Madison County Opinion...

APRIL 2, 2003

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 2, 2003

Frankly Speaking
April is Southern History and Heritage Month
April is Southern History and Heritage Month. I am telling you this because the chances of you hearing about it in the major media are extremely small.
The media have come under control of the “politically correct” crowd who hold that anything with a Southern theme is “disruptive,” causes political or business losses or otherwise is bad for the nation. They not only refuse to recognize Southern culture, they are part of an active effort to eradicate all things Southern from public view.
During the month, all Southern heritage groups will be conducting memorial and education programs. If you look around, you can find special meetings, parades, pick-nicks, memorials, living history displays and public speakers.
Each of these activities is designed to build understanding about the Southern history, Southern cooking, Southern hospitality and Southern life in general.
The highlight of the month is Confederate Memorial Day on April 26. Memorial programs will be held throughout most of the South. Special flags and markers will fill Confederate cemeteries. A handful of writers like myself will be using our media contacts to promote knowledge of Southern issues.
The original handwritten Confederate Constitution will be on display at the University of Georgia Library. This rare document is available for viewing at the library only one day each year, Confederate Memorial Day. The remainder of the year, it is stored in a lead-lined tube in a locked vault.
The Madison County Greys, Sons of Confederate Veterans will dedicate a new memorial to the county’s 400 Confederate Veterans on Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. in Colbert. Full details of the event will be published next week.
Anyone wishing to be on the program for this event should contact me at the web page below. We welcome speakers, entertainers and historic displays and will make room for as many of you as possible.
I urge all of you to take advantage of the month of April to proclaim your pride in your Southern Heritage, take part in the memorial or educational programs, wear Southern emblems on your clothing and add a recording of “Dixie” to your CD collection.
I will be telling you why the South Haters are so insistent on destroying our culture in later columns and what you can do about it. We Southerners are a special people. We have as much right to celebrate our history and culture as anyone else. We have the right to have our history and culture be respected as any other group. But unlike other groups, we will have to fight for that right.
I am Southern and proud of it. I will gladly discuss Southern issues with any of you who ask. I will listen politely and with interest to your ideas as long as you give me the same courtesy. I will always be: “American by birth — Southern by the Grace of God.”
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
April 2, 2003

From the Editor's Desk
Hip hop brings hair metal flashback
Everywhere I go bling, bling.
What is that?
Am I bling bling? If not, would pursuing “bling bling” status be a valid endeavor for this 30-year old newspaper guy?
Or am I simply “played out?”
Is there a difference between “da’ bomb” and “the bomb?”
Is it better to be “fat” or “phat?”
What is the distinction between a “thing” and a “thang?”
If I’m “keeping it on the DL,” does that mean I am on some disabled list, like in baseball?
Does a “shout out” require an actual raising of the voice?
It’s all very confusing.
So I stick with the traditional slang word “cool” as I fade farther and farther away from the definition of that word, at least in the eyes of youth.
Not that I mind. There’s no shame in being “old school” or simply old.
But what the heck is a “playa hata” or its verb brother, “to playa hate?” (According to the “Rap Dictionary” I found on the Internet, “playa hata” is “one who despises or speaks ill of another because he does not have any game of his own.”)
The hip-hop lingo confounds me.
But the hip-hop music scene? Well, I know what that is.
It’s hair metal all over again. And if you’re my age, I think you know exactly what I mean.
I flip through the channels and sometimes stop on some hip hop video where inevitably P-diddy or Ludacris are paired as “featured” artists with some lesser-known rapper, their shirts undone, the camera shooting from the ground up.
“Yeah, we studs. You know it.”
Wait for the next video.
It is a rapid-fire booty barrage, mixed with jewelry, cars that can skip rope and hot tubs.
I remember watching MTV as a teenager in the late 80s. It was just as cheesy and tasteless, girls sliding half naked on the hoods of cars as men with puffy blond hair sang melodramatic ballads about undying love that conflicted with the sexed-up visuals of their videos.
For years we were tormented with “She’s my cherry pie,” “Pour some sugar on me” and other equally soul-moving diddies that crowded the airwaves.
Don’t get me wrong. There is always quality music, art, food, journalism — anything you want — to be found, if you look hard enough.
But mass culture is rarely where it’s at, unless by happenstance, that’s where the market moves. Music is more a commodity in our culture than an art.
Popular music certainly wasn’t artistic in the late 80s with hair metal. And it’s not now with the hip hop scene.
Both are products of a television age of music, where visual appeal matters more than ability. Both are a celebration of gaudiness, of easy wealth and sexual machismo.
Thankfully, the hair metal beast fell to the grunge movement of the early 90s, which stripped away much of the fakery surrounding rock music, though even grunge became laughable as “alternative” morphed into an ugly marketing word and the alternative scene became formulaic blandness and mediocrity.
I’m interested to see how the hip hop scene will change. Will there be a movement toward something more sincere? Or will the gaudiness linger on, with music simply a backdrop for bare bellies?
Meanwhile, I guess I should just keep it on the DL and try to keep from being such a playa hata.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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