As I post this it’s Halloween. Many of you are planning to hand out candy, go trick-or-treating , or head to a Halloween party and you are in need of a clever costume. But since budgets are tight, time is running out, and last-minute creativity is difficult to pull off, you are in a bind. Well thankfully Southern Blogger is here to help you with some simple, last-minute costumes.
As I mentioned earlier, we’re going to do a few special things on The South Will Blog Again over the next few weeks. The contest winner “So you wanna be…a Southern Pageant Winner” is in the works, and I just completed a guest post for Budget Blonde that will be linked here on Friday. So since we have a few days with no planned posts, and Halloween being quite topical, I thought we could have some fun with the holiday (and at the expense of some SEC schools) in a short little post called…So you wanna be an SEC fan for Halloween?
- Southern Blogger
As I mentioned earlier, clever costumes are quite hard to pull off at the last-minute. However, I came up with a few ideas that some of you might want to consider for Halloween. Most of them are quite easy and will only require the expense of some poster board, glue, and markers.
If there’s one thing SEC fans love, its bragging about their championships (if they have any). The fans of the most recent national champions, Auburn University are no exception. Perhaps you are an Auburn fan or alum, and you want to pay tribute to your team’s glory run last year. The problem is, national champions t-shirts are clichéd, and you don’t have the body to look like a cheerleader or football player. Have no fear, because YOU can look like the real reason for all the victories. Simply dress in your “Sunday best” and buy a package of Fig Newtons. Remove or eat the newtons and replace them in the package with wads of cash. The combination of Newtons and cash spell victory for War Damn Eagle U. and you can impress your friends by dressing as an Auburn booster.
Of course if national championships are what a college education is all about to you, perhaps you should dress as an Alabama fan. Now the easiest way to be an Alabama fan is just to dress in a ridiculous amount of houndstooth and act like a moron. But that’s done about 90,000 times every week. To truly be unique I suggest you dress as “thirteen titles”. Here’s what you do: Bust out your finest Alabama sweat suit or track suit, and simply cut out and past the names of thirteen book titles such as “The Grapes of Wrath” or “Last of the Mohicans”. You will notice in the cartoon example below I included thirteen titles, and a few of them were even made up.
Sometimes like in the case of Auburn or Alabama it’s okay to go with an obvious joke. The key is to twist it to give it a new angle or make it a bit better. Another case in point is to go as a Florida Gator fan. Now of course any self-respecting person making fun of Florida on their blog is going to go with a “jorts” reference, and I am no exception. But here’s the twist…you can combine the Florida cheer of “Gator bait” and the concept of “jail bait” with this irresistable costume pictured below. All you need is a ratty t-shirt and jorts (which any Florida fan owns plenty of), and a stuffed plush alligator (ditto), and a tube of lipstick. Hopefully you’re successful enough with the ladies to not have to apply the kiss marks yourself, but if you are a jorts man in Gainesville I’m thinking you’ll do just fine there.
Speaking of ridiculous things let’s talk about Tennessee fans. Now the average Vols fanatic I’ve met tends to be a nice sort of person. They just seem to be a bit strange in their devotion to giant “T’s and the color “eye blinding orange”. Have you ever gotten behind a car, truck, or SUV driven by a Tennessee fan? If there’s one thing you can say about them they are not the least bit ambiguous about their loyalties. Like their Sunday faith, the Saturday worshipful in the Volunteer state tend to be a bit fundamentalist and charismatic. So you too can recreate this hilarity by dressing as a Tennessee fan’s windshield. Simply dress in your favorite blaze orange ensemble, and cut armholes in a large piece of poster board (or a novelty check if you are going for the Humvee look). Then simply decorate each and every square inch of the “windshield” with “Power T’s” and other Vols propaganda and voila!
But what if you want to celebrate Halloween with a group costume? Well then, you’ll have to go for the one SEC school that takes elaborate costuming and makes it an art form. Of course I’m talking about the folks who are famous for their purple and gold Robin hood getups, jester costumes, and “pimp tailgate”, none other than LSU. Only a school that celebrates Mardi Gras each and every saturday and can intimidate their rival fans while wearing purple tights can pull off a truly team oriented costume. So for my suggestion for a LSU themed costume I came up with the “centi-beads”. You take the concept of a human centipede, and Mardi Gras beads and combine them for the ultimate costume sure to land you a four second camera shot on the CBS game of the week. Simply get your friends together and have them alternate between purple and gold jumpsuits, and then have each carry a kickball or beach ball in alternating purple and gold. The key then is to sit together, walk together, tailgate together, and even go to the restroom at the same time, to keep the effect. While it is quite difficult to pull off I have no doubts your average Tiger fan can rise to the occasion. After all you have to outdo Alabama!
I hope you enjoyed this little piece and have a safe and happy holiday! Check back in Friday for the link to my guest post.
- Southern Blogger
I’m hanging out with my good friend Preston Brooks touring the Museum of Southern Honor. I’m getting an insider’s view on what it takes to cause a ruckus Southern style. We are an eccentric people, and even when we are angered, ornery, or downright rambunctious, we tend to do it with our own unique style.
For example, Mr. Brooks tells me that he originally only intended to hit Charles Sumner on the head one time, but that caning someone on the head three times was more spectacular. He used a “trick” guta percha cane which broke dramatically upon his opponent’s skull for effect. He also could have simply performed this act in private, but instead chose to confront poltroonery out on the Senate floor, in front of other elected officials and the visiting public. If you don’t recall, Senator Sumner of Massachusetts insulted Mr. Brooks’ relative and the entire State of South Carolina back in 1856. Mr. Brooks told me that “skullduggery can be ignored, but perfidy of the highest order, must be dealt with in high fashion.”South Carolinians are if nothing else, fashionable to the umpteenth degree.
This insider’s view is one of the perks of my job as your trusty Southern Blogger. Whenever I need to learn about Southern culture in the past, I simply draw up historical figures and ask them. You’d be surprised how adept many of them are at blogging and other social media. And this week, we will be discussing Southerners both of the distant and recent past, about that certain flair it takes down here to get you noticed and to create a good old-fashioned scandal. So without further ado, I bring you HOW TO…CAUSE A SCENE.
The Old South: Brawlers and Nose Pullers
Remember our old friend Andrew Jackson? He had some great advice a few months back about defending personal honor. You see my friends President Jackson was (and remains) one of the world’s greatest duelists. He could follow the code duello to a T, write threatening greetings with great aplomb, and also kill his enemies with the finest of manners. But there also comes a time and place where one must put aside the gentlemanly code and flat out brawl. He could do that too.
For example, sometimes a rascal is just plain asking for it. He might be a no good varmint of poltroon, not worthy of a gunfight or even a good caning. When someone absolutely, positively has to be put in their place publicly you go for the muzzle pull. That’s right, just reach out there and yank your enemy’ nose. It tells the public this scoundrel is a mean sunofgun worthy only of the time to drop him to the floor. It’s dramatic, short, and quite effective.
Of course, you tend to cane, nose pull, and duel folks a lot when you make enemies the way Jackson did. President Jackson grew up rough and tough, and learned to fight even tougher. He once was slashed by a British officer as a teenager for refusing to polish the Englishman’s boots. Rather than forgive and forget (two things Andy was bad at) he made a point of embarrassing the British army at New Orleans, and also pretty much stole the Florida territory from them. Like William Wallace in Braveheart he liked to go “pick a fight”. When Jackson picked fights he didn’t lose.
The key was not so much simply striking fear but doing so in a grandiose fashion, creating exponential fear. Think it didn’t work? Well, Andrew Jackson blamed John Quincy Adams’ “dirty tricks” for creating the stress which he claimed killed his wife Rachel. During Jackson’s inaugural, Adams, the former president and defeated candidate didn’t stick around to watch the ceremonies. Adams was a smart man, and was definitely smart enough to know that “Old Hickory” wasn’t the let bygones be bygones sort. If Jackson ever buried the hatchet it was most likely in someone.
President Jackson also caused a scene by his very presence. It was said the more educated Harvard types in Washington were quite appalled when Andy’s voters came to celebrate. They partied hard off of free bourbon and a giant communal block of cheese. Drapes and furniture were said to have been smashed or gone missing. Spittoons were missed and “Jackson juice” ended up on the White House floors. Such was Jacksonian democracy, and it was a hell of a party.
But, that was politics in the nineteenth century. In many parts of the South you couldn’t get elected to office without at least some brawling or dueling on your resume. Just think of all the early pioneers of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. They were hunters, bushwhackers, fist-fighters, and eye gougers long before they held office. In fact, it was great practice for politics.
Jim Bowie probably stands taller than most of them, both literally and figuratively. He holds the title for greatest brawler of all time. Once during a feud between his party and a rival party, he helped create a fantastic fracas along the Mississippi river. On an island off of Natchez, MS, Bowie was standing in as a second for an offended party. Seconds, if you remember, are there for support and rule-keeping, not fighting. In any event words were exchanged, glances were glared, and before you knew it a real full on melee ensued. Bowie survived several gunshots and took care of some poltroons with just his bare hands and the famous long knife invented by his brother. That kind of theatrical backwoods brawling is picture perfect for someone who ended up martyred at the Alamo.
The New South: Base Stealers, Man Stealers, and Show Stealers
I suppose we’ve calmed down a bunch as a people since the nineteenth century. Even so, we still have plenty of people who know how to create chaos, befuddle enemies, and do so with style. In the world of entertainment, we will discuss three twentieth century Southerners who knew how to be the center of attention, talk the talk, and walk the walk. In the process they became legendary (each in their own way) for their scene stealing excess.
Although the South is known for its love of football it has produced its share of great baseball talent. Among the earliest and greatest of Southern ballplayers was Ty Cobb. Cobb was the perfect storm of baseball ruckus creator. He was born to a wealthy Georgia family that had declined following the Civil War, had a grandfather (who was a general) killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, and hated pretty much all Yankees. So it made sense during the turn of the century, a time when Dixie ballplayers were heckled for their Southerness, and Washington and St. Louis were the two cities closest to home, to send young Mr. Cobb to Detroit. It should also be mentioned that Ty Cobb was probably clinically psychotic and was re-fighting the Civil War on the base paths. Even his own teammates hated him.
Cobb actually seemed to enjoy belittling his baseball opponents. He would announce bases he planned to steal and then would steal them. If an infielder or catcher got in his way they were kicked, clobbered, or spiked by Cobb’s shoes. Legend has it that he even field his metal cleats for effectiveness. If you heckled him he might climb in the stands and punch you. He was afforded police protection in Philadelphia due to the large volume of death threats, carried a loaded luger with him on the road, and was wanted for assault in several states. Yet through it all he snarled and smirked his way into the record books and into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His philosophy the “baseball is something like a war” found disciples in Ted Williams, and fans in Douglas MacArthur.
Although hardly a snarler, the Alabama born Tallulah Bankhead was no stranger to scandal. She came from a wealthy and politically connected Huntsville family yet chose the stage for her career path during an era when acting was looked down upon. While early Hollywood was no less a stranger to scandal in the early twentieth century as today, Miss Bankhead turned heads and raised eyebrows to great effect.
In an era when women (especially rich Southern women) were expected to be chaste until married, then devoted housewives and mothers afterwards, Bankhead flouted the “rules”. Her affairs and love interests were quite numerous and varied and she loudly advertised and proclaimed them. She filled up the gossip columns and created such scandal it more than likely hurt her box office appeal. She was turned down for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, due to her age, yet in many ways was of the same background, personality, and scandalous nature.
Despite it all, Tallulah Bankhead never flinched and never cared if people didn’t like her. She was quite “Jacksonian” in her loyalty to her friends and political allies. She once made a point of booing Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrat Party motorcade, and loudly supported Harry Truman’s integrationist policies and presidency when it was quite unpopular to do so in the South.
Another Southerner who combined flair on and off-stage was the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown. Brown grew up in poverty in rural South Carolina and rose to be the “hardest working man in show business”. In Brown’s case that was hardly an exaggeration.
Brown not only had a tight band (which he fined for things like unshined shoes or missing notes), and a tighter look, but would sing, dance, and perform in such a manner that would kill the average man. Brown recorded and preformed in a chart topping career that spanned nearly five decades and practically wrote an entire genre of music.
While he was known for his flamboyant hair, clothing, and stage persona (down to being draped in a regal cape), he used his scene stealing persona and fame to speak out against segregation, and declare himself to be “black and proud” at a time when declaring both loudly was a dangerous thing to do in the South. Brown never held back his views, his style, or his effort. He had to be the best, because if he wasn’t he knew how quickly and how rough he could fall to crushing poverty. Even when Brown succumbed to legal troubles, he still had the sense of style and performance even in his arrests.
Scene stealing Southerners still put on a show even when they get in trouble.
Point is folks; we are no strangers to colorful characters down here. And while many of the folks mentioned in the piece did things that would get you shot, arrested, hospitalized, and ostracized today they do prove the genius of the genuine. Being quiet after all doesn’t get you in the history books.
After the results of our recent poll it looks like I’ll be posting a piece on Southern pageants. I will be trading blogs so to speak with my friend the . She will co-blog from personal experience on pageants while I will satirize Southern style blogs on her site. These pieces may take a few days to sort out and schedule so stay tuned for further updates.
It looks like I’m starting to get back on track with my posts. I’m still a little bit behind but am starting to catch up. The good news is, I have storylines and cartoons planned in advance and plan to continue to bring you funny stories and comics from a semi-satirical and Southern perspective.
From time to time I hear from some of my readers about this site and what they like about it. At the risk of sounding like a PBS telethon, you might want to consider following this site by clicking at the link at the very top of this page. That way you will receive and email notice each time I make a post. I also have a Twitter account @SouthernBlogger which you are welcome to follow. As I get more adept at blogging I will include buttons on here to make that easier.
Another thing I would encourage y’all to do is to send in suggestions for topics and comic ideas. I would love to hear from you. You can either comment on my site or send me a shout out at email@example.com I’m always open to any suggestions you may have. I want to keep this blog Southern but also very topical.
Speaking of which, in what has become my week in the life of Southern Blogger paragraph, I made it to the final round of that job interview I told you about. So in a few weeks I’ll be trucking it down to North Carolina for a final intense interview. Wish me luck.
Speaking of jobs and joblessness, there’s been a lot of talk in the news about “occupation”. At first my ears picked up and I said “finally, the news has picked up on my blog’s efforts to illuminate people on the occupation of the Southern people” but nah…wasn’t about that it turns out. Apparently people are protesting Wall Street and politicians all across the country. The college aged protesters don’t really dress or sound like the folks I went to school with in the SEC. In fact, it kind of reminded me of how my college experience was a lot different from people in the northeast and Midwest. I can remember most people in my school WANTING to be crony capitalists and big time Senators (or at least interning for them). So with that in the news and primary season and elections gearing up, I was inspired to bring y’all my little take on the not always so democratic electoral process down in Dixie. I skewer all political parties don’t worry.
The Dead Will Vote Again!
It’s only in the last thirty or so years that the South has begun to catch up, and in many cases, pass the rest of the nation economically. The region as part of the “Sun Belt” contains big metropolitan areas, corporate headquarters, and banks. Some of our region’s families have gone from sharecroppers to CEO’s in a matter of one or two generations. It’s pretty remarkable really. So it sort of follows that Southerners would then have a lot of political power.
Thing is, even when the region was primarily agricultural, it had a disproportionate amount of political clout. A lot of that had to do with the negotiations and deal breaking that led to the formation of this country, and how that in turn benefitted a handful of planters. A very tiny fraction of very rich Southerners controlled the rest of the region, and indeed much of the country. In any case from the very beginning Southerners have been major players in politics. And well, because we tend to be rather eccentric, there have been some shenanigans from our neck of the woods.
I’m gonna flat out say it. We tend to have a lot of corruption in our politics. Way back in George Washington’s time, politicians in the South would win elections based on how much whiskey they gave out. In fact, the Father of Our Country once lost an early race because he failed to give out the good stuff. He learned his lesson and the rest is history. Our friend Andy Jackson certainly was no stranger to corn liquor electioneering. He got his people to the polls, got most of them standing upright, and they got him to the White House. They also came for a giant block of cheese, and well…more liquor…and well they spit on the floors and tore the drapes…so yeah…kind of a big mess.
Whether progressive or conservative, the Southern politician has had a “wink wink” approach to deal making and the electoral process. In the 20th century Governor Huey Long of Louisiana built himself a fiefdom down at the mouth of the Mississippi. He was a champion to poor Southerners of all races, built roads, and schools, and was a hero to many. He also built a political empire that punished all political opposition, rewarded cronies, and even placed a “lying tax” on newspapers that attacked his administration. It should be mentioned that Long was eventually assassinated.
Another Southern progressive, Lyndon Johnson made his bones in the Texas legislature and U.S. Senate before eventually becoming president. It has been implied that JFK’s election in 1960 owed a lot to the dead, both in Kennedy country and in areas delivered by Johnson. Ole LBJ also initiated the efforts to pass Civil Rights legislation after Kennedy’s death, even going so far as to “get dirt” and use the IRS and compromising photos of opponents to get the votes. Whether on the side of the right or the left (or right or wrong), that’s how things got done in Dixie.
Modernization has homogenized the South and caused some of the old open corruption to fade away. But still, we are a region not lacking in crazy political campaigns, characters, and deal making. From “the Raging Cajun’” to “Senator No” to candidates who shoot sign stealers and hang out with Founding Fathers, I’m here to guide you on the wonderful, crazy, “wink-wink” world of Southern politics.
Everyone of us is a born politicker
Let’s say you’re a man or woman looking to make a difference in the world. Now stop and ask yourself “why do I want to be a politician?” Honestly, there are thousands of good Southern folks helping people out as missionaries, aid workers, volunteers, soldiers, and law enforcement. You might want to go that route.
Let’s say you’re a twenty something on fraternity row, surrounded by empty beer cans looking to find a way to keep the party going for decades. Well, then…perhaps you should consider the world of politics.
But first you got to clean up your act and keep the partying ways behind the scenes. Sure, interns and staffers will see and report you in a tell-all memoir, but if you’re Teflon is in working order your power will outlast their fifteen minutes of fame. You’ll also need a good spouse, one that won’t cost you votes, 2-4 children who are willing to wear matching sweaters for your Christmas/fundraiser cards, and good hair. You’ve got to have good hair. If you know politics and don’t have good hair…well then you can be a campaign manager.
Hey don’t knock that position. Being a king maker is sometimes more lucrative than being the king. Just ask James Carville (speaking of no hair). James Carville is the mastermind of Southern politics on the Democratic side. He has no living equal on the other side. I said living equal, being that the Republican strategist Lee Atwater of South Carolina was the Southern GOP mastermind.
Now Carville may look and talk funny but he knows how to get candidates to stay on message and keep it simple. It was Carville who took an obscure Arkansas governor and made him into a two term president all by keeping the campaign pretty simple with the pithy “it’s the economy stupid”. Carville is a genius and there’s a reason why. He’s actually a space alien. He landed somewhere in the Louisiana bayou some sixty years ago to study our ways. His weird looks and accent were then brilliantly concealed and passed off as “Cajun” since nobody (including Louisianans) understands what Cajuns are actually saying.
But even if you can’t get a Carville, you should find someone to run your campaign that gets you into the right churches, knows the back roads, and the local sheriffs, and Rotary clubs, and right pig pickins to get to. Even having the right bluegrass band tour with you can make all the difference in the world.
Once you’ve made it to office and have won re-election a few times all this will become old hat. Really all of us down here kind of have the basics ingrained into us. We’ve been raised in a culture where nobody comes out and says their business, and church functions, BBQ cook offs, and football games are a good way to size people up. It’s partly why Southerners are naturals at politics while earnest Midwesterners, who are often masters of public policy don’t translate nationally. When speaking about the issues what kind of sauce you use for BBQ is more an indicator of character than your stance on the “Arab Spring”. Those Midwestern wonks are very important though, since you’ll need them to fill you in on that stuff after your inauguration. That’s the beauty of having cabinet positions.
Choose your celebrity endorsements wisely
Another thing you’ll need to do is find the right celebrity endorsers. I always found it funny that as much as Hollywood and music people must have hated Jesse Helms he was great friends with Bono. Yep, that Bono of U2. Thing is, “Senator No” of North Carolina was instrumental in getting foreign aid passed that aided Bono’s charitable efforts. Despite their seemingly different politics on most everything else, and contrasting lifestyles and personalities they became good friends. Bono needed a major player in Washington, and Southern Senators tend to be that, and Senator Helm’s needed “hip surgery”, as in someone to bring him cool points with the young folks back home.
Still you got to have experience to pull this off or your Nixon-Elvis moment might totally backfire. A case in point is Rick Barber of Alabama. Last year Mr. Barber was running in a GOP primary for a Congressional seat from Alabama. He ran an ad of him hanging out with the Founding Fathers, who presumably along with Rick would lead a rebellion and overthrow the corruption in Washington.
When I say Founding Fathers, I do mean the costume shop variety. Mr. Barber’s exuberance and passion for American history were ridiculed in the press, and indeed historians could point out that many of the Founders would have had differing views than the candidate’s. And the whole “gather your armies thing” was a bit odd too.
You really couldn’t get away with this anywhere else
Nevertheless eccentric political ads can be done well. In Barber’s own state of Alabama it was achieved but the master of the come from behind . Mr. Peterson was running poorly in a little known race for Alabama Agricultural Commissioner until he ran this gem. Not only does this ad scream Nolan Ryan meets John Wayne, it also had a killer soundtrack, a Winchester rifle, and a threat to would be yard sign stealers. Peterson shot up in the polls (no not with his Winchester) overnight and became an internet sensation. Even though he lost the race that ad made Peterson famous. He now tours the country making stump speeches and ads for other candidates, and is even promoting his own book. I think a talk show is not too far behind. See friends, a wacky commercial if done right can be quite profitable.
So whether you’re a Stetson “shoot firster” or an insider “Boss Hogg” type, you too can enjoy the wonders of being an eccentric Southern candidate. And who knows, if you play your cards right you can be the next Dixie accented “loose cannon” to launch themselves from outsider status into the White House. But then again…maybe you’d rather make a difference in this world, do right by your neighbors, and work hard for a living. That my friends would be quite noble, and would be a great idea.
- Southern Blogger
NEXT WEEK: We continue with the political theme as an old friend and guest blogger stops by.
I’m starting to get back on track after last week’s big delay. I managed to finish my cartoons in about two days and I hope you like them. As for me I’m writing at night so I can get some rest and prepare for a big interview tomorrow. I love to blog, and will continue to do so every week, but I do need to pay the bills, so wish me luck.
The South Will Blog Again has made it into its third month! I cannot thank my readers and my loyal re-posters enough for checking this site out. I think this blog is starting to take off, and it has also developed its own language, routines, and gags. For instance, I hope y’all have been playing along and trying to find my signature and TSWBA tags in the drawings. As time goes on I’m planning to make them harder to spot, lest any counterfeiters pass off my cartoons as their own I’ve also begun to write my posts in story arcs, such as the last series on singing, writing, and cooking, and my series on the SEC.
This week we return again to the “How To” series. We will have a serious discussion (and by serious I mean completely satirical) on the state of traffic laws in the state of Georgia. If any of you have ever travelled to Florida by car you have had to pass through the southern portions of the Peach State, you may know (and perhaps all too well like my brother in law) that certain jurisdictions in that state have a bit of a “toll” for passing through. Not a toll you pay at a booth, but the kind you pay via a pink slip handed to you by a member of law enforcement.
This won’t be an indictment of them so much (we all have to pay the bills) but rather a How-To guide for y’all to follow to avoid being ensnared, or if failing that, how to conduct yourself should you find yourself staring at flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror. So without further ado, I bring you HOW TO DRIVE THROUGH SOUTHERN GEORGIA.
- Southern Blogger
It’s Like the Discovery Channel on Wheels
Listen to me friends. When you get into a vehicle (with out-of-state plates) and drive through southern Georgia you are prey. And by prey I mean four-wheeled, metal, gazelles just waiting to be lunch for the local deputies. Like any potential prey in the wild, the stupid will be eaten and the smart will survive. Smart prey will survive through good instincts, skill, and camouflage.
Now some of you might be saying “I don’t get this analogy, I for one do not believe in hunting but the harmony of all creatures!”To which I say, good for you John Lennon, please enjoy your trip down South in a VW van, and do remember to yell loudly about your constitutional rights, that should go over real well.
Now for the rest of you, listen up. It’s a tough economy, and when times are tough tickets become more plentiful. Cops are doing their jobs, and there are millions of people with disposable income passing by every year, many of whom are just asking to be pulled over. I’m here to help you be the one that gets away.
Let’s take a look at your vehicle. Does it stick out? Red sports cars are a bad idea. First of all, they stand out like a sleek, sexy, sore thumb. That’s why you bought a red car Mr. Mid-Life Crisis. Two, people who drive sports cars speed. Three, the good sports cars are usually foreign. If you are driving a red sports car you will be toast. But if you are a Ferrari driver, you won’t be reading this poor little blog, will probably speed anywhere, have tons of cash to blow on tickets, and think you can out run an Ole Boy in a Dodge (you won’t btw).
What if you are driving a minivan? Also a big no-no. You are like a big lumbering fat wildebeest. You are slow, you are easy to catch, and you make a tasty meal. Anyone from out of state driving a minivan is going towards Disney World. You also probably have several kids in the back seat screaming or squirming because they’ve got to pee. You clearly won’t be paying attention enough to watch your acceleration.
The funny thing is some people put even more targets on themselves. Like Disney decals, bumper stickers promoting liberal causes and those annoying stick figures of families. But the real true indicator of your chances of being pulled over is your license plate.
Let’s look at that.
If your plate is from Georgia, chances are you have to be doing 90+ to get pulled over. Ditto for (some) Florida Counties (not Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach), and South Carolina. You’re too likely to be able to drive to court and fight the ticket. If your plate is from another Southern state you are 75% likely to get a pass, so long as you don’t push it, and depending on the officer’s “patriotism”. As for Yankees, your chances are 50-50 if you are Midwestern, better the odds the “redder” your state is. New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut…well I’d advise going the speed limit. But even THAT may look suspicious and you could be pulled for “excessive speed limit following”. See Georgia penal code, Section 104, part D6.
So, what happens if you put pedal to the medal and you get pulled?
How to Avoid Being in a Heap of Trouble
You didn’t see the sign, honestly you didn’t. And you’re probably right, being that certain counties have an odd habit of letting trees and kudzu cover the speed limit signs, especially the ones that drop from 70 mph to 50 mph. You hear the siren, you see the lights and now you are pulled over, nervously breathing and fumbling for your license and registration.
You roll down the window and you can hear a car door slam and the sound of boots treading on the emergency lane gravel. You make an anxious swallow and look over toward the window and find yourself staring into your reflection from mirrored sunglasses.
Don’t panic, it’s critical that you do not act or appear to act like a Yankee @#$%@#.
Don’t make excuses, don’t plead ignorance, and don’t cop an attitude.
Be cool and you might get a warning. Even if not, be cool, take your ticket and don’t cause trouble.
Of course most of my readers get this since they’ve learned a bunch about Southern culture from this blog. But the Ferrari drivers, oh the Ferrari drivers are going to totally blow it. They may claim not to have seen the sign, may mention how much they hate such and such “hick town”, talk about their high priced lawyer cousin, threaten to sue the Podunk county, and cause a giant ruckus.
But what if through “no fault of your own” you have a misunderstanding and should find yourself behind bars. What then?
Make the Good Ole Boy System Work for You
You know the movie My Cousin Vinny? Joe Pesci and Marissa Thomei team up and help free their kin down in Alabama who are innocently behind bars. A clash of cultures results, yet the boys are freed, and the New Yorkers win the hearts and respect of the locals. Great film, pretty funny, touching heart-warming comedy…yeah…DON’T DO THAT! You will lose and possibly do life without parole for a mere lane change violation.
Rather make the system work for you. Of course anybody who’s been to a school in the SEC or grew up in such environs, or has committed this blog to memory knows that. But let’s say you’ve stumbled onto this site for the first time, maybe even by accident. If you should find yourself in trouble in southern Georgia make use of the local legal system.
What I mean by that is to get a lawyer who graduated from the right law school. I didn’t say TOP law school. Top law school is irrelevant and potentially dangerous. Nobody wants to hear your lawyer brag about being top in the class at an Ivy League university. You might both end up in the slammer. No friends, the key to getting a good lawyer is picking one that went to the same college as the judge’s favorite football team. So you’re best to go with the University of Georgia. Ideally you want an attorney that speaks like Matlock, looks like a corrupt version of Gregory Peck, and can dissect the Dawgs defensive line’s chances against Florida’s passing scheme.
I’m serious. Print this essay out, cut out the preceding paragraph, and tape it to your refrigerator. You can thank me later.
Now I hope after reading this that you aren’t afraid to drive through Georgia. It’s a fine state full of fine people. Remember, we are in a recession and we all have to find ways to raise our revenue. If you follow my advice you should be okay. This article also doesn’t apply to all parts of Georgia.
For example, if you are driving near Atlanta you probably won’t have to worry about any of this. One, you’d have to be clocked at about Mach 5 to get pulled for speeding in Atlanta. Two, the rules of “Southerness” haven’t really applied to Atlanta for over 100 years, so you New Yorkers can rest easy you’re practically “home”. Third, half of the time the traffic in Atlanta is so bad only the people on foot could be truly “speeding”.
You can also speed through Georgia if you know how to outrun the law. To do THAT properly you’d best be a native and know the back roads. I’d have a few trucker friends to help or an orange race car that can fly. In either case you probably don’t really need to worry about being caught by “John Law” since you’re likely to out run ‘em anyway. But for the rest of you, here’s a summary of my advice.
- Don’t drive with Yankee plates or Disney accessories. You can always rent a car with Georgia tags.
- If you are an out-of state driver, stay in the middle lane and don’t go more than 5 mph over.
- When you see a road sign obscured by foliage assume the speed limit is no more than 45 mph.
- Should you be pulled over and stare into some mirrored sunglasses, do remember your manners. What you say and do in this moment can make all the difference in the world.
- Make sure you use a good local lawyer should you find yourself in trouble. Your lawyer should be better able to quote Herschel Walker than Alan Derschowitz.
- If you get a ticket, pay the fine, and be happy you are contributing to the economy. We all gotta make a living.
Stay smart and stay safe out there people. We could all do well to slow down a bit.
Thanks again for reading. Next week we’ll probably talk a little more about law enforcement as we discuss HOW TO…SUCCEED IN POLITICS
- Southern Blogger