_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, October 26, 2012

Guns and Butter. Also, Nazis!

Jim is currently lost somewhere in the Panhandle of Florida.  It’s 90 degrees and the sun is blazing. He has been repeatedly informed that it’s “winter” here and that his shorts and T-shirt and unending references to sweat-soaked heatstroke are offending the sensibilities of the shivering natives who shuffle about bundled up like Nepalese Sherpas  on the snowy flanks of Mount Everest.  


 

I am indeed a stranger in a strange land.

As I mentioned previously here and on various social networking sites, I’m travelling for the next few weeks and observing the human condition from this altered perspective.

At the moment, I'm deep in the deepest of the Deep South, lost somewhere in the moldering alligator infested swamps of the Florida Panhandle, teetering on the line between feverish reality and Alabama.

This is a place where they grow cotton and peanuts and rich golden fields of raging xenophobic paranoia.  People hereabouts know Jesus personally and have him over for dinner on a regular basis.  Imminent invasion by Red Communists is entirely possible and could happen at any time, though I suspect that any such intrusion would be rapidly stymied by large loud women in very tight pants waving cigarettes around like florid Jedi slashing about with light-sabers, the preponderance of giant flying cockroaches (them’s palmetto bugs, Sugar!), and this area’s secret weapon, “bolled” peanuts – which, if I was forced to speculate on the flavor of Satan’s fromunda cheese, I would use as a reference taste note.

They don’t take to strangers or Yankees or Alaskans, whom they view with the same distrust and suspicion as the aforementioned red communist horde.

The people hereabouts don’t seem much bothered by the strange and perplexing cognitive dissonance of life in the Panhandle.

For example:

My wife sent me to the gas station to pick up a newspaper for my father in law.

The store was a tiny ramshackle affair slowly decaying beneath a massive load of moss and vines. It was surrounded by the jetsam of decades, not quite a junkyard and not quite anything else either. There was a snarling three-legged red-boned hound on the sagging porch and a woman of indeterminate age and pedigree behind the cluttered counter.  She looked at me, a stranger and obvious outsider, suspiciously but called me “sweetie” anyway – which as I learned later, means absolutely nothing, she calls everybody sweetie and would have addressed me as such even if she decided to put me down with the shotgun she keeps under the counter. 

On the customer side of the counter was, well, a cliché.

He was in his 70's or so, grizzled and worn and none too clean.  Rough woolen pants and a shirt the color of dirt and sweat that was likely made during the Eisenhower administration hung on him like wash on a line. He sported a pair of suspenders and knee-high well-worn leather boots. His ragged gray beard snaked below his waist and a shapeless floppy leather hat that looked like it might have been stitched together from various road-killed varmints perched forlornly on his head – least I be accused of stereotyping the prototypical Panhandle denizen, note that if you replaced the sun cured tobacco in his roll-your-own cigarette with greenhouse grown weed, he’d be indistinguishable from any of a dozen characters you’re liable to meet on the streets of my own Alaskan town. But I digress.

My entry had obviously interrupted a conversation – probably about the pending invasion by Red Communist Cannibal Death Nazis of Death.

They looked at me. I looked at them. Time passed. I began to suspect they thought I was the vanguard of the coming invasion.

Turns out that the newspapers were kept behind the counter and you have to ask for one.

I did – and then out of reflex, I pulled out my debit card.

Oops.

Now, I eventually paid cash, just to be sociable and to prove I really wasn’t a red communist death Nazi cannibal from the dark side of the moon.  And, funny thing, it turns out they did actually accept Visa, but only after the old guy who looked like a refugee from a ZZ Top concert explained how he doesn't hold with that credit card stuff because "y'all know them gobermin can foller y'all and that Obomer's CIA snoops thru y'all's bidness to fin out whatcher'all doin'."

Despite having travelled in these parts before and knowing better, I cracked wise and replied that if the CIA had nothing better to do than track my reading habits, well, I’d lead them on a merry chase.

I don’t think they were in a joking mood.

After explaining Obama's secret plan to read our minds via the CIA’s newspaper data mining, ZZ Top shuffled out on the porch while I got my change.

When I left, he smiled knowingly and waved like he was swatting at a fly. 

He was talking to somebody on a shiny brand new Android smart phone apparently oblivious to the astounding irony.

Despite the fact that this area is one of the poorest in the nation, awash in poverty and lack of opportunity, they are nearly one and all conservatives (of course, there are exceptions, but they are a lonely few), firmly convinced that their enduring misery would be lifted if there was only more Jesus in the government and the schools and less black people in the White House. 

The less they have, the more firmly they are convinced that the Obama is coming to take it away.

Fox News blares like an air raid siren from nearly every TV in the area, bleating red tinged panic twenty-four hours a day – seriously, I’ve been forced to listen to Fox for a week, the screen flashes continuously in the colors of panic with the word “alert” scrolling across the bottom in an endless loop, the talking heads scream about Obama in a unending flow of hysterical panic, punctuated only by commercials from equally crazed SuperPACs warning about the end of America.  When they don’t have anything else to show, they run footage from Benghazi on a continuous loop filling the screen with flames and smoke and terrorism. If you watch Fox News, you might think that the attack on our embassy in Libya was pretty much the only thing that’s happened in the entire world in the last month, hell, you might be given the impression that it’s happening right now.

I was walking out of the Pace Home Depot and a man in the parking lot was screaming angrily into his phone:

I don’t care if they come in an hour early and leave an hour early! I don’t care if they take a couple of breaks during the day! But you make sure they understand that just because I’m flexible with the work hours I ain’t running no damned liberal shop!

Local business owners complain bitterly about having to “pay for socialism,” i.e. Obamacare, and how they built their own business.

image

The advertising company behind this message specializes in this particular sign. They’re all over the area, each with a different local business owner. What those businesses spend on these signs in a month would pay the ACA tax for their employees’ healthcare insurance for a year (And yes, never mind the fact that President Obama didn’t actually say these people didn’t build their own business, which is readily obvious if you watch his speech in context. But truth means nothing in the face of hysteria and panic). 

They claim they’re going broke because of Obama, but they’ve got the money to waste on signs like this.

Yes, again with the irony.

Speaking of signs, there are plenty of signs filled with dire warnings about Angry Jesus and his imminent return, they sit in yards and church lots next to Romney/Ryan banners, warning of hell and damnation and homosexuals. 

The intersection leading to Whiting Field is papered with posters that say “Keep America Free, Fire Obama!”

On the other hand, the only Obama/Biden signs I saw were stacked in a pile behind the Florida Democratic Party tables at the state fair.  The table was hidden away behind rows of religious booths offering salvation and threatening damnation, behind people hawking insurance and storm windows. The lonely man behind the table seemed grateful for my attention – and the fact that I was from the far north and not a confrontational local come to make obnoxious comments and threats – which I gather happens frequently. When I asked him how business was, he sighed and said that he suspected that those who picked up an Obama sign were mostly putting them in the middle of their neighbor’s yard at night, just to piss people off.

I watched the debate at the Milton, Florida, VFW. 

Or rather I watched the patrons of the bar watching the debate.

Through clouds of cigarette smoke and the miasma of cheep light beer, one thing became apparent: patriotism depends on the size of your American flag lapel pin and the color of your tie.   The bar patrons spent long minutes on both, with some calling Romney’s much larger flag pin proof of his superior patriotism and others seeing it as the sin of Pride. Despite a profound disinterest in anything outside of their tiny little hamlet, the rednecks hollering from the end of the bar were one and all self-declared experts on embassy security, Syria, and how many 1960’s era ships it took to defend America from Vietnam (Answer, a lot, like maybe a bazillion, or a thousand, or five hundred or something).

Funny thing, they hated Obama – that was obvious right from moment I walked in, but they apparently hated Romney just as much.  From the comments, I’d guess they’ll spend election day clustered in same place they were during the debate, drinking and smoking and complaining bitterly about everything. 

See, if they don’t vote they can bitch about the government in equal measure no matter who wins the upcoming election.

What?

Why was I in the Milton VFW in the first place? Well, I’m a member of the National VFW organization and I was meeting some folks and that was a convenient location.

A day later I sat in a local restaurant, the two old gentlemen in the booth behind me were talking desultorily:

Guy 1: You watch the debate?
Guy 2: Naw. But I heard Romney sure put that spade in his place.
Guy 1: I didn’t watch it either, but y’all got to wonder about a president who hates the military like that.
Guy 2: Yaw, he sure hates the United States. They all do you know. They hate this country. They hate us. And I don’t know how we’re supposed to win all the wars without a navy.
Guy 1: I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that. He’s getting’ rid of the navy. We’re gonna be down to maybe fifty ships if that Romney feller don’t win.
Guy 2: I heard Obama didn’t even know we still use bayonets.
Guy 1: And this guy is deciding how many ships we have? Sad. He’s got no respect.
Guy 2: Yay, the Russians will jus walk in here and take over without no navy to stop ‘em. Stupid damned Obama. He don’t know nutin’
Guy 1: Well, sir, I tell you, them Russian ain’t gonna take my land without a fight.
Guy 2: Amen to that, Brother…

I guess the fact that it’s Congress who decides how many ships the navy has escaped these two geniuses. 

The navy asks for a certain number of ships over a certain amount of time, Congress typically funds anywhere from half to two-thirds of that list, and adds in bunch of stuff the Navy neither needs nor wants but makes the voters happy.  It takes years, decades even, to design, purchase, and complete shipbuilding programs.

It’s the same with all large weapons programs, from ships to stealth bombers to tanks.

And as the President said, it’s not the numbers, it’s the capabilities.

A single B-2 bomber today equals hundreds, sometimes thousands, of World War Two B-29s.

A single Arleigh Burke class Aegis Destroyer is equal to an entire squadron of Vietnam era cruisers and destroyers, and then some.

A single platoon of M1A2 Abrams Main Battle tanks with OTHT drone support could have destroyed Patton’s entire 3rd Army before they even knew it was there.

A single soldier today is far, far more effective than an entire World War One platoon.

This isn’t a secret. Anybody who watches The Military Channel would know it. Anybody who paid attention over the last ten years would know.  Anybody with a decent grasp of military technology and knowledgeable advisors would know this.

But that’s the thing with these people. To them it’s not the lead in the pencil, it’s the size of the pencil itself.

If only it were that simple.

 

If it was up to me, I’d load the guns with grapeshot made from Panhandle boiled peanuts.

117 comments:

  1. It was the M1A1 last I looked and I doubt one could take on the entire 3rd Army; don't think it carries enough rounds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing imagery! I felt like I heard, saw, felt and smelled it all ... Do you get to go home soon?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so sorry you were subjected to the vileness that is the boiled peanut. That's one thing visitors to the region aren't usually warned about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guilty admission: I actually like boiled peanuts (the spicy ones). I don't know why...because nearly every neuron in my brain is screaming a terrified denial, but somehow that one renegade neuron has established mastery over my taste buds and determined boiled peanuts to be a messy, nasty, squishy, but somehow tasty, treat.

      Delete
  4. I love this! You are so on point Man! I feel your pain! hang in there, it will all be over soon!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dog! I do Not miss Southern Georgia in any way what-so-ever.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I note the owners of the sign have an ATM services business. Obviously they have no need of any governmental infrastructure whatever!
    Like someone to print the money.

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. or the communications infrastructure that allows their machines to communicate with VISA and Mastercard databases and banking institutions. Or the electronic banking regulations that provide for ATMs in the first place. Or the Federal reserve to back the value of the currency in their machines. Or the National Standards Office to standardize the credit and debit card sizes, formats, and encoded electronic information. Or the Federal Depositors Insurance Company that guarantees the value of money deposited in their machines. Or the roads their service technicians and installers use to get to the ATM locations in the first place. Or the laws and law enforcement personnel who protect their machines. Or... well, yeah, you get the idea.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely, all of that & more! But I couldn't figure out how to include it all in a short, pithy but wickedly pointed statement. (or even in what I actually wrote)

      Plus, it struck me as ironic that I've never heard anybody mention - and maybe I just missed it - actual cash money when they talk about infrastructure. Yet it is a pretty basic governmental function. After all, what is the economy but money, circulating? Even if most of that money does not physically exist?

      Bruce

      Delete
  7. If I had to live in the Florida panhandle, I'm glad it was when I was quite young and unaware of this mindset. I am soooo happy that I no longer live there.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bring back the fairness doctrine! Put a Trotskyist on Fox!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both the Fairness Doctrine AND the Trotskyite would scare the hell out of all of 'em at Fox "News".

      Delete
    2. Well, they've already got a Nazi. Seriously, Karl Rove is the spiting image of Major Toht, the creepy Gestapo guy from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

      Delete
    3. Karl Rove and Porky Pig were separated at birth.

      Delete
  9. As much as I hate the winters in the North, I read this and realize how miserable I'd be in the South. I actually lived in the Upper South for several years and briefly dated a guy from Birmingham, AL. The bigotry and classism that simmer just below the surface in the Deep South both astonished and infuriated me. I hope you are able to escape soon. Keep up the great writing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I see you met some of my cousins and in-laws.

    This is why I literally fled the south (born and raised Fla/Ga) after graduating from UGA. (After a first couple of interesting years at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in good 'ol Tifton, Ga.[Yee - Haw, Gee Back, Get Ahead ABAC!! GO TEAM! - that would be the bull-ridin' team, of course]

    I didn't even wait for the graduation ceremony and my diploma, they mailed it to me later.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jim, please say that you made that conversation between the two old guys entirely from your own imagination. Please. The one where they talked about defending themselves from a Russian invasion.

    I don't want to live in a world where those are conversations that actually occur between real people.

    You made it up, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet no; you can hear the same thing in wasilla, soldotna, any Walmart or random truck stop.

      Lets petition the FCC to pull Faux Gneus' broadcast license for mendacity, treason and poor taste.

      Delete
    2. Oh I can assure you, being a NW FL resident of 18 years...he didn't make it up. I listen to crap like that on a DAILY basis. It's a disease. Why do I stay? Well...sugar white beaches, a beautiful view (I live on the water), moderate weather (sunshine!)and a thriving business that keeps me in flip flops. THAT is the ONLY reason. I try to ignore the hate and bigotry and stupidity. It wears on me at times, and when it does I do what I do.....go sit on the beach for a couple hours and watch the dolphin jump. I bet they're Democrats.

      Delete
    3. {{{{{ToesInTheSand}}}}}
      tcw

      Delete
    4. I actually copied the conversations in the restaurant and the parking lot directly onto my tablet in realtime so that I would get it right. The restaurant conversation went on much longer and I wish I'd gotten it all, but the part quoted above was the only part I managed to take down verbatim. I would have recorded it, but there are laws against that.

      Delete
    5. I may be wrong, but I thought there weren't any laws against recording audio, only laws about whether or not such recordings could be used in court. It is a small point, but worth making...

      Uh oh, gotta back up here. I was wrong. One Party Consent vs Two Party Consent, which I didn't know about. One Party Consent means that the person doing the recording has to consent. Which is like, "Duh, I'm recording, of course I consent." That's what the Feds require, and 34 of the States concur, but there are 16 States, including Florida and my state of Mass (!) which require all of the parties to consent.

      Being an Information Security professional as you are, I'm pretty sure you already know this. I must have thought I was Romney, catching you out with a zinger about the Embassy. I could have been, except that I thought to check before I pressed Enter... Too bad Romney listens to Fox, instead of using the Internet. :)

      Turns out that it's video, specifically without audio, that you can record indiscriminately record without consent, except where there is a higher expectation of privacy, like bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.

      So, something else that you taught me, even if maybe you didn't intend to. Thanks, Chief! :)

      Delete
    6. Wow - I thought that too - "he MUST have made this up" - so, Jim, did you make it up or not?

      Love from Fairbanks, LJK

      Delete
    7. Oops - somehow missed your answer to this - frightening.
      Love from Fairbanks again ~

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry you didn't meet up with my dad in Milton; he would've had your back. But even after fifteen years there's, he's still amazed at the bigotry and narrowness of so much of the population.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "teetering on the line between feverish reality and the fever that is Alabama."

    Fickz'd.


    knittingbull

    PS I really don't believe the South exists anyway, FSM would not be that cruel to us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you might be missing the intent of the original line.

      Delete
    2. Could be, I was in east Texas a couple of times and thought I was in the Twilight Zone. Are you battened down for the rollercoaster coming your way?

      Delete
  14. Try this for fun. Every time you go into one of those little gas stations / convenience stores look for the KKK paper in the magazine rack. Last time I saw them, they were similar to a one page newspaper, folded into quarters. Yep, mind equals blown.

    ReplyDelete
  15. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new South. You know... morons.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Please, the panhandle is not nearly that bad. There are plenty of bars, bar-b-q joints, and churches. Whenever you need cheap entertainment, you can read about the chicanery in the Okaloosa County Sheriffs Office, the Crestview police force, or the Mexico Beach police force.

    Yes, there is a Mexico Beach. Illegal aliens are a hot topic there.

    BTW, if you look, you will see quite a few Palin stickers proudly displayed.

    If you like the boiled peanuts, you will love the grits.

    Danny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just Palin, but W still. Oy, vey.
      Some folks just can't let go,
      but to be fair,
      that's not just a Southern thing, eh?
      tcw

      Delete
    2. Actually, I do love grits. In fact, I'm eating grits right now. And I had cheese grits with my dinner last night at Chet's Seafood in Pace.

      Delete
    3. My grandmother lived in Denison, TX and sent us 10 pound boxes of peanuts from the Texas Peanut Company (a/k/a The Goober Factory). One year she goofed and sent us boiled instead of roasted. Worst. Thing. Ever. More vile than canned peas.

      Delete
  17. Boiled peanuts are just palin ~~oops~~thanks spell-check, just PLAin nasty. Oh, ICK.

    And Santa Rosa County *shaking head in sympathy* well, they keep the ACLU and the teachers' union plenty busy. The things they've done in God's name would make Jesus and the angels weep.

    Early voting in Florida starts Saturday, and Willard RMoney will be at the Pensacola Civic Center, also, too. Not positive about Nazis, but the KKKlan will turn out, no doubt.

    Need some distraction? There's a winery in Defuniak Springs.

    thatcrowwoman
    winter soul in exile on the Gulf of Mexico

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gumbo's on, by the way.
      Come on down.
      Chicken and spicy sausage, DH Happy's finest.
      Call us crazy but we still don't eat Gulf seafood since Deepwater Horizon and the (continuing) COREXIT dump.
      thatcrowwoman

      Delete
    2. But...but...but that nice BP man on TV says that the Gulf is better than ever. The beaches are clean and the seafood is jumping onto the grill. They are commited to America and they paid $23 bil to make it better than before that little oil spill kerfuffle.

      That's a lot of money. With that much money you could pay an army to polish each and every shrimp and oyster clean. And sterilize the beaches and tidal flats of any nasty, smelly bugs, birds and stuff which nobody eats anyway. And all the Better Busyness Burros are promoting safe, clean family recreation on the Gulf.

      So get down with the bottom dwellers, and don't worry your little liberal head over persistent, untested toxins and a million tons of hydrocarbons sneaking around the clean, clean water. Tommy D

      Delete
  18. It is the goal of the rich and powerful, to keep the populous ignorant and distracted from reality. It has worked VERY well in the South. Give them "boll'ed peanuts" and FOX news(?) and this is what they get.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Florida will only get better as the ice caps melt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Problem is, the hicks will then move north. The flood will move too slowly.

      Delete
    2. But Bob, that would force them to EVOLVE like any other Cretaceous lifeform that either learned to swim, move or sink as the waters rose.

      And, because EVOLUTION is just a theory and not real (like the bible and FNC), they will sit there and shout the water away. Tommy D

      Delete
    3. I'm not entirely sure evolution can be counted on in this case. I would suspect that the species in question would successfully resist the forces of adaptation and maintain their little intellectual oxbow in the river of normal human development.

      Delete
    4. It was the war of 'The Northern Aggression" that wiped out the Confederate officer corps which was made up primarily of the 'flower of the South', the Southern Intelligentsia. So the gene pool was literally mentally handicapped and we are seeing the result of this genetic manipulation today. However, having spent 40 years outside of the Big Apple and the last 20 in the Gateway of The South (Jacksonville, FL) I can assure you that by taking that same conversation, interjecting every variation of the word 'fuck' for every 2nd or 3rd word, you could have just have easily been at some greasy spoon within 50 yds of the George Washington Bridge. And yes, boiled peanuts are an acquired taste (they're gross!).

      Delete
    5. I kind of take exception to that. My gg-grandfather was a Wire-Grass farmer, killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864...his genetic legacy is quite intelligent, liberal, and educated. Not to mention the fact that I've run into just as ignorant and bigoted folk in the north at Jim describes here. Granted, there aren't nigh as many of them and because of the cold, they don't seem to breed as fast...

      Delete
    6. I kind of take exception to that. My gg-grandfather was a Wire-Grass farmer, killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864...his genetic legacy is quite intelligent, liberal, and educated. Not to mention the fact that I've run into just as ignorant and bigoted folk in the north at Jim describes here. Granted, there aren't nigh as many of them and because of the cold, they don't seem to breed as fast...

      Delete
    7. Anonymous: Dangerous waters, there. Equating land ownership with intelligence is awfully close to the same reasoning used to declare a certain group of non-landowners as slaves and confer rights over another group of non-landowners to their husbands.

      Delete
    8. The War of the Rebellion did not eliminate Southern intelligence - or Southern manners. Longstreet's Georgia Scenes were long before that.

      Delete
  20. OH THE HUMANITY! And here I thought Wasilla was bad. Thanks for making me realize things really could be a LOT worse.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I feel your pain, Jim, believe me. I lived 8 years there in the Panhandle of Florida, specifically where you are in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. And having grown up in the South, you might have thought that racism and hate would have finally died out, but nope, it's very much alive and well in that area of the country, having been revitalized courtesy of the election of President Obama.

    I'm talking serious hate here, from signs on billboards and along the roads to bumper stickers to supposed co-workers with their anti-Obama wallpapers on their computer screens (never mind the fact that HR said such was not allowed and created a hostile work environment, that was the idea in mind). Pure unadulterated hostility made evident just in their posture.

    Me? I'm glad I'm out of Southern Alabama.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Stationed in the South in the early 80's, went back for more training in the mid 90's, and even spent a short time in FL on military business in the late 90's. The attitude about my melanin enhanced coworkers was basically the same each time. Hate and bigotry will not die out there - and if it ever does, they will stuff it and mount it to show everyone that it is still around.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Way back machine, anyone?
    Friday night in Florabama, singing along with feeling.
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    Leon Russell and The Shelter People, of course
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjy7RAu8TJ4

    L'Shalom y'all,
    thatcrowwoman

    ReplyDelete
  24. And they just don't know how much Mitt Romney despises them - probably more than he despises "that one" and other people of color.

    It truly does make me cry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit it. Mitt probably does despise them more because as he said--- just being born in America means you have 90% of your life on track--which in itself is of course moronic. But I would guess he'd have a low opinion of these people because he just doesn't understand why they can't borrow 20 grand from the folks and get a better life. They are white for Pete's sake (said in obnoxious Mittbott voice).

      Delete
  25. Jim,
    Please tell me you made up most of those quotes. Please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see someone above already hoped it was fiction.

      Delete
    2. As noted above, the quotes are verbatim.

      Delete
  26. one of our supercarriers VS the entire 1916 USN. I'd call win on the carrier. I got it. TY for your musings, Sir

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Anybody who paid attention over the last ten years would know."

    I grew up in a place a lot like that, and got the hell out as soon as I was old enough, but living amongst folks like that for 18 years convinced me that in fact they expend a large amount of their life's energy mentally walling out the facts. It takes real effort to remain that ignorant. Hence the fact that they are constantly geeing each other up the way Jim describes: it's like a cult that has to spend a huge amount of its collective time making sure none of the minions are slipping away, or thinking for themselves, or reading the wrong stuff, or anything much for that matter.

    Similarly it takes far more effort to be a Chritsianist than it does to be a Christian. Or to simply get on with life without a Skyfather. Hate & fear & loathing require work. Hard work. So, in these days of information flood, does ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous at 27 Oct 1:42AM,
      I would have agreed with you up until a few years ago. Not so much any more, since the segmentation of news into neo-conservative, centrist, and, well, slightly-left-centrist liberal. There is practically no real left wing in the U.S. as compared with Europe. In any event, people no longer have to work hard to block out what they do not want to hear. They just selectively turn on Fox News Corp., Beck, Limbaugh. Sure, older people have been trained to tune out the rest of the entire corporate media as liburl lamestream, but since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, they can immerse themselves in slanted right propaganda and lies 24 hours a day with little personal effort. Granted, there is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance required to push away reality, but the education system in the South is the worst in the country. Teachers and school boards are deliberately and with malice aforethought raising up a generation of children from birth with a total absence of critical thinking skills. (See the 2012 Texas Republican platform. It's in there.) Many younger people don't know that there is a whole world of reality and facts out there that does not mesh with their upbringing. It is like a pyramid scheme that *looks* self-sustaining... up until the point it comes crashing down. Actually, not "like". In 2007-8, the neo-conservative borrow-and-spend, deregulation and tax cuts economy *did* come crashing down in the U.S. and dragged the rest of the world economy with it. Unfortunately, when the federal government propped it back up again with borrowed money (like reviving a critical patient in ICU with adrenalin), the GOP blocked almost all efforts to actually make reforms. The Consumer Protection Bureau was held up for months, and is a shadow of what it could have been with real regulation and enforcement provisions. Another severe shock will bring down the patient, if we continue down the path of tax cuts, which concentrates wealth at the top, and defense spending, which moves money into the economy 3-14x less effectively than infrastructure and social and research spending. The "death tax" and "job creation" lies benefit 1-3% of the country at the expense of the rest, but Fox News propaganda covers it up. Never ending tax cuts and defense spending are the pyramid scheme. The declining GOP/Tea electorate don't see it as a scam benefiting the wealthy. They've trained themselves to focus on one or a few social issues that the rich don't really give a shit about, but it helps the GOP leaders and power brokers get their way and protects & builds their money, so they will keep funding propaganda and lobbyist industries until they have extracted all of the wealth and the whole pyramid comes crashing down. Mitt Romney and the wealthier people behind him don't see or don't care how crashing the U.S. economy (again) will hurt them, because they have enough money (much parked overseas) that I think they feel insulated. After all, they bounced back faster than every one else after 2008-9, ironically with massive government intervention.

      Delete
    2. Whoa there partner!! Before you tear down th educational system, the southern educational system specifically, let me share a little personal experience of comparisons. 21 years ago when I took my oldest to first grade orientation at a very progressive public school (that was thought to be the equal of any private school) in the village on the banks of the Hudson a half hour outside of NYC, we were walked past the computer lab. I asked how much time my little guy would get there. I was told Oh No, way too young to handle a computer at that age. Not until 3rd grade. We moved to North FL. the following year, expecting the worst from all the 2nd hand tales we heard. What we got was the typical public school in this area. Built within the previous 5 years, state of the art facilities, computer immersion from K on, each school has it's own TV studio, and runs regular programs, Hand in glove programs with the local colleges, IB programs and advanced courses, even some given at the local colleges for the HS kids. Continuous improvements throughout the next 20 years. A tuition reward system that will pay 75% to 100% full tuition to public colleges (they will kick in a comparable amount for kids attending other colleges, and will match out of state reciprocal programs) for kids maintaining B and better HS averages. Does 'DogPatch' still exist down here? Yeah, there's a few backwaters, and young backwater by products, just like anywhere else in this nation of ours. But from what I've seen of the kids coming out of this environment for the past 20 years, the South is going to change . . .
      Jim, talk to the younger generation. You may be surprised. MSD

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,
      While I thank you for your personal anecdotes, there are several points you need to consider. First, your personal experiences cannot be representative of the overall quality of education in an entire state. Second, overall statistics show that the quality of the educational system is lower in many Southern states.
      http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2012/16src.h31.html?intc=EW-QC12-LFTNAV

      http://www.msubillings.edu/caer/quality_rankings_of_education_in.htm

      I would argue those result in the highest rates of poverty in the nation.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_poverty_rate

      http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/16/news/economy/Americas_wealthiest_states/index.htm

      I hoped that you were right, but the information I have read so far does not back it up.

      Delete
  28. What amazes me is how people choose ignorance. Daily. Take words put together and taken out of context, and trumpet that as truth. Thank you again for your blog and your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I reckon everything worth saying on the post itself has been said, but I had to chime in on your note at the top. I live near Seattle, and work with a bunch of people who moved up here from California, and listening to them go on about how cold it is while I'm teetering on the edge of heat stroke drives me nuts. I need to find somewhere colder to live.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Imminent invasion by Red Communists is entirely possible and could happen at any time...."

    It's been a long time since I've seen it, i.e. since its first run in the theaters, but didn't the titular invasion of Chuck Norris' Invasion U.S.A. start in Florida?

    "...which, if I was forced to speculate on the flavor of Satan’s fromunda cheese, I would use as a reference taste note."

    Dammit, as a former Wisconsinite, I had to marvel at the idea of a kind of cheese I didn't know, and go look it up. I hate you, Jim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a Tea Bagger delicacy, don't ya know?

      Delete
    2. Don't any of them know what "Tea Bagging" is?

      Delete
  31. So there are no hidebound folks in Alaska?

    This reminds me of how it's not okay for people outside your family to make insulting comments about your family.

    Hope you get to spend more time in the Southland and travel more broadly, experience more of it, its culture,history, and music and its people. Visit Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham, Ashville, Richmond.

    Bless your pea pickin' heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      I require a fairly high degree of reading comprehension on this site. Lack of it pisses me almost immediately. Nowhere in this post did I say or imply that there are no "hidebound" folks in Alaska. No where. In fact you'll note that right up front in one of the first paragraphs I said: "least I be accused of stereotyping the prototypical Panhandle denizen, note that if you replaced the sun cured tobacco in his roll-your-own cigarette with greenhouse grown weed, he’d be indistinguishable from any of a dozen characters you’re liable to meet on the streets of my own Alaskan town." I guess you missed that, what with your back up and all it must have been hard to focus.

      You'll also note that I frequently point out similar observations about similar people in my own home state of Alaska. It's a common theme around here. There have been many posts on that exact subject. So your implication makes absolutely no sense.

      I've traveled extensively in the South. I've lived in the South. I've been to Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham, Ashville, and Richmond and any other dozen places you'd care to name. I've had Good Ol' Boys for roommates, including one that was literally a card carrying member of the KKK. Here's the thing, if you don't like being stereotyped as racists and bigots and uneducated paranoid backward country fucks, then you should stop acting like racist bigoted uneducated backward-assed country fucks. It's really just that simple.

      Delete
    2. "Reading comprehension" is not judged by one's ability to trudge through every word of tedious, interminable, bloviating, and smug blog posts punctuated with expletives written by people who think being mean and condescending is a sign of superiority. I can't imagine having time to read it, let alone write it. Log off and go make the world a better place. Your blog came recommended, but I won't bother again.

      Delete
    3. So, you didn't actually read the post you criticized, or any other for that matter, and now you're pissed because you got called out on it. Yep, thanks for being the very stereotype I was talking about.

      By all means, take your poor hurt feelings and fuck right off back back to wherever it is you came from and don't come back.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    5. but I won't bother again

      Except, of course, predictably you did, anonymous.

      I wasn't kidding, go away and don't comment again, I'm not going to play your game. Any further comments from you will be deleted without further notification.

      Delete
    6. Wasn't that sweet? He starts off being 'pseudo' nice and civil, posts as if you do not know what you are talking about, goes on to 'bless' you (fake, of course), and then gets angry!! LMAO Yup, that was my experience in the South - if you don't agree and start to discuss actual, logical things, they get cornered and hateful. Bless their pea-picking hearts and empty heads...

      Delete
  32. Ah, it DOES take large cajones to travel in the south (if you're not from) and speak ANYTHING political. I have sibling still in SE Georgia, and Mr. Wright is NOT kidding about the double-thinking, ironic stupidity that seems to be the norm down there, vs. at least being out-numbered elsewhere. I'm routinely called a damn-yankee, to which the only reply is "Fuck you, I'll be going home!" God Bless you, Mr. Wright for braving the political, social, and cultural wasteland that is our "Bible Belt".

    ReplyDelete
  33. A few years ago, a belligerent airline passenger refused to put his cigarette out on a plane, forcing an emergency landing and his removal from the plane. When it *very initially happened*, there wasn't much information beyond "emergency landing", so there was speculation as to what caused it. Fox, of course, went IMMEDIATELY to TERRORIST ATTACK. Fine...in the absence of other information, that was certainly a possibility.

    Within a couple of hours, all the other news agencies were on to more relevant actual NEWS.

    THREE. DAYS. LATER. Fox was STILL speculating about a terrorist attack! On this plane! By this guy!

    ...seriously???

    Within the last three months, I wandered into the break room at work, where Fox was on. And the ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! was flashing. And the story was something about some comparatively routine thing Obama was doing (buggered if I know what it was; speaking at a fundraiser, maybe? Or maybe it was raining (not even a hurricane, just rain) where he was scheduled to speak, but he was going to be inside...maybe? Something *really* ridiculous, in any case). And I sat there for like, three plays of the scrollbar, waiting for it to tell me what was so important that THERE NEEDED TO BE AN ALERT MESSAGE ABOUT IT before I realised *there wasn't anything going on*. And I turned to my coworker, completely baffled, and said "*THIS* warrants an 'alert'?!"

    I live in Dallas County (Texas), and four years ago, I saw a WHOLE lot more McCain/Palin signs, and a whole lot earlier, than the (frankly alarmingly) few Romney/Ryan signs I'm seeing this year. Even in rural Texas, I saw more Obama than Romney signs.

    At least the people in Wasila have some semblance of reason to be deranged about their fear of the Russians. The Floridians, not at all. Cuba, maybe...

    ReplyDelete
  34. Try living in the south. I've been in the Nashville area nearly 25 years. I don't remember willful ignorance, bigotry, and bat shit crazy being a feature when I moved my family here. Nearly every person I met was as friendly and decent as any I'd ever met anywhere in my world travels. They always had an unnatural affinity to Jesus, big haired women, country music, barbeque, guns, and pickup trucks. (Nothing wrong with any of that stuff as long as you keep it to yourself.) Yet, once they got to know you they treated you like family. Politically it was a Democratic state due to the less right wing big city populations. Blue dog Democrats who generally were conservative economically and socially tolerant but not the far right nut jobs I see every day. I can't tell you exactly when it changed although 9/11 seems to be the turning point.

    I live in the most affluent area of the state where one might expect a more progressive citizenry due to the large influx of people from all over the world during the past 25 years. Not so. Oh, there are many more progressives than out in the Tennessee countryside but education and money doesn't seem to ward off teh crazy. I still hear the same crap from professionals and small business people you related as coming from the redneck hicks. I really don't get how apparently normal adults can lovingly embrace nonsense and absurdity.

    The one bright spot throughout this political season has been a dramatic decrease in Willard/Lyin' Ryan signs. My sub-division was covered with McCain/Palin signs in 2008. My neighbors across the street who I'd always thought were sane had four or five Sarah! signs in their yard. This year? Only one house in 150+ has a sign. I wish this were an indication of a sudden outbreak of rationality but I can't get there. I'll have settle for a few exploding heads when Obama stays in the White Hose four more years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same thing in North FL. No signage at all compared to the previous election. They probably don't want to have to scratch up their bumpers in 2 weeks . . . They know. MSD

      Delete
    2. I predict you will see a whole lot of Romney bumper stickers show up after the elections if he wins. I didn't see many before the 2000 election here in the SF Bay Area. But boy did I see a whole lot of them AFTER the SCotUS anointed him.

      Delete
    3. Same here in our neighborhood in CA. Lots of McCain/Palin signs last election, not a single Romney/Ryan sign this year.

      Delete
    4. Where I live (SW PA) there are a lot of yard signs saying "Stop the war on coal! Fire Obama!"

      The "war on coal" is actually the dropping market which has been brought on by slackening foreign demand and the steep drop in the price of natural gas due to the burgeoning production of natural gas from the Marcellus formation.

      It all reminds me of the era of "Impeach Earl Warren" sgns across the South during the civil rights era: confusion about what's really happening.

      Delete
  35. Never been to the deep South, but it sounds like one has to have a valid passport to get either in or out of there. Same thing is true between western Washington State and the eastern side. Jim, I hope you get home safe and sound and only have to deal with your local crazies.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm stuck in Pensacola for now, and I can tell you that there are some reasonable people in the panhandle. We just keep our mouths shut when we don't know who we're talking to.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ignorance is pretty much a universal condition, but it's amazing how many people aren't just content to be ignorant, they cherish their ignorance, treasure it like an heirloom (which it probably is), and defend it against all threats by resisting anything that might become a learning experience.

    Ignorance is not your friend.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I was in Tanzani during the 2004 election and was struck by how much more the taxi drivers in Dar es Salaam knew about American politics than may of our own citizens. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am a little farther south than you are now. Here in beautiful Hernando County, Florida, it is as red as where you are, just more money. The real estate moguls here are hitting a “little rough spot” as they are not the only ones newly poor and they are not calling all the shots anymore. Payola is as prevalent here as where I previously lived in Texas (Tom Delay’s old district). Hatred of the “colored” and the “Filthy Dems” is as prevalent as any place in the Deep South. Your neighbors know you are a “Filthy Dem” because the primary elections, both Republican and Democrat, are polled in the same place and everyone knows gossip spreads faster than the internet.

    How did this happen? These places were Yellow Dog Democrat turf just 40 years ago. I blame greed. The Dems did not provide a fast enough greed curve so the Repubs stepped in with a faster solution. Greed absolutely rules here; preached at the county commissioners meeting on Friday and at the local churches on Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The south was Democratic up until Lyndon Johnson signed the first Civil Rights Act. When he signed it, he commented that the move would cost the Democratic Party the South for forty years. All the old Democrats switched parties, because they were more racist than Democratic. That is why the South is currently solid Red on all the little predicting-the-outcome maps. It never has made any sense, because, as Jim noted, the Republican party has nothing to offer these hanging onto the bottom edge of "working class" people, but there it is. The power of the Republican party in the South is based on racism. There are true Democrats all over the South; always have been. My home county had not voted Republican at the local or county level a single election since Reconstruction until 2004. One ongoing issue down here is that the Republicans always get out their vote. The Democrats, not so much. Republicans can't hang on to the South much longer; that is why they have gone with such desperate scare tactics. As one of their own operatives pointed out earlier in this campaign season, there is a finite number of angry old white guys.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Willful ignorance is beyond pathetic. Get out while you can! I can totally picture what you are describing. I grew up in Tampa and yea, you've very aptly described the Floridian redneck... I didn't even need to see the pickup truck with the gun rack and several red&white fishing bobbers rolling around in the bed. btw... boiled peanuts are ONLY edible if you buy them in a wet papersack, on the side of the road, fresh boiled in a rusty 50 gallon drum, over a fire made of dubious materials. The guy selling them should not have all of his teeth. Those peanuts are good. The ones you find in stores, or (absolute blasphemy) in a sterilized can, are evil.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Unfortunately, these attitudes aren't limited to the Florida panhandle. For what it's worth, I've seen the same kind of ignorance and hysteria in rural western Pennsylvania. Mix together rural insularity, fundamentalism, distrust of modernity, and a heaping helping of Fox News, and the result isn't pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same holds true for the Ol' Dominion. The phenomenon intensifies exponentially and in direct relationship to one's physical proximity to that miasmic swamp called Washington, DC. There are exceptions, of course--not surprisingly, they seem to be co-located with institutions of higher learning, such as our little liberal stronghold here in the People's Republic of Charlottesville.

      Delete
  43. OK, I have looked this post over several times over the last few days, read all the comments, even commented myself. But I am still puzzled about one thing - and maybe I am showing my ignorance here (treasuring it all the time) - but "Butter"?
    The only mention of butter is in the title, though many weapons are mentioned.
    Is "Guns & butter" a famous quote or catchphrase that I have missed whilst sitting here in my cave, gnawing old fish bones & keeping one eye on my precioussss?

    Bruce (the ignorant)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nick from the O.C.October 30, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Bruce,

      “A society can produce both guns and butter, they say, but if the society wants to produce more guns it will have to – because of distribution of resources, capital and labor – produce less butter. Using this example you’ll notice that, at the far reaches of gun-producing efficiency, Howitzers are being manufactured by cows. And this is just one of the reasons we can’t take economists too seriously.” -- P,J. O'Rourke

      Delete
    2. Guns and Butter is a reference to the Guns Vs. Butter Macro Economics Model. Guns and Butter is a fairly famous term in production modelling and refers to the choice a country must make in military spending versus spending on everything else, such as feeding people. Basically, given finite resources (such as oil, metals, food stocks, etc) and/or limiters (such as a specific budget, debt limit, crop land, borders, coastlines, etc) has to decide on guns or butter or (realistically) a combination of both.

      Countries must strike a reasonable balance when deciding between guns and butter. Those that give up guns for butter, may find a way provide for the national defense with a minimum of expenditure (though a common pact with other countries for example, see Iceland, or the Vatican, or NATO) or through improvement in capability (i.e. quality over quantity). It is entirely possible to trade guns for butter without giving up security or sovereignty (though it may not be possible for all nations, for example, the Soviet Union could not improve quality and efficiency significantly, so they were forced to increase quantity to make up for it. This contributed directly to their collapse).

      However while it may be possible to give up guns for butter, giving up butter for guns leads almost always to misery, disaster, revolution, and collapse (See the aforementioned Soviet Union, North Korea, and etc).

      In the case of this essay, I intended the title to point out the primary problem with Mitt Romney's position on more guns is better, i.e. the only way to buy more ships is to give up butter somewhere else. In the current US financial state? Not a good idea for many, many reasons.

      Delete
    3. Oh, right. Thanks for the clarification Jim. I thought "Guns and Butter" might be the name of an 'alternative lifestyle' bar. Or maybe playtime at the Palin household. Tommy D

      Delete
    4. Thank you very much, Jim and Nick, for the clarification. And thank you, TommyD,for letting me know that I was not alone in being unfamiliar with this phrase!:)
      But then, I never studied economics - I was a philosophy major. So I could probably constuct a logical argument that guns do not really exist and butter is actually the fundamental substrate of the Universe, but space does not allow.
      Bruce

      Delete
  44. I think that Progressive people should be very wary about entering any area of the USA described as a "panhandle". Up here in TX, we have our own panhandle, and everything I have heard and seen suggests that visiting it might be as profoundly depressing as the events Jim is describing here.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Put your "grizzled and worn" customer in a $1000 custom tailored suit, driving a F2500 pickup to his seven figure a year position at the bank and you've described my Texas brother-in-law to a tea.

    ReplyDelete
  46. "And as the President said, it’s not the numbers, it’s the capabilities."

    Key point. And, anyone claiming to be prepared to hold the Office of Commander-In-Chief should be thinking in those terms. There are two conceivable options as to why Romney posited the criticism of Obama that he did, during the last debate. 1. He is ignorant of the distinction between an Aegis-Class cruiser and a WWII-era battleship with black powder guns, and truly needs to be kept as far away from leadership of our military as is humanly-possible, or 2. He was trying to score cheap points with a voting populace that he is counting on being ignorant of that particular distinction.

    Idiot or liar, take your pick. I don't plan to vote for either candidate he was trying to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the other hand, the USS Iowa is a pretty imposing sight. 19 inches of US steel at some points.

      Delete
    2. All I need to know about Robme and the military are 2 things.

      He was all for the Vietnam war until he had a chance to be IN the war, whereupon he fled to France (Irony anyone?) and his statements about why NONE of his 5 sons were serving during wartime, that they served the nation better getting him elected.

      Make that 3 things. The last being he and his chickenhawk, anti woman buddy Ryan kicking off their campaign from an American warship. Chickenhawks and cowards, them

      Delete
    3. All due respect Jerry, btu as someone born and raised in a deep south racist household, that ignorance is easily overcome by simply opening a book or two and opening ones mind. In fact, it's easier than that. Just exposure to the outside world forces one to expand ones mind and bounderies. The real work is MAINTAINING and clinging to the ignorance of ones youth.

      Delete
    4. Cthulhu,
      I hope you know I was not defending ignorance, just asking people not to be so harsh. I can't stand Fox News and dislike the people who mindlessly spout the Fox/GOP talking points.

      Delete
    5. Cthulhu,
      I hope you know I was not defending ignorance, just asking people not to be so harsh. I can't stand Fox News and dislike the people who mindlessly spout the Fox/GOP talking points.

      Delete
    6. Cthulu,

      If travel was that great of a mind openner then why are so many in the military voting Republican every year? Travel alone isn't the key. A willingness to LEARN is the first priority.

      Delete
  47. I am TDY to Aurora CO from my (hopefully temporary) home in the DC area. When away from wife and cats I can immerse myself in work and generally escape from the stupid. But today I was forced to spend 15 minutes in a room with FOX noise spewing from the wall. There is no doubt where your Florida GOP mouthbreathers get their daily dose of IQ suppressant - FOX "News" Channel.

    Holy shit what a load of non-stop idiocy. FNC has a bevy of hot, mini-skirted babes with their camera facing legs glued together. And I'm OK with that. But, what comes out of their gobs is so immensely, fuckingly non-sensical that it erases their good looks. Smart is sexy, but willful ignorance is just sad. (I figure these ladies are like Vegas dancers. They tell their fathers that they have nice waitressing jobs.)

    Anyway, in today's short exposure to FNC they blamed long post-storm gas lines in NYC on Obama, and equated this with the OPEC driven oil crises of the 70's and compared Obama with Jimmy Carter. But the overhead shots of gas lines were sub-texted with "Gas lines caused by power outages." The fact that coastal NJ/DE/NY/CT/RI just got NUKED is less important than blaming gas/food/water shortages on Obama. (And Chris Cristie is gay cause he approves of Obama's post-Sandy leadership.)

    Fox is still screaming about Benghazi and DEMANDING why a JSOC QRF was not immediately available to establish security at the US consulate? Do these people realize that we just cannot militarily "invade" other countries at will? And do they realize how fucking big Africa is? You just cannot fly predators or AC-130s or HH-60s to Libya in 30 minutes from Djibouti or Italy or Sicily in response to a rapidly evolving situation with minimal situational awareness. Nothing says 'considerate US response' like flying a Spectre gunship over a foreign city.

    Back to Jim's post. The Panhandlers and their Texan, Alaskan or Virginian brethen who absorb Fox Noise as "fair and balanced" are not just low information. They are functionally illiterate and probably borderline retarded. Harsh, but fair. Tommy D

    ReplyDelete
  48. Anonymous,
    It is human nature to make fun of people with whom we disagree, but your last two lines are too harsh and unfair. I must admit that I have had similar thoughts, but the truth is that most people are of average intelligence (by definition). We are all the products of our environment and parenting, including exposure to racism, bad information, and outright lies. Fox News falls into the last two categories for sure, likely all three. The people who get their information from Fox News are less informed than people who watch no news at all. You can hold that against people, as well as voting against public education (worse in the South than elsewhere), but don't go overboard. See the latest from Fairleigh Dickinson University about the harm caused by Faux Noise at http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2012/confirmed/

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous at 7:16 p.m.,
    It is human nature to make fun of people with whom we disagree, but your last two sentences were too harsh and unfair. Most people are of average intelligence, by definition, and the U.S. has a pretty high literacy rate. Most people are products of their environment and parenting, which includes picking up racism and being poorly educated and informed. Blame them, blame their parents, blame their choices to damage "libruhl" public education, and blame their chosen biased news sources, but don't call them illiterate and retarded (that's also too harsh on the retarded). Fox News not only caters to that audience, it deliberately feeds into their prejudices and lies to them. People who get their news from Faux Noise are less well informed than people who watch no news at all, so I agree with everything but your last two sentences. If I could, I would bring back the Fairness Doctrine or at least make it illegal for broadcast media to lie about the news. See Fairleigh Dickinson University's latest at http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2012/confirmed/

    ReplyDelete
  50. I am from the South. South Carolina to be exact. I have lived here my entire 52 years, and I can tell you that Jim's statements are more than stereotypical, they're true. Now, I love the south. I love our climate, I love the beauty of our state's rivers, mountains, coast line. We've got nearly every gift from mother nature without ever leaving our state. There are beautiful historic homes, and ramshackle back water shanty towns, and everything else in between. But what we do have here in abundance, (I"m sad to say) is prejudice and stupidity in great abundance. My own family is deeply divided by this paradox. Those of us who choose to glean our information from a variety of sources while sifting the wheat from the chaff, and those who are satisfied with sitting around absorbing the droning mantras from fox news. It's laziness at it's most destructive, and it is alive and well fed down here. I can very easily envision the store, the town, the zz top character Jim describes because I see them all the time. Have known them, hell even have some for family members. I can assure you that what Jim says, might be slightly embellished....but not much. Not much at all.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thems my folk youre talking about there. But, it's OK you got it totally right. Never forget though, all can be forgot and forgiven because they SE gave us the ALlman Bros...

    ReplyDelete
  52. I've been posted to Ft.Polk, LA., Ft.Benning, GA., Ft.Campbell, KY., and Ft.Hood, TX., with numerous trips visiting my brothers in Camden, SC., and Lexington, KY. and as a child lived at Lackland,TX. AFB.
    The areas around all them are as described by the CWO.
    Not to say we don't have ass clowns north of the Mason-Dixon. I've heard and seen much of the same stuff in Ohio, just less often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it REALLY less often, though? Remember that 31-year-old woman in Cincy who banned people of color from the pool because "their hair product contaminates the water"? Miss you, New Guy. Also, Nazis.

      Delete
  53. You've been gone too long Jim. Drag yer butt back home and give us something new!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Bear and the Goose Girl are currently on a cruise ship off the Continental shelf headed for Charleston. Have already been accosted by FOX News R's demanding to know what was wrong with us !! All the furiners and the Canadians keep asking what is wrong with such a large portion of the population ??

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sounds like you had quite a time down in The Panhandle.
    I'm a Brit as I've said before, and I have a real love/hate relationship with The Southern USA. The music I love comes from there, Blues, Soul and White Blues (Country & Western). I've travelled all over the south buying records, yup I'm a vinyl man, watching great unknown players and generally having a great time. I found most of the people generous, with both their time and hospitality. But..... I found their politics and religion impenetrable! The reaction to announcing that you were both a Socialist and an Atheist produced some memorable reactions, but being a Brit was handy as most Americans expect us to be a bit eccentric.
    The fist time I was down there I flew into Memphis. Didn't go there for Graceland, I've always thought Elvis was a pale imitation of the real thing. It was to visit the Stax Studio and visit some of the bars on Beale Street. Any how at the time I had bright purple hair, the result of a drunken bet. It was fantastic whenever I walked into any of the music and beer establishments, and took my hat off, you could hear a pin drop!
    Thanks for letting me ramble on. Good to see that you are home safely, give the cats a scratch under the chin from me! I'll try and post some pics of my little guy. I acquired him on 31st October 2 years ago so he hi called Samhain, Sam for short. He has opposable thumbs but still expects me to open the cans for him!

    ReplyDelete

Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.