Madison County Opinion...

June 5, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
June 5, 2002

Frankly Speaking

How to spot a non-Georgian
Those of you who read the “VENT” and letters to the editor in the Atlanta newspaper have encountered the harping of newly arrived immigrants from the North about “stupid Southerners” and their bad driving habits. But recent census information revealed that a majority of the people currently living in Atlanta are not from there. Chances are that the unpleasant people encountered by these new arrivals were also Yankees.
Before these refugees from Yankeyland start insulting Southerners, they need to know how to tell who is a true Georgian.
Here are some clues:
The quickest way to spot a non-Georgian is what they call a popular beverage. If the person ask for a “soda” or “pop”, they aren’t from around here. Georgians will always ask for a “soft drink” or a “Coke,” even if they are buying another brand.
Watch what they eat for breakfast. Biscuits and gravy are acceptable as a breakfast food. Potatoes in any form are not.
Real Georgians know that grits are made from corn, that sweet tea has lots of sugar but sweet milk does not, that “pot licker” has no alcohol and just because you cook it outside, that don’t make it a bar-b-que.
When you have a problem, the true Georgian will always express sympathy with a plate of fried chicken and a bowl of potato salad, and if the situation is really bad, a dish of banana pudding.
If you are standing in a line and you notice the stranger near you is talking to everyone around him, you are in the presence of a true Georgian. They can also be found on the side of the road waving hello at total strangers.
Georgians are adept at inexact measurements. He may tell you that the location you seek is “down yonder a little ways,” or that he will return “in a little bit” or it is a “good peice down the road.”
Some Yankees who have been here a while may try to use a Georgia accent. But they make several major mistakes that will allow you to spot their fakery. Georgians never say y’all to one person. In most cases the “g” at the end of a word is not pronounced, “Naw, I ain’t doin’ nothin’.” But when we do pronounce the “g” it is emphasized. “Honey, you can have anythang you want!”
True Georgians know the difference between rednecks, good-ol-boys and white trash. They know the difference between a “hissie” and “conniption” fit. They know that “fixin” can be a noun, verb or adverb.
Finally, harassing Yankees is the third most favorite pastime in Georgia. It comes right behind college football and NASCAR. Southerners in general and Georgians in particular are among the most insulted people in America. We show our nobility by laughing at the redneck jokes rather than get mad. We believe that by laughing at ourselves, we earn the right to laugh at the rest of you.
Now, let me remind all the newly arrived Yankees who are bothered by the “stupid Southerners, “That Delta plane flies both ways.” “We don’t ‘give a damn’ how you do it up North.” “We may have lost the war, but we will never surrender our Southern culture.” “Save your Confederate money boys, ‘cause the South’s gonna rise again!”
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
June 5, 2002

From The Editor's Desk

Country music
is dead
Rock music has been pronounced dead a number of occasions.
Go ahead and add country music to the obit page.
With synthesizers, up tempo dance beats and a cheap pop culture attitude today, country’s mass departure from its rural roots has choked the life out of a genre of music which was once a poignant form of expression.
In fact, record stores could just as well start classifying it as “pop music with fiddles.”
Dying to fit in with America’s obsession with the “culture of cool,” contemporary country has commercialized and compromised its sound to such a point that it’s hard to believe it’s the offspring of music crafted by some true legends.
Remember when Willie Nelson sang of a whiskey river, Johnny Cash crooned about the blues of Fulsom Prison and Charlie Daniels told us the story of a virtuoso fiddle player who plays his way out of eternal damnation.
Country songs used to be about hard times and rural folklore. The stories shared came from people who lived through them.
Even the odes to partying were classic as well. Just pop in most anything from Hank Williams, Jr. and you’ll see.
But a generation later, country artists say anything to promote the cheesier side of life.
Turn on country radio today and Trick Pony gives us the lyrically stimulating “Just what I do when I get no lovin,’” N’sync’s country cousins, Rascal Flats, whine over some girl who dumped them and a surfer dude named Keith Urban—yes, Urban—who I’m sure has baled his fair share of hay in his day, attempts tell us about rural life with “Where the blacktop ends.”
For a brand of music that once prided itself on being so removed from the cheapness of the mainstream, country is now selling its soul to join the “in” crowd.
Country singers of today would burn their cowboys hats (those that still have them) for a chance to jump ship to VH1 or MTV on their journey down the highway to pop music hell.
But with the emergence of CMT (country music television) as a medium for the all-important “hip,” they won’t have to.
The network has already catered to such pop culture cravings by employing a pair of city slickers to host “Most Wanted Live,” what obviously is their answer to MTV’s “Total Request Live.”
And the artists in their videos dress the pop star part.
Country music singers used to look like outlaws in a western flick. Now they look like something out of a Gap ad.
But not to be totally lost in the mass sellout of country are a dying breed of artists that are successful with substance and their rural roots.
I attended an Alan Jackson concert recently and was treated to an hour and a half of stripped down, wholesome country. Buy his new CD and listen to “Drive” and you’ll be reminded of what it was like to grow up around wide open pastures and dirt roads.
But if country music continues to pave the road to pop music assimilation, Jackson may eventually be labeled as a dinosaur act along with the old country greats.
If these new artists want to mass produce pop music, fine.
Just don’t insult us by calling it country.
Ben Munro is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers.


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