Welcome to this press conference. I’m here today to discuss my plans for this website for the upcoming year. As you may know, I recently got back from a strange fictitious trip to Michigan, and lived to post about it. Some of you were doubtless wondering what that was all about and why I failed to post about the LSU-Alabama National Championship game (for the 12th time this year).
Well today I will explain some of the things we’ll be doing on TSWBA, our upcoming posts, cartoons, and satires, and I’ll open the floor up to any questions or suggestions you may have. This will be an open forum and will in no way be an attempt by me to satire and lampoon my own website and audience. I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.
But first, I’d like to welcome all of you here today. I see some of my regular readers in the crowd, the sorority pageant girls, the frat boys who got here searching for politically incorrect pictures, the SEC trash talkers of which I see plenty of Alabama and LSU types, the disgruntled Colonel Reb supporters (I’m with you brothers and sisters), the classic country music fans, James Brown aficionados, Paula Dean supporters, Jim Bowie is the Chuck Norris meme spoofers, those linked to me via Facebook, transplanted Southerners pining for Dixie, protesters from the state of Michigan, and of course last but not least, the people who stumbled onto this site by accident.
Welcome all of you.
I started this site about six months ago as a way to blog, educate others about, and lampoon the culture of the South I love. I had very little prior blogging experience, but I had (literally) a notebook full of funny ideas and plenty of time on my hands. I thought up the name The South Will Blog Again!, purchased a WordPress domain name and a custom font, and launched in August. I had a lot of help from my friend the Budget Blonde, and some Facebook forwarding help from my friends Jaci, Chris, and Ray in particular. There were other forwarders out there along the way including other blogs and web sites. Many of those people I will never meet. But I thank you all.
Originally I was going to do a standard blog site, using hot linked pictures and adding a few paragraphs about them. But then I got to thinking. Lots of people do that. Those pictures wouldn’t be mine. And those pictures could disappear. Then I remembered how much I use to like to draw on MS Paint. Years ago when I first started my career as a museum educator I used to draw history cartoons on the computer for my children’s programs, worksheets, and fliers. It took a lot of practice, but it was fun, and quite popular. Then I stopped doing them for a while. This site gave me the chance to start drawing again, but on a variety of topics. If you look back to my first barbecue piece, it took a few weeks of trial and error to get the hang of it again and to make the images stand out. I’ve tried switching to better programs, but have kept Paint due to its ease of use and simple “cartoony” style images.
After deciding on that, I began to think about writing stories and long satires rather than simple short sentences and paragraphs. This kind of went against the grain of what most (non-political) websites do, but I had faith that my readers would be the sort that liked to hear a good yarn. The world moves too darn fast, and the internet is part of the reason. Why not use the internet to preserve some of our Southern culture by spinning tall tales and not taking life so seriously?
So after exhausting much of my early notebook of ideas as well as some requests and topical pieces, we are now averaging about 300-400 views per week. I thank you for that. Hopefully we can continue to grow. Before I tell you some of my ideas and plans for this year are there any questions? If you have a question please step up to the microphone and tell us your name and then state your peace..ah yes you sir, please go ahead.
“Yes…hi…my name is Bob Richie. Um…I’m what you call a bit of an entertainer/producer/artist…yeah…so are you finally done making fun of Michigan? That was kind of harsh man…I mean I’m not from up there or anything…I’m from down here…good ole Southern Rocker…but you know some of them are down with the South too! Seems like you’re trying to alienate them.”
Hmmm…well thanks for the suggestion Kid Rock. I’m sorry you were so offended by my Michigan piece. For those of you that were confused, I did in fact parody Michigan because of a bet I lost to a Wolverine grad. I had to praise Yankees, liberalism, Michigan culture, and the Big Ten for three days. It was a bit disturbing. So when that was over, I had been in a blogger’s block so I decided to turn that experience into a story. I had been holding onto a Wizard of Oz parody idea for some time and this seemed to fit perfectly. Any time Southern Blogger heads up to the North it’s like going into another dimension.
Now with that being said…the good news Kid Rock is that Michigan is off the hook. And no, Michigan didn’t really get it that bad because I kind of like Michigan people. If you want to see bad…well..
I might at a later point parody other Northern locales I’ve been too. I have a major ax to grind against the city of Boston, and neighboring Cambridge, based on a nine-day work trip I had there in 2006. That would certainly make good TSWBA fodder and will make the Michigan jokes seem quite tame. I also feel that the West Coast has gotten off too lightly. So Michigan…all’s well and all in good fun. We got rid of Michael Moore for you and I raise you a can of Vernor’s.
Oh…I’m also planning to use the concept of movie parodies again. Plenty of things could work such as the Lord of the Rings, the Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Gettysburg, or Braveheart…we’ll just have to see if the mood hits me. Those parodies and drawings take three times the work, so I wouldn’t expect another one for a while.
Next question….yes you ma’am…
“Hello my name is Kayleigh Ann Duprise, Miss South Will Blog Again 2012. And besides reading Southern blogs my passion is giving internet access to the hungry children of Togo. My sisters and I LOVE your blog…well we’ve only read one of the posts…but your pageant post was amazing! You should do more like that! And oh..oh! Fashion tips…like how to match your tiara with you Fall collection!”
Thanks for the advice and compliments Kayleigh, and for well improving my ratings. Um..well first of all I have to admit that the pageant post would not have been possible without my friend Budget Blonde who supplied me with the stories. There’s no way in the world I would have known about butt spray for example. Due to my lack of pageant experience and female anatomy I’m not sure how much more of those types of posts I could do…but I am up for allowing more guest blogging in the future. In fact until the SEC championship game knocked it off, that post was my most popular single day, and week, in this blog’s brief history. So I’m sure we can work something out you and your sisters, including your “sisters” in cyberspace, would like.
Oh speaking of the SEC…I see we have what appears to be an LSU fan in pimp attire…yes sir…
“Yes, hey man…my name is Bobby KR Rich…I’m a big fan…I’m also a huge fan of the pimpingest team in the universe the LSU Tigers! Are you going to do more SEC football posts? You don’t seem to have done enough of them. I search for cartoons bashing my rival schools all the time. We need all the cartoon help we can get if we are going to beat Bama this year. Oh..and are you going to call those Bama fans out for what they did to that LSU guy? You know, on Bourbon Street the other day? Isn’t that stereotypical!”
“THEY STARTED IT! THEY BE ALL JEALOUS AND STUFF OF ALL OUR CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHIES AND SUCH. I OUGHT TO POISON ALL OF THEM…WHY…THEY STARTED IT!!!”
Calm down Harvey Updyke! You’ll get your turn….(sigh)…
Look I know it’s you Kid Rock. I know you made a costume change five minutes ago, and now are embracing SEC football in order to seem more Southern, more country, and to branch off into hard rocking rap-Zydeco….(sigh)…and you and Harvey both please stop saying “we” you guys are tools, you fight too much, and you didn’t go to those schools.
If I’ve tried to do anything on my site, it’s to tell my own SEC stories and observations of other students and fans. I have never had problems as an Ole Miss grad getting along with students and alumni of any of the other schools. In fact I count many of them as close friends. We all share the same culture and stories. And we all share the same dismissive attitude towards Yankee football.
But nevertheless, I’m aware that my site traffic is due largely to SEC trash talk. If I lampoon LSU and Bama “sidewalk alums” the most, it’s because the “pimp fans” and “tree poisoner” types are the most obnoxious, most obvious, and easiest fans to bust on. If other teams start winning more their fans will become worse, and y’all will be off the hook.
While I’ll likely wait until late summer to do another SEC football post, I’ll probably do a post or two with some Ole Miss stories that should relate to graduates of any of those schools. I also plan to cover Southern minor league baseball culture this spring (think Bull Durham), and doubtless will NEED to bust on that Carpetbagger Duke basketball program. I’d also like to cover my take on the Masters, the Kentucky Derby, and other Southern sporting events.
Okay well besides what I’ve already mentioned I will tell you a few other plans I have…
If you don’t recall, I am a historian by training, education, profession, and well personal interest. I love history, I love satire, and I really love combining the two. So far I’ve done two history pieces, my Andrew Jackson tips on dueling “guest blog” and my Robert E Lee tips for winning a battle. As of yet, I haven’t done the 18th century. And that happens to be my favorite time period.
Since politics has been in the news lately, a lot of people like to argue over, harken to, and quote the Founding Fathers. Everybody (except far left loons and arch Tories) loves the Founders and I’m no exception. They were great. But I find it amusing that many people quote them as if they all agreed with one another, and all were of the same mind and background. I’ve studied these men and their writings for years. Many of them hated each other. Most of them were from upper class backgrounds. They also had strong regional differences. Well…albeit deliberately anachronistic, I thought it would be funny to re-imagine the Founders as Frat Boys. There’s a lot of talk online about the differences in fraternities in the North and South. This talk and these differences among today’s young and privileged seems a lot like the sniveling some of the Founders made against one another. So for my next blog piece I’m going to give the Fathers of our country the proper TSWBA treatment. It should be a good one.
So I hope I can make y’all laugh, and learn at the same time, without always having to come back to SEC football…
anything else? Yes…
“YEAH…OKAY SO WHEN YOU GONNA DO THAT POST ABOUT HOW LSU AND AUBURN HAVE DONE BEEN CHEATIN’?”
Well old times here are not forgotten and neither is this blog. I’ve been away for the past few weeks job searching, running errands, and getting ready for Christmas. I hadn’t had much time to properly cartoon and I figured y’all wouldn’t want to read an article sans cartoons. In any case, I’m sorry it took so long, but I think I might have come up with a good post here.
My last post, which was three weeks ago, was on Southern pageant culture. Our guest blogger, the Budget Blonde did an excellent job with her stories. We smashed the record for most hits in a day the day it was posted. It also generated a lot of discussion. It’s interesting to me that the most popular posts and search engine results for this blog have been for subjects such as beauty queens, football trash talking, and believe it or not Preston Brooks. Despite our other talents in music, cuisine, and literature, it means Southerners are very passionate about beauty and violence. If I were some Yankee I might act appalled and try to psycho-analyze this, but nah…that sounds about right to me.
Instead, I’ve decided to do a final college football post for the season. Now friends, this is not simply just a crass attempt to get more site hits, but rather my last chance to cartoon my favorite subject for the year. With all the bowl games on television, including such gems as the Maalox Bowl, and the Famous Kansas Whole Grain Wheat Bowl, I’m reminded of one thing…our people totally and utterly dominate the sport…that is when you get to the real games.
The rest of the country knows it too. See, I’ve been reading some college football message boards and sport news comments lately. Yankees, well many of them, are really mad that two Southern schools, in the same conference, in the same division, are playing for the national championship game (I guess they couldn’t find a patsy this year). And of course, with that, we have to get all the usual snide remarks and put downs about our people. Which of course brings out my inner Preston Brooks, and thus…
Well, rather than argue on the useless forum of message boards, I decided to retaliate the best way I know how. After all, the cartoon, is mightier than the message board. So without further ado I bring y’all and Inside look at why we love (and dominate) college football.
- Southern Blogger
In the Beginning…
It used to not be that way. Strange as it seems now, there was once a time when the South wasn’t very good at football. Football began as a northeastern sport, a blue-blood rugby-style game, that came out of the prep schools and colleges of the Northeast. Remember folks, the Ivy League was first a sports conference before it became an academic cachet. Consider how many teams copied the Bulldogs and Tigers names from Yale and Princeton. It was a rough and tumble sport for rich kids to prove their manhood, similar culturally to lacrosse today. Think of the schools that are good at lacrosse today, and you have the schools that dominated football 100 years ago.
Football, because of its speed and violence was an immediate hit. And it became popular in Dixie eventually as well. Yet the best coaches and players in the South came from north of the Mason-Dixon line. It was still a Yankee game. Even as the sport became more democratic and public schools and Catholic schools became dominant, the game’s elite teams were largely the teams that comprise the modern Big Ten.
Things started to change in the 1920s and 1930s. A new generation of Southern born players and coaches emerged. The Southeastern Conference was formed. Schools like Alabama went out west to the Rose Bowl and won. Georgia Tech and Duke (when it was a Southern school) became gridiron powerhouses. Southern players such as Don Hutson and Charley Trippi became household names. Throughout the Great Depression and leading up to World War Two, the South’s great college teams gave hope and voice to a beaten down people. Regional rivalries were put aside as Southerners united to cheer on Georgia, Auburn, or Alabama whenever they played Michigan, Nebraska, or Notre Dame. Southern pride put on pads and a leather helmet. Following World War Two the game became increasingly more Southern.
Passionate about the things we love…
Well that’s how this whole obsession began. And obsession is the word. If you have ever spent any time in the South, particularly the Deep South in the Fall, all of the talk is about college football, well regional college football. Preachers in Alabama will ask God to bless the Tigers or Crimson Tide (depending on their faith) at the end of services. Ladies at the beauty parlor (and we still call them beauty parlors) discuss the merits of Mississippi State’s latest recruiting class or Georgia’s running game. A neighborhood kid getting recruited to Florida is more important than being elected president.
And when you come down for a visit, you better be prepared to talk shop. My college roommate at Ole Miss remarked about how he once tried to bring up a non-SEC school at the barber shop. The barbers were talking about high school teams, then Ole Miss, then the other conference teams when he brought up Michigan State (where his father went to school). Michigan State of the Big Ten…”the Big What son?” was the reply.
Point being, we don’t really care so much about other schools and conferences. Doubtless you’d have to be a real ignoramus not to acknowledge the traditions and talents of say USC , Nebraska, or Ohio State. I’m sure those gentlemen knew of those programs. Only down there there is an attitude of “we don’t care how you do it up North”. I think with older generations especially, it comes from a time when the rest of the country put the South down, even in things like football. For decades the national title votes, Heisman votes, and marquee bowl games went to Midwestern and West Coast schools, at the expense of good Southern teams, which makes it all the more ironic when those folks up there complain about SEC dominance today.
We also stick together. During bowl season, and even at times during non-conference regular games, you will hear a chant from students and fans of SEC teams. Much like the Olympic “U-S-A, U-S-A” chant, you will hear an “S-E-C, S-E-C” chant at the end of a game the conference wins. And back at home we are all chanting this whatever our school affiliation. As an Ole Miss grad, I may hate LSU and Mississippi State, but I darn sure will cheer for them against anyone else. Conference pride, regional pride matters. We are all from the same family, even if some of the schools are our “misguided cousins”. Blood is thicker than alma mater. To my knowledge other conferences just don’t do that. Would an Ohio State grad root for Michigan? Does USC pull for UCLA in their game? Not really. “Big-Ten, Big-Ten” is not a chant. It’s not even the right number of schools. And I thought they were supposed to be better at math than us.
It’s all about family…
In the South our college teams are beloved members of our extended family. They are in our thoughts and prayers always, and we support them win or lose. We are even quite irrational in defense of them. Our college teams and our alma maters are things that our passed down from generation to generation. That same sharecropping family in Alabama that listened to Dixie Howell lead the Crimson Tide to victory in 1935 might later have sent two generations of students to the University. Like our football programs, our schools and our region have improved dramatically over the past few decades. No longer a rural poor backwater, the South now boasts top universities, economic and population growth, cultured urban centers, and our share of success stories off the field.
The South has risen again. It hasn’t risen again in secession or Civil War, but rather risen from defeat and Depression to become a powerful and integral part of the United States culturally, politically, and economically. We’ve come a long way as a people, yet in our football pride and power, we still assert the things that made us who we were and are…our sense of military prowess and pride. We get hit, and hit ‘em back harder and rise gain.
We will join the rest of you come Olympics time and say “U-S-A, U-S-A” but right now it’s bowl season…
- Southern Blogger
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made my last post. Thankfully due to lots of people using Google for SEC trash talk, my site stats have done pretty well from people stumbling here while this blog has been on auto-pilot. Y’all will have to forgive me. I have spent the last two weeks on some paid writing projects, both the editing and writing kind, and I interviewed for a job in North Carolina. So, now that I have had a few days to catch up, I got my cartoons done and I finally get to publish a post contributed by my friend and special guest.
My friend Cat, who’s also known as the , got me into blogging a few months ago. She was nice enough to let me contribute a guest post on her site a few weeks ago. In return, I asked for her assistance in writing the post on Southern Pageants, which was the contest winner, during the poll I had to pick the next South Will Blog Again topic. My experience with pageants has been quite limited so I needed someone who’s been immersed (she’s been a pageant winner) in that culture to report on things that I could then in turn satirize and cartoon. And now here we are
As I said earlier, my experience with pageants has been rather limited. I did however have the good fortune to attend the Univeristy of Mississippi. Ole Miss has produced three Miss America winners, and countless Miss Mississippis. If you spend five minutes on campus and look around you can see why. In any event, when I was an undergrad, a Miss Mississippi from the year before lived in my apartment complex. It’s the kind of thing that you hear about and make a point of not forgetting. After hours of daydreaming about my first encounter one day I ran into her at the mailboxes….literally. I remembered she chuckled and smiled and said something charming in that wonderful accent, and 20 year old me, just stammered and said something stupid.
I’ve told this story a lot and can just hear my friend Cat reminding me that she’s heard me tell it about a million times. But since most of you are strangers in cyberspace, you get to hear all my “old” stories quite “new”. It’s one of the beauties of having a blog. Well, Cat and I are good friends from graduate school, and her husband and I are also good friends that share SEC war (football) stories despite his having attended LSU. They live overseas now, so this guest post, was sort of done “interview” style over Skype, Facebook, and email. I hope y’all enjoy!
What is something about pageants that someone from the outside would never know?
“With recent shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, pageant girls are getting a bad rap. I loved competing in pageants for several years growing up. It actually requires quite rigorous preparation, from reading the news every morning to practicing interview questions and talent performances every day. Still, there have been some really funny moments I’ve experienced in pageants. I’ll never forget the first time I learned about butt spray. You have to have it. Otherwise, your bathing suit will ride up and your rear end is visible to hundreds of people. Ironically, football players use a similar product to make winning catches. See, pageants can be a lot like football “
Do you have a funny story from your pageant days that you would like to share?
“One of my fondest memories was travelling to Washington, D.C. with several other pageant queens. All of us wore our crowns and sashes to the airport, representing our communities. Looking back, this scene must have been absolutely hilarious. We got to the security point and the first pageant queen just froze. All of us had about a hundred bobby pins and a bottle of hairspray in our hair keeping our crowns on. I think the first queen must have batted her eyelashes because all of us got to keep our crowns on as we walked through security, and sure enough, the metal detectors went off every time. Well all made it in one piece, crowns on our heads. I’m sure each of us had a raging headache after an entire plane ride to D.C. with crowns on, but a pageant girl never complains. My mom always said you have to suffer to be beautiful. “
Is there a lot of griping and backstabbing between the girls backstage?
“The vast majority of pageant girls and pageant moms were great fun to hang out with. We road tripped all over the state and I am still friends with many of them to this day. Of course there is always one, or in this case a mother/daughter combo that makes things difficult and isn’t very nice. Once, the girl offered to “loan me her brain” for an interview. But her mom takes the cake. The most bizarre thing her mom did was buy a convertible (for the use in Mardi Gras parades of course) and put signs on the car “Miss Teen So & So” to use every single day. So, when most of us rented a car for parades and put our magnetic signs on the car for just that, this girl rode around in a convertible all the time with stickers on the car of her title. Every day that convertible would pull into school and I just shook my head in amazement, hoping no one thought all pageant girls were that way!”
I’ve noticed on Facebook that you treat pageants like your husband and I treat college football. What are your traditions?
Yeah, I like to watch Miss America on tv and text and call my mom, grandma, cousin, and pageant friends with comments.
Last year I wasn’t too thrilled with my mom because she fell asleep on me, scratch that from the record. lol
Unfortunately pageants do get a bad rap these days. While its doubtless that beauty is (and should) be part of the competition, the girls that compete and who are successful also show an inner beauty. If there is one thing I’ve noticed about Southern pageant girls; it’s that they grow up to be successful Southern women. And there’s nothing wrong with a lady that can run a family, manage a career, achieve an education, and still know how to put on the charm, with that “magnolia” in her voice. That’s what makes Southern women special…and why they should always win any contest hands down. Of course, I could be a bit biased…