Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gone With The Windbag

So good to be back!
Great Gabe Kaplan's mustache, that was a long hiatus! I finally saw Seattle, attended Iron Maiden Day, wrote two papers and an annotated bibliography, taught six weeks of freshman comp., finished coursework, and turned 35.

What did I not do? Let's see...

For starters, I didn't shoot a water moccasin and hang it up in a tree to make it rain. I don't "believe snakes hold mystical powers" or that "they will charm you if you look into their eyes." Why? Because this isn't Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and I haven't been smoking PCP behind the Arby's.

Maybe it's because mom never fed me Coca Cola from a baby bottle. But apparently that was someone's experience, and his name is Rick Bragg, and he authored this drivel. And since I'm from the South (Tuscaloosa, AL, stand up!), and since I love college football, I suppose I'm implicated in the universal "We" Mr. Bragg insists on using.

Well fuck you very much.

See, it's this type of tired, fetishized bullshit that forces me to listen to the same southern jokes at the same lame ass academic parties I attend on occasion.

"You're from Alabama? 'Y'all', amiright?"

Rick Bragg
Sure, ass-hat, you're right. I have a master's degree and just finished coursework in a PhD program because I ran around hanging snakes and chanting "y'all" with my voodoo beads wrapped around a white-tale deer dick passed down from my daddy. If you're not careful I'll turn your Volvo into a stock car! Why? On fucking instinct, brother! Can't help myself. Hellfire man, all I have to do is hear the word CAR and I start jonesin' for Daytona so hard my left eye shuts and I piss myself.

Bragg's stories have already been told a thousand times. Old southern men talking about the good ol' days of SEC football? Check. Old southern white men still upset about the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil War? A big ol' racist check. College football fandom, the most cliched side of it, made to define an entire region? Well, face palm, and then check.

"The point is, we talk real slow down here, so it may take a while to get to it, that we believe some things regardless of science and sometimes common sense."

You mean dipshits? You're talking about dipshits. They have those everywhere. I've been a dipshit before. One of my best friends thought it was "bold faced liar." See? Dipshit. He's from Boston.

You say Nick Saban smiling after his second national title in three years "scared" you, "as if Billy Graham had done a handstand."

Congratulations. You've squeezed halfwit ritual, catfish, and Billy Graham into an article about the South. It's a wonder ESPN didn't just have you recite it from bourbon-soaked memory under a swamp cypress with a straw hat on and a grass blade between your teeth. Oh wait! Fuck me, you even mention hay and cotton!

"Those young men drew on a long history of not being afraid, of the hottest days or endless rows of cotton or a million bales of hay." So the football team was made up of a bunch of farmers who dropped their pitchforks and picked up helmets? You're confusing myths.

"In the winter of 1993, in an attic apartment in Cambridge, Mass., I watched Alabama beat the trash-talkin' Hurricanes--I mean beat them like they stole somethin'."

What Bragg saw in the 1993 Sugar Bowl.
Why is "stole somethin'" in italics? You already dropped the "g" from "talking." Why attribute "stole somethin'" to some southern ghost? THAT was too much? And why attribute all this old shit to me? To some "We" you presume to speak for?

I watched the same game in 1993 sitting on the floor of my family's living room. Lots of southerners were there. No one had a snake or fed their baby Coke or played the banjo or sang about God and cotton. My grandmother was there, too. "It makes a difference," she said, because she always said that. It worked as a non-sequitur, a post-script, a preface. Regardless, it was always the crux of her message.

And that's my message to you. It makes a difference.

My "we" wants to find the positive aspects of our home, not be a cliche. We want to be different from the people who give it a hayseed name, not that hick gleefully reflecting on a time when the team consisted of whites only because they were the only ones allowed to play. We revel in rivalry Saturdays. It's the end of the week and we drink before noon and we believe in the restorative power of hate. But we are far more than an ESPN 30 for 30 that gives carte blanche to six kooks from Jasper for an hour and calls it a day.

We are not the same, you and I.

What you've done, Gump, is disregard southern football fans who weren't born from a bag of pork rinds or don't dislike a team just because they're north of the Mason-Dixon (we despise ALL opponents) or don't adhere to the belief that "God prefers our teams." We love college football. We grew up with it, or graduated from there, or moved there and thought it was strange at first but now we love it. Do we follow it religiously? Sure. Shit. That term always gets thrown around when describing the southern football fan. Never Bowie fans or squash players or vegans. "My, you follow that carrot juice religiously! You're CRAZY!"

No. Because of rubes like Bragg every Saturday is a Sunday and every football stadium down south is a fucking church and that's not rib sauce on my fingers it's Jesus syrup! Well okay, Bubba, I follow it religiously.

Know what else people follow religiously? Religion. I'll let you decide which is more logical. Scientifically speaking, of course.

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