Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red light? What red light?

In the South, even the urban South, traffic lights are routinely ignored on weekends and at night. I've heard friends complain angrily about being ticketed for running lights on weekends. "It was a Saturday!" they say.

It shouldn't be surprising, I guess, in a culture that has a long history of hanging on to stupid traditions. (Slavery. Jim Crow. Lynyrd Skynyrd.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

We're All Heroes

Only in the American South do they empty stores of bottled water and canned goods whenever there's rumor of snow. And only do southern newspapers consider anyone who's had to dig his car out of a snowdrift to be a "survivor." But perhaps better "survivor" than "hero." At least you still have to join the armed forces or have your jet blown out of the sky to become a hero.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Keeping the Covenant

In this upscale Dunwoody (Atlanta) neighborhood, covenants ban pickup trucks, Peterbilts, drag racers, farm wagons, and horse trailers. And the neighborhood association is very active in enforcement. But friends of your correspondent decided to see if a paint job on a horse trailer might prompt an exception. Sure enough, the busy little bourgeois housewives charged with enforcement have not yet found it in themselves to ask for its removal.
In our next experiment we airbrush a portrait of Jesus on the side of monster truck...

Friday, December 4, 2009


Southerners have a unique view of the role of religion in public life. Most are devoutly religious, or pretend to be. A frightening number are opposed to the separation of church and state.

And while you might expect people who are so devout to be pious and humble, quite the opposite is generally true. Many Southerners have a real sense of superiority when it comes to their religious beliefs. Many Southern Baptists believe non-Christians are incapable of exercising moral judgment.

A police officer was killed in the line of duty here recently, and the chief announced it was a tragic loss "because he was from a Christian family." As if the officer's death would have been less tragic had he been Jewish.

A woman whose infant died in a hospital here told the news media that her child's death was such a sad event that "even people who aren't Christians were crying."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Southern Trash

The South is blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. So why do Southerners so love to throw trash from moving vehicles?

Rural intersections, in particular, often look like the scene of a garbage truck explosion. And cliffs seem to be an invitation to dump old appliances.