Sunday, September 18, 2011

The American South: Don't You Mean the Middle East of the USA?

The New York Times puzzles with its juxtapositions... Today, the Sunday Review section profiles Andre Leon Talley (above left), fashionista, formerly of gentil black poverty, Durham, N.C., now portly and courtly of Westchester County, NY.

Then below, or rather... SOUTH... of the fold, another story, about the Dixification of reality TV (I never watch TV, so bear with my clumsy critique). Apparently, there are a lot of reality TV shows at the moment which are using the American South, Dixieland, as their location -- including the Dukes of Hazzard (above right) -- is that a reality TV show? Something seems wrong with the universe if that is the case.

The American South bothers me, ever since I first understood it to mean not really the South, but somewhere that approximates with the United States' Middle East. The South of America, surely, geographically, is... is places like Florida, Texas, California, given that they are closest to Central and South America.

Obviously that's not the only thing that bothers me about the So-called South. I guess the juxtaposition of Mr. Talley and those Dixie TV shows made me think that the Times is subliminally letting (gay) black people know that the underground railroad is still open, while somehow mollifying redneck white Southerners... Or something.

UPDATE: a friend of mine rolled his eyes at my mention of Mr. Talley, and I said that I'd never heard of him before I read today's article. "If you met him today and told him that you've never heard of him before, he'd probably collapse on the ground with convulsions," he said. 

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the New York Times, Monday, September 26th, 2011 -- The once-booming South, which entered the recession with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, is now struggling with some of the highest rates, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

Several Southern states — including South Carolina, whose 11.1 percent unemployment rate is the fourth highest in the nation — have higher unemployment rates than they did a year ago. Unemployment in the South is now higher than it is in the Northeast and the Midwest, which include Rust Belt states that were struggling even before the recession.