not have student loan debt. I will always owe him for that. He has a savings account for my children as well. My mother finished a Master’s degree (also the first in her family) and went back to work when I was six (the “terrible thing that happened at our house”). She is also Democrat, though she does not enjoy politics as my father does. She does believe in the same values as my father, and can’t understand how people, especially poor people, can vote differently. When she stayed home with my brother and me, they didn’t have two pennies to rub together. But they struggled through it, my father working two jobs, my mother sometimes going to three different grocery stores to get the best bargains.
They didn’t have WIC back then, something that helped pull my family through our leanest years. That and a lot of help from my parents, and a little from those random acts of kindness. I didn’t want to go to the WIC office and get free food. But I had babies. So I did it. I saved as much as I could, to make my husband’s check last longer. Everything we owned was a hand-me-down. Our TV had a pull knob on it for years. I shopped garage sales – you can get great baby stuff for cheap. My parents bought us a new air conditioner (thank God for worry over grandbabies!) and conveniently gave us a gun cabinet our first Christmas to hold the guns my husband inherited. My husband votes Republican. When we married he said he didn’t care about politics so I figured I would convert him. It hasn’t worked yet.
I inherited many of these same values, values from Southerners born and bred. My mother says I was born a feminist, and she had little to do with it. My brother is a Republican. I am another died in the wool Democrat, and could never be anything else. Think about being a staunch Catholic or Protestant. Now imagine becoming a Buddhist. It’s about the same with me – liberal Democrat, the ideals of the liberal Democrat, they compose my values, the measure of what I am. And if you look down at the quote by JFK, you might see a few things Jesus agreed with as well.
We used to be the Solid South, but with civil rights came a dramatic shift. Now I’m one of the weirdos who doesn’t agree with a lot of other Southerners. But I agree with some. Like my parents, my grandparents, and now my children. Sure, they might change their minds when they are older, but I doubt it. They have my heritage. And even if they do change parties, they won’t change values. Those are inbred.
We are Southerners. This is our song, our song of the South.
Be sure and watch the video for some amazing historical footage of the South’s past. Not to mention some 80’s mullets.
Note: This post was originally a guest post on another blog in August of 2013. In light of recent events, I wanted to publish it again, here.
There are many genres of literature. Mainstream Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Horror, but only one genre that seems to be unilaterally mocked as silly, strange, and only for “geeks.” That, of course, would be Science Fiction. I know that when I was a child, to admit you liked science fiction was to seal your fate on the lowest rungs of the status ladder for all eternity, or till the end of high school, whichever came first. God forbid anyone know you liked Star Wars, or Star Trek, or that you read the works of authors such as Isaac Asimov.
And yet, there is something about this genre that is special, unique. Dictionary.com defines fiction in part as “the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form” but also as “an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or exploration.” Fiction lets us explore the real world through the lives of imaginary people. We are transported to places many of us might never go in our lifetimes. To France, to Africa, to Antartica. We do not judge people who lose themselves in these works as “geeky.”
And yet – how is science fiction really different? Science fiction explores both our world, and others. Sometimes it is the world to come, sometimes it is another possible world, but generally it is about something that takes place in the future, whether centuries from now or just around the corner. Science fiction, unlike any other genre, seeks to give a picture of a possible future, and in many cases, the chance to either become that future, or to prevent it.
One of the most famous, and most simultaneously beloved and maligned of science fiction programs is the Star Trek series. It was created by Gene Roddenberry and the first episode “Where no Man has Gone before” aired in 1966. Though ratings initially were poor, through letter writing the series was extended for three seasons. But it did not die there. Fans formed a convention in 1972, and these are still had today. Later, after the success of science fiction films like Star Wars, Star Trek went to the silver screen. Now a show that originally was doomed to failure has spanned 12 films, a cartoon, and five different series all based around the same concept. Unlike many before him, Roddenberry saw a future in which there was hope.
But right now this is, as Phil Collins said, a land of confusion. We have many problems we are still working out. Science fiction is a place to bring attention to the problems, explore them, and possibly come to solutions. In the original series, Roddenberry explored many issues taking place in the 1960s, a primary one being civil rights. This is an issue that is far from settled, however. While most consider people of color to be equal, there are still hold outs. And there are still those who would deny rights to others, whether they be by gender, orientation, national origin, religion, or any number of other reasons. We still have a long way to go.
I was inspired to write about this by an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the second series produced in this line. In this episode, The Measure of a Man, an android, known as Lt. Commander Data, is under trial to determine if he is property of Starfleet, the military-like futuristic space organization the people serve. For a season and a half, the android Data has explored what it is to be human while serving on a starship as a member of the crew. What makes someone sentient? Further – what makes someone worthy or respect, of freedom of choice? These questions come to a head in this episode when the captain, Picard, must prove Data is sentient in order to save him from dangerous experiments that would involve dismantling and possibly destroying the essence of the android’s experiences, or rather, his soul.
So many issues are explored in this episode. It is not, in fact, just about an android, but about us. The man who wants to disassemble Data wants to create hundreds just like him, or a race, basically, of androids. As Picard considers his defense, he realizes that this has all been done before. Once African Americans were deemed less than human, ¾ of a human to be specific, according to the Constitution at one time. Since these people were less than human, it was permissible to enslave them. Would a race of these androids also be enslaved? Can you exploit a machine?
It brings to mind issues from the near future as well. Already we have cloned animals. How long until we can clone entire humans? If we are able to do so, will it be permissible to take from these clones organs in order to further our own existence? Will these people be considered human like us? What if we grow them without brains? Scary, isn’t it? And yet, possible given the right tools, the right knowledge, the right legislation. Science and technology are often speeding ahead of morality. Through science fiction, we can attempt to keep up.
And then there is today. Today we seek legislation to deny people of the same gender the right to marry. We seek legislation to deny women the right to choose whether to have their child or receive a safe abortion. And we seek legislation to deny the right to vote to the poor and disadvantaged. Are any of these groups of people unworthy of rights? If so, why?
Here is a clip from the show in which Picard successfully advocates for Data’s right to choose his own future. It is all very good, but pay careful attention starting at around the 3:30 mark. He demonstrates how it is our laws that determine the liberties of those around us. And at 4:18, Picard says, “Your honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life. Well there it SITS!”
Patrick Stewart, who plays Picard in this series, delivers this line so passionately that I dare you to not be moved by his words. So after all of this, I ask you, am I a geek for liking science fiction? Is science fiction worthless? I’m not demanding you enjoy it. I don’t enjoy all of it, and there are certainly some other genres I am not particularly fond of, yet I do not consider them silly, or trivial, or just for “geeks.” Science fiction is for everyone. It explores the past, the present, and the future in ways that make us question our values, our morals, in a time of extraordinary change. It’s important. And it is not just for geeks.
Disclaimer to the disclaimer: The following words, opinions, and creative forms of grammar are that of Thing 2 and Thing 2 alone. Alice had nothing to do with it. She swears. Now for Thing Two:
Before we start i would just like to note: Hans is a brony but no one knew, and i have no problem with that and neither should you,bronies are NOT gay, people can like what they like and there is no one to stop you and no one should judge anyone that way, its bloody america the only way to stop someone is the bloody law and if you are a brony or like “girl things” don’t be afraid to be yourself and stand up for people, no one can tell you no….you are your own person and they are just a heartless (kingdom hearts reference!) thank you for your time
—————— ♥ T ♣ 2 ♠ —————
Welcome welcome to more interviews (with thing two!) As i continue to be young and adorable while i typedy type type on mom’s computer, Hans
continues the evil plan. Not many changes have happened, lets recap our last interviews!
Prince p and Aurora
ariel the non mermaid and stupid eric
bella belle and beast
merida and her wee little devil brothers
Hans: welcome back to the hunger games interviews! Today we will interview the following:
Snow and prince dude
Kristoff and Anna
John smith and Poco
Prince charming and Cindy
Peter pan and Tinkerbell
sora and riku
(i wish i could add sora and riku from kingdom hearts but mom would not allow it)
Hans: Ok now here is our first interview of the day, everyone welcome…… Cinderella!
well it looks like Hans is playing hook line and sinker….but anna is not taking the bait.
Up next uhh……Prince kit…charming…whatever you want to call him
now its the one and only
neverlandian….. PETER PAN!
up next……… Tinkerbell!
up now is……*drumroll*……Pocahontas!
next is the adventurer and poco’s loved husband (lets pretend the sequel NEVER happened)
now we interview prince dude!
up next following her super weird and bloody dumb husband….SNOW WHITE!
well that’s all for today folks! make sure to leave a comment to vote for who you think should win! (i still think sora and riku should TOTALLY be in the games) and no butts were harmed in the making of this post, or Hans.
stay tuned for PART 3!
*and here is a little something for people who found out who peter and tink REALLY are
I suppose you’ve probably heard that annoyingly catchy “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor, she of the “All about the Bums” fame. Okay, so I’ve listened to this song dozens of times already (I TOLD you it was catchy) and I was thinking, hey, I have a few things to say to my CURRENT husband. So I made up some of my own lyrics. They don’t necessarily have rhyme or rhythm, but I guarantee they make at least as much sense as hers do.
Here’s the video to get the beat, in case you somehow managed to miss hearing this song.
Dear Current Husband
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if
You want to live
Another 16 years in peace.
Take me on a date
Pretend you think it’s great
I’ll try not to forget our anniversary
Cause if you treat me right
I’ll be a decent wife
I’ll remember next time
About your birthday and all that
You got a 7 to 3:30
But I got 8 to 5
That means you get a teensy bit of precious free time
So it’s only fair you cook
You know that I can’t cook.
But I can check out books, yeah I check out books
You gotta attempt to treat me like a lady
Even though I’m always crazy
Tell me everything’s alright
Dear Current Husband
Here’s a few things you should know by now
To keep your wife from having a big cow
Turn off “Pickers” and listen
Dear Current Husband
If you want some lovin’
Remember to play old Alan Alda shows
After fixing cars
Try to clean it up
And maybe then I won’t freak out because the yard is
covered by so many parts
Not to mention oil. And all those blasted tools.
How many do you need? Really, how many do you need?
You gotta know to pretend that I’m a lady
Yeah I know I’m really crazy
Just tell me everything’s alright
Dear Current Husband
Here’s a few more things
You need to know if you want to live
16 more years of mostly peace
Dear Current Husband
Make time for me
Don’t leave me lonely
And know you sometimes have to talk to me
Please stop snoring on the left side of the bed (hey)
And take the kids away and you might get some kisses
Don’t leave them in the woods
They’ll just find their way back
Forget about big rings
I want a va-cay-tion
Okay you know that I’m not much of a lady
And I usually am crazy
But tell me everything’s alright
Dear Current Husband
There’s so many more things
You need to know if you want to be
My husband till we fight in wheelchairs
Dear Current Husband
Though you do drive me nuts, I really do love you
Just say I’m beautiful, like, out loud
Current Husband, we can make this work!
Thank you, current husband, for 16 and a half years (see I’m not that late). I love you.
Please clean up the driveway
Sorry for the delay, but the Game Makers have not exactly been concentrating on their duties. (Click to enlarge photos)
Anyway, after some quick wardrobe changes with their stylists – Elsa and the Fairy Godmother were worked pretty hard – it is time for the customary pre-game interviews.
First, let me introduce to your our host!
First up for an interview is Prince Eric from the Atlantis District. Let’s see what questions Hans has for him.
Next up is Princess Aurora from the Narcolepsy District.
After unloading Aurora from the couch, it was the second tribute from Narcolepsy, Prince Phillip’s, turn.
Moving on. Next on the hot seat are tributes from the French-ish district, starting with Belle.
After Belle finished her chapter, it was Beast’s turn.
And now time for the last interviews of the day : welcome the Clan Du -whatever district. First up is Merida.
Next up are the triplet tributes, Hammock, Hammich, and Hummus . . . or . . . whatever their names are.
Still 9 districts left to go! How will interviews go with the others? Anna? Aladdin? Mulan? Those other guys? Will we get to the killing and stuff already? Stay tuned.
. . . . . To be continued. These posts may last as long as the movies!