// archives

The South

This category contains 66 posts

The Bayou of Madness, Pt. II.

“Much has been made of the connections between True Detective and the cosmic-horror tradition…and rightly so. But what’s largely been missed is that the cosmic-horror genre — rooted, as it is, in humankind’s subprime position in the pecking order of the universe — is deeply entwined with the character of Louisiana’s physical and cultural landscape.”

In Slate, Adrian Van Young delineates True Detective — and Lovecraft’s — debt to Louisiana, one of the cultural crossroads and borderlands where shadows linger and tricksters thrive. “Lost cities, liminal realms, and cosmic fear come more or less naturally to Louisiana…The chief-most horrors of the show are not voodoo curses or tentacled monsters or consciousness-destroying plays, but environmental slippage, religious perversion, badly mangled family trees. True Detective wears the cosmic-horror genre and its lineage, in other words, not unlike the Mardi Gras masks being worn today all over its native state. The mask is scary, sure enough, but what’s underneath can be even more frightening: one place in the U.S. where anything, it seems, can happen.'”

Also, for a more prosaic take on HBO’s current hit, see the credits for Law & Order: True Detective, below.

Back in the River City.


Lincoln’s visit to Richmond produced the most unforgettable scenes of this unforgettable war. With an escort of only ten sailors, the president walked the streets while Porter [Admiral David D. Porter, actually one of my ancestors] peered nervously at every window for would-be assassins.” 146 years after a visit from the sixteenth president, and several weeks after Daniel Day Lewis was spotted as casual Lincoln in a Richmond restaurant, the actor is photographed in full Lincoln garb by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Uncanny.

Endgame.


To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.” Also from last week, R.E.M. hangs it up after 31 years (notwithstanding a greatest hits album, to be released in November.)

The official site has been keeping up with the various encomiums and remembrances on the web. For my part, here’s the list of my 50 favorite R.E.M. songs that I posted in 2005, along with the R.E.M. archives and reviews of Around the Sun and Accelerate. To be honest, I feel like the band has been flirting with U2-covering-themselves territory on the last two albums, but, as a whole, I’ll stand up for their often-maligned later work — Up in particular.

Growing up in the South in the 80’s and 90’s, R.E.M. was ubiquitous. I remember Life’s Rich Pageant accompanying elementary school hayrides, everyone wearing their “Turn You Inside Out” concert tees to school in 8th grade, and crooning “Losing My Religion” with what passed for my high-school band at GSSM. To many of us down in “South Carolina-ravaged South Carolina,” they — and the nearby Athens, Georgia scene — represented a smart, cosmopolitan, and activist left that was still distinctively rooted in the South. Basically, they proved that being southern and being progressive were by no means mutually exclusive.

When I got to college, R.E.M. let their hair down, shook off the earnest stylings of Out of Time and Automatic for the People and decided to release a Monster. It, along with the Beastie’s Ill Communication, are basically the reasons I spent my early sophomore year shorn. (This was taken a few months later.)

And in November of 2004, a few days after Dubya was re-elected, I caught REM as the Garden, where, for the first and only time, they opened with “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” It summed up the moment, precisely.

So, RIP guys, and thanks for the memories and all the songs. Given the sad occasion, here, once again, is arguably their saddest and best.

The fields are under lock and key.


After enactment of House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia…The resulting manpower shortage has forced state farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.

As the AJC’s Jay Bookman puts it, “it might almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad.” In Georgia, indulging in xenophobia has backfired mightily for Nathan Deal, the state’s Republican governor, who is now desperately trying to get probationers to fill the agricultural labor gap his draconian anti-immigrant bill has created.

The pain this is causing is real. People are going to lose their crops, and in some cases their farms. The small-town businesses that supply those farms with goods and services are going to suffer as well. For economically embattled rural Georgia, this could be a major blow.” And sadly, when it comes to deep, self-inflicted, and totally unnecessary economic wounds wrought by Republican idiocy, the Peach State here is just the canary in the coalmine.

Move over, Clint.


‘He followed us through the gate and ran over and found Suryia. As soon as he saw Roscoe, Suryia ran over to him and they started playing. ‘Dogs are usually scared of primates, but they took to each other straight away. We made a few calls to see if he belonged to anyone and when no one came forward, Roscoe ended up staying.‘”

As a mental health break of sorts, the Daily Mail catches up with an orangutan and bluetick hound who’ve become best buds back home in South Carolina. And for those parents already bored with Go the F**k to Sleep, the pals, a la Owen and Mzee, “have released a picture book capturing their unorthodox friendship.

Song of the South.

Here was the Delta Republicans’ historic task: negotiating terms of surrender to the Constitution, then reframing that Lost Cause as honorable, the better to preserve their insular plutocracy — perhaps their gravest sin in the first place — in order to integrate themselves more snugly into national and international circuits of corrupt wealth. Haley Barbour, who received his first Republican patronage job in 1970, is a true son of this confederacy.

In the wake of Haley Barbour’s highly dubious misremembering of civil-rights era Mississippi, historian Rick Perlstein skewers the GOP poobah and presidential hopeful to the wall. “At every important turn in the story, Barbour emphasizes how little he remembers of this most intense period imaginable in his beloved home town — it really was no big deal, he insists…He’s a middle-aged Southern conservative. That is what his job is: to opportunistically ‘forget.‘”

Stampp of Excellence.

“‘He was really a pioneer, demolishing the magnolia and mint juleps view of slavery,” said Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia. ‘And the Reconstruction book was in the same revisionist mode, sweeping away myths. Among serious history scholars, nobody is going to go back before Stampp.’Kenneth Stampp, 1912-2009. (By way of Ted.)

Palmetto Low.

So, the big political story of the week: the strange disappearance and eventual mea culpa of my home state governor. As I said here, I try to avoid posting on sex scandals as much as possible — In a perfect world, all of this private behavior would be off the table for both parties. Still, regarding this imbroglio, my feeling about his press conference yesterday was very akin to Gary Kamiya’s at Salon: “[T]his was not another blow-dried, prefab confession. It was unscripted. It was so intimate it was almost unwatchable.

Now, I disagree with Gov. Sanford quite a bit politically, obviously. I was impressed by his op-ed on Obama during the SC primary last year, but he lost a lot of goodwill with me with his grandstanding on stimulus funds a few months ago. Regardless, whatever the moral hypocrisy and dereliction of duty involved in this case, it’s just sad to see a guy so obviously lost in the wilderness of amour fou. For whatever reason, he didn’t have the usual politician’s armor on at all yesterday, and it was painful to watch somebody writhing on the horns of a dilemma of the heart so publicly. He screwed up, big time, and his behavior is indefensible on several levels. Still, I have to admit, I sorta feel for the guy. (And, while I think John Dickerson’s recent hectoring in Slate was a bit much — particularly since he usually revels in the manufactured controversies and studied glibness that characterize so much useless political coverage these days — to my mind nobody deserves the godawful nightmare of having one’s mash notes published for all to see. That’s just a special kind of Hell.)

Mirror to America.

“More than 60 years ago, I began the task of trying to write a new kind of Southern History. It would be broad in its reach, tolerant in its judgments of Southerners, and comprehensive in its inclusion of everyone who lived in the region,’ he wrote….’Looking back, I can plead guilty of having provided only a sketch of the work I laid out for myself.‘” John Hope Franklin, 1915-2009. “I think knowing one’s history leads one to act in a more enlightened fashion. I can not imagine how knowing one’s history would not urge one to be an activist.”

Omsbudsdog Emeritus

Recent Tweets

Photos on flickr

Instagram

  • A very happy 17th bday to my man Berkeley. Three years gone but still in our hearts. http://www.ghostinthemachine.net/berkday-17/
  • Murf feels terrible about what happened in Sweden but would still like some chips. #springinfebruary #nowwecanswimanydayinnovember

Follow Me!

Pinterested

Follow Me on Pinterest 
My Pinterest Badge by: Jafaloo. For Support visit: My Pinterest Badge

Visions



The Lobster (7.5/10)

Currently Reading


Chain of Title, David Dayen

Recently Read

The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt

Uphill All the Way

Syndicate this site:
RSS 1.0 | Atom (2.0)

Unless otherwise specified, the opinions expressed here are those of the author (me), and me alone.

All header images intended as homage. Please contact me if you want one taken down.

GitM is and has always been ad-free. Tips are appreciated if the feeling strikes.

Archives