Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday, Late May

I got the latest Oxford American today. It's a film-themed issue. Right off the bat, the Oxford's guest editor, Derek Jenkins, reminded me why archetypal southern writing and its braggarts piss me off so:

"Twenty-four frames per second might seem out of pace with the South, but we boast more than our fair share of film lovers. We just go about it in a different way - less systematic but just as passionate, casual but engaged. It's more a tendency than an obsession, a custom we picked up on muggy Sunday afternoons and Saturday nights when there was nothing much else going on."

I'm gonna start my own lit mag, and it's gonna be midwestern-themed. It'll be called Fuck You, South, and Your Esoteric Fucking Self Regard For Your Exaggerated Differences From We Who Saved The Union All Those Many Years Ago And Pay For It With Your Whimsical Writers and Editorialists Who Seem To Think All Of Those Born North of Louisville Are Stuffy-Shirted Snobs; I Have Some Tidbits For You, South, And Their Names Are Saul Bellow, Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser And Bumpfucking-Thousand Other True American Writers Who Aren't From The South. Just Because We Don't Drink Julips, South, Doesn't Mean We Don't Like To Kick Back With A Stiff One And Write Up Some Fucking Existential Despair and Familial And Religious Discord.


It's not that I don't love Faulkner, O'Connor, et al. It's that Southern writers' adherents are the Yankees fans of the literary world without the benefit of any measurable rubric for their sense of superiority. It's a self-fetishizing culture from top to bottom: from literature to Nascar and Civil War Revisionism.

Let's take the above paragraph and alter it to a Midwestern sensibility:

Thirty-Five millimeters might not mean anything to that Skokie native who knows Star Wars by heart but couldn't tell you a thing about The Seven Samurai or any other of the seemingly thousands of films from which George Lucas cribbed liberally, but that doesn't stop that Skokie native, let's call him Bob McLocalEthnicPopulace, from enjoying hundreds of hours of silver screen brain-candy a year. We Midwesterners may not know film's technical terms like we know the engines of our Ford/Chevy pick-ups, but we know what we like: Anything that will take us out of the monotony of our corporate farmwork, corporate law firms, or corporate colleges. Our movie-going is a way of dealing. We don't know the difference between Tobey McGuire or Peter Parker because we're so simple, but we know he's the guy to root for.

- See what a presumptuous asshole that makes me sound like?


Blogger Tim said...

You forgot Fitgerald, Updike, Roth, Cheever, Carver, Dubus, Wolff, Kerouac, Twain, Melville, Hawthorne, and T.S. Elliot, and even Tennessee Williams belongs more to St. Louis and the midwest than the south. Also, they can't claim John Kennedy Toole. He was too unique to be properly claimed by anyone besides New Orleans.

The South sucks.

6/05/2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger ashby said...

Yes, I can see that.

6/13/2007 3:13 PM  

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