Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Southern Dictionary?

Somehow I stumbled across an English poet on the interwebs. His name is Ian McMillan. He’s from Yorkshire, a small area of England, and like many parts of the U.K. it has a unique set of words and in some cases unique grammar. It read as if he was part of a dictionary project that compiled these many words, phrases and grammar usage that are as much a part of Yorkshire as the topography itself. And it wasn’t like these “Talk like a Southerner” books which are as much factual as they are satirical, it was a serious and scholarly project.

It makes me wonder if someone has done that with the Southern United States yet. We could have general Southern words then separate others by state, region, sub-region and communities. Is this something I’m looking to take on as a serious project? Probably not. But I would be very interested in helping one along.

It could be like Wikipedia or the Urban Dictionary and could be moderated by trained/approved volunteers. The concept intrigues me. What do you think?

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Who can be Southern?

Wade posted this article [] a while ago and I thought I’d comment on it a bit.

The article states:

“Southerners were parochial, had Southern accents, drank sweet tea for breakfast, got married 15 minutes after college graduation and named their kids Hunter and Caitlin. (She didn't mean rednecks, but the kind of educated types she was in a sorority with.)”

And while many Southerners do all of the things mentioned they also say that you have to hate Democrats, be Ultra-Christian, Conservative, hunt and own guns to be Southern. I just don’t buy it. I define myself as Southern, and not just “ethnically Southern” as the article states.

I don’t think you need another Southerner to define you as Southern like some nation looking for legitimacy. I believe if you believe you are a Southerner then you are one. I think that Southerners have an inherent D.I.Y. attitude that a lot of the geek culture has. It may mean something different, but it is there. Making their own wine. Raising their own food or trying to buy local all seem to be Southern qualities. Being nice and pleasant to be around and making others feel comfortable are also Southern qualities.

I’m in no place to argue one’s Southerness or to bestow the title on someone. If that were the case I’d revoke many a Southern I.D. card from those in what I consider uppity neighborhoods since many have bland city accents, are rude and not pleasant to be around, and have people that cut their yards or agree to be in a neighborhood that tells you whether or not you can park your cousin’s pontoon boat beside your house while his roof is repaired from the storm damage.

As many of you know, I’m not as Southern as I seem to be. I’ve never gone hunting. I prefer A/C to outdoors activities. I go swimming more often in a pool than the lake or ocean. I’ve never raised a successful garden. I don’t work well with my hands nor can I fix many things.

But do any of those things cheapen my Southernhood? I don’t think so. I could acquire new skills and learn to love the outdoors more but that doesn’t make me more Southern, does it? I think Southernhood is a state of mind. If you get to the South or grow up here and you want more than anything to get out then you aren’t a Southerner. You may be labeled that in New York but you and I both know you don’t feel like one and so you aren’t. We still love you but if you don’t want to be here we don’t want you here either.

Special thanks to Wade Kwon for this post. Without him tweeting the article I wouldn’t have made this post.

Your thoughts are always welcome in the comments.

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Review of ABC's Nashville

NOTE: I should have posted this weeks ago...

 So I really didn't know if this show was gonna be awesome or just a bunch of hype. Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton are both well known so I was worried they were just stacking the cast in order to get fans of Heroes and Friday Night Lights to watch. Before the opening credits finished rolling I noticed that Rayna's daughters looked very familiar...then realized they were real life sisters and YouTube sensations Lennon and Maisy. [They currently follow me on Twitter...just sayin']

So yeah. They had me. Then I saw T-Bone Burnett is the music guru on the show and I was sold 5 minutes into the show. At first I thought these songs might have been contrived for TV as so many more are but I researched my favorite song of the pilot "If I didn't know better" and realized native Alabamian and half of the Civil Wars, John Paul White was a co-writer. Sold again and I'm still hooked

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