Meeting more RJers (and new blog post)

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    Apr 07, 2012 3:23 PM GMT
    The walk continues. I've made it to New Orleans, where I'm staying with RJer gumbosolo. Last week I was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at the home of sixxpack and SthrnStud, who were great hosts, incredibly gracious.

    Anyway, here's my latest blog post. You'll find my blog at www.walklikeanamerican.com, but I also usually copy my posts and share them here, at the request of some fellow RJers.


    Summer Teeth

    I was introduced this week to the concept of “summer teeth”: sum’er here, sum’er there; sum’er this way, sum’er that way. You’ll find several examples of summer teeth in this clip from HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

    I first watched that video when I was in Alabama. Now I’m in Mississippi, where the footage was filmed. Maher claims that the filmmaker “cut out 20 people who also did not have teeth.” He says they had to edit the footage so that it didn’t look like everyone was missing teeth. That’s probably the case—I’m sure a lot of the people they talked to had suffered from a severe case of summertime in the mouth. But I don’t buy the claim that they didn’t seek these folks out.

    You find what you look for, and the Real Time team was looking for rednecks who vote Republican and hate Obama. It’s TV, it’s entertainment, and it’s a misrepresentation of what people here actually look like. In five months in the Deep South, I have definitely seen people with crooked teeth, but they have been few and far between. The vast majority of southerners—yes, even Republican, anti-Obama southerners—have good teeth.

    Now I should probably admit that I have approached my journey with optimism, seeking the good in people and in this country. So maybe that is why I’ve found what I’ve found. But I have no use for rose-colored glasses, and I’m still very much an outsider here. I’ve met people who look askance at me because of my accent, and people who do it because I come from New York. I’m not blind, and I don’t shy away from pointing out problems when I see them. Summer teeth, I assure you, are not as widespread a problem as the stereotype would have you believe.

    One of the biggest lessons I’m learning is that, as diverse as our country is, this diversity is fairly homogeneous. What I mean by that is that every region of this country is diverse in similar ways. That diversity includes uneducated “rednecks,” and let’s be honest—they, too, are everywhere.

    A trip I took to Long Island a couple of years ago comes to mind. I was flying to Wisconsin to visit my sister, and I got a cheap flight out of the Islip airport. I took the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma, and then I had to take a cab from the train to the airport. And let me tell you, my cabbie’s teeth that day were as summery as summer gets.

    ------
    Constantino Diaz-Duran is a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University. He is exploring what it means to be an American in the 21st century, walking from his home in New York City, to Los Angeles. Follow his progress on Facebook and Twitter.
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:13 PM GMT
    www.walklikeanamerican.com icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:16 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said
    The biggest stereotypes about the South: bible-thumping, reactionary, ignorant, violent, racist, obese.


    Sounds more like Orange County California, to me.
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH saidThe biggest stereotypes about the South: bible-thumping, reactionary, ignorant, violent, racist, obese.


    So....you've already met my family? icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:20 PM GMT
    Once again, this is a very cool post from a very cool person!
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:24 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said

    The biggest stereotypes about the South: bible-thumping, reactionary, ignorant, violent, racist, obese.


    Yep. I have lived in the South my whole life, and it has its good and its bad. There are people with these stereotypes, and there are people that aren't.

    It is funny that you mention that clip from Real Time with Bill Maher because I have always joked that it is funny that for so many people to be from New York on t.v. yet they are never subjected to New York stereotypes. Take Friends or Will and Grace for example.
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:29 PM GMT
    TroyAthlete said
    JPtheBITCH saidThe biggest stereotypes about the South: bible-thumping, reactionary, ignorant, violent, racist, obese.
    Sounds more like Orange County California, to me.
    Really? What part of OC are you referring to? Because North OC is fairly diverse. South OC is where the affluent people live. Class snobs, yes. Racist bible thumpers, no.

    Also I heard South OC has a fairly large swinger scene. icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:38 PM GMT
    xrichx said
    TroyAthlete said
    JPtheBITCH saidThe biggest stereotypes about the South: bible-thumping, reactionary, ignorant, violent, racist, obese.
    Sounds more like Orange County California, to me.
    Really? What part of OC are you referring to? Because North OC is fairly diverse. South OC is where the affluent people live. Class snobs, yes. Racist bible thumpers, no.

    Also I heard South OC has a fairly large swinger scene. icon_lol.gif


    Diverse? Yes. Affluent? Yes.

    Does this preclude them from being racist? No.
    Does this preclude them from being mega-church attending Bible thumpers? No.

    I went to USC with these people. The only difference between bible-thumping OC racists is than unlike good Southern rednecks I grew up with, they don't even realize how racist they are. Gimme a harmless boiled-peanut-eating Georgia bigot any day over the curb stomping Edward-Norton-in-American History-X types all over the OC.
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    Apr 07, 2012 7:42 PM GMT
    TroyAthlete said
    Diverse? Yes. Affluent? Yes.

    Does this preclude them from being racist? No.
    Does this preclude them from being mega-church attending Bible thumpers? No.

    I went to USC with these people. The only difference between bible-thumping OC racists is than unlike good Southern rednecks I grew up with, they don't even realize how racist they are. Gimme a harmless boiled-peanut-eating Georgia bigot any day over the curb stomping Edward-Norton-in-American History-X types all over the OC.
    Oh.. You're referring to Huntington Beach.
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    Apr 07, 2012 8:44 PM GMT
    xrichx said
    TroyAthlete said
    Diverse? Yes. Affluent? Yes.

    Does this preclude them from being racist? No.
    Does this preclude them from being mega-church attending Bible thumpers? No.

    I went to USC with these people. The only difference between bible-thumping OC racists is than unlike good Southern rednecks I grew up with, they don't even realize how racist they are. Gimme a harmless boiled-peanut-eating Georgia bigot any day over the curb stomping Edward-Norton-in-American History-X types all over the OC.
    Oh.. You're referring to Huntington Beach.


    Yes, but don't absolve the cocktail-swilling, wait-was-that-racist, Newport douchebags-r-us types either.

    Disclaimer: I love my fratacular Newport friends, warts and all.