I have no headline for this, and I am pretty good at writing headlines. So there! :-)

Gimme a second and let me figure out where it starts.

People make all kinds of claims about Southern Culture. Most of those people don’t actually know what they are a talking about. The only way to know a culture is to live in it. Internalize it. So today I will try and give you a walk in my shoes.

What if you missed the Civil Rights Movement by a few short years, and you began your life thinking it was all over. Settled. Done? Because apparently everyone was now equal and we we done with all that fighting??

What if you grew up, at least at the beginning, in a household which taught you to not say the N-Word in public, but it was ok to use that word from time to time where only White People could hear?

That whole chain of logic is strange to me to this day. I wasn’t taught to not use it because it’s offensive, hurtful, and a symbol of a system of slavery which was still almost a living memory on the day I was born. I was taught not to use it because it would harm me more than help me. It was a lesson in calculated decisions.

I opened my eyes and said “Hello” to this big, beautiful world for the first time in the early 1970s if that helps. I had no idea what the fuck I was in for. I was born in Mobile, which is in Alabama, which is in the United States, which is in the Northern Hemisphere of this one planet . . . etc.

How’s that for a prologue?

Now, I don’t want to write or share the next part of this, but I am doing it anyway. And don’t applaud me until you see if there is even a next post.

The racism, sexism, ( and more and more these days) militaristic nationalism . . . They trouble me.

One of the reasons I have such a hard time just writing this shit and throwing it out there is that it’s hard to look at, and it’s even harder to acknowledge that it’s real.

But it’s real. Talking about it is better than giving it a pass, because talking about it robs it of a little bit of its power.

Know that I am on your side.

Just don’t be looking for another post from me tomorrow. These things take a long time to write. Not because I’m short on words. What I am short on, these days, is courage.

If I take this up again. I will have more to say about emotional and financial manipulation, with a heapin’ helpin’ of religious fundamentalism thrown in to, you know, save my soul.

I remember when The Christian Coalition took over the little churches and weaponized them in the service of the Reaganites. I lived through the AIDS crisis, as a child, and I am not done burying people who were older than me and were damaged by it more than me because they had a more full understanding of what was happening there.

I am not done.

These words are hard to come by these days, though. Composition time is hard to come by. But I think I have more to say.

Hello, gloves. Enjoy being on my hands for the next little while. I will take you off soon.j

Don’t go mouthing off about Southern Culture on account of things you learned about it on the teevee. Don’t give it a pass, either.

This situation is way more complicated than that.

That is all.

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Here I Go Again.

I am back to blogging for the next little while. In the early stages of laying out a project that I think will run 8-10 posts, but they’ll be laborious to write and keep to a reasonable length. I plan to finish two of them and then start publishing them weekly once I have a good start on the third.

Original photo of the flag of Mississippi, USA, taken by the author of the post years ago to illustrate an essay in which he argued that the confederate symbol should be replaced in favor of something more inclusive.
The objectionable symbol everyone is angry about appears in the top left corner. (Photo by me taken at a moment when Mississippians were all at one another’s throats about the flag. Original caption included because #context.)

Far as the topic goes. It will be an exploration of my own lived experience. It will also be an examination of the particular combination of meanness and hypocrisy that is southern conservative culture. Hopefully I’ll be able to connect both my own experience and the regional political culture to some things that are going on in the country at large right now and have been for a while.

Difficult to write, hard to let go of, uncomfortable to publish. Bound to make some folks unhappy if they read it. Absolutely necessary for me to do at this moment, whether anyone reads it or not.

Before I begin I’ma say this once, and then point back to paragraphs four through six of this post if it comes up again. I am fully aware that neither southerners nor white people have a monopoly on intolerance in this country. And also that I am quite a privileged dude, being white and male and (mostly) able to afford to keep utilities on for myself and those who depend on me for those necessities.

I will also note that if the people who depend on me for the roof and power did not find ways to buy groceries and school supplies, I’d not be able to keep all the utilities on and still buy fuel to get to work. I’m a mature, well-educated person who has never moved further away from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi than San Antonio. That little adventure only lasted about ten months.

I know where the Christian Coalition was born and I understand how it spread. I lived though it. I’ve paid my dues to the point that if criticizing one’s own culture were a privilege in this great country of ours instead of a right, I’d be privileged that way, too.

So I’ve got shit to say all summer long on this here blog, and I give absolutely zero fucks what anyone thinks about it. If you’re just checking in here because I landed in your feed for the first time since 2016 and you’re like “OH. That guy! I was fond of him! What’s he up to now?” But you have a problem with a sober, honest, angry, unequivocally negative critique of southern, conservative (and by extension bigoted, mean-spirited, self-dealing and short-sighted) political culture . . .

. . . your safest course is to get the hell out and not come back until you see a headline at the top of the page which clearly indicates I’m done with this and have lowered the intensity back into the normal range. No hard feelings & no disrespect to you personally intended. Scout’s honor.

If you’re interested this content, or if you’re disinterested but genuinely glad I’m back because you missed me, you should comment on this post and let me know. Comments will be disabled before I post here again.

Done.

Weekend Coffee Share: I’m Still Alive!

Video

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the last two weeks just flew by and I’ve barely had time to think about this blog. Weekend before last, we went to Little Jedi’s birthday party and a good time was had by all. Sadly, we all picked up a nasty bug at the arcade, and I spent half of the following week flat on my back in bed.

I did manage to publish a substantial post on gaming with children at Comparative Geeks this week, but otherwise, not much blogging from me in the last couple of weeks. Part of that’s because being down for most of a week left me a backlog at work to dig myself out of. Part of it’s because so much political stuff is happening, I’m spending a lot more time than normal reading and chattering on Facebook.

I’m not getting into the politics in the coffee post today, but I’ll have a lot to say about it in the coming few weeks. Although I’m eager to see what happens in the looming New York primaries, I’m not just looking at the elections at this point. I’m looking at a series of state laws targeting primarily LGBTQ+ people conservatives are pushing across the south and beyond. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the scope of the thing and figure out how to approach it at this point, but I’ll have a post about it soon.

And I’d tell you I may be scarce on the coffee share for the next couple of weeks. I’m giving the political stuff priority for the next little while, and I have offline commitments both next weekend and the week after. Since half my friends are tied up with the A to Z Challenge through the end of the month, I suppose it’s not a bad time to take a couple of weekends off.

newcoffee

My schedule should ease up a bit around mid-May, and I should be around more in the summer than I’ve been since this time last year, so we have that to look forward to.

Happy Weekend! Don’t forget to add your coffee share link to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Facebook and Twitter.

And now I am off to teach my grandson how to play Jenga.