History Lesson: The Founding Phratters

Hey Y’all,

Or should I say “hear ye, hear ye, y’all”? I am here in the eighteenth century as promised to bring American history to life. As you know it is political season in our century right now. Many of the politicians and partisans on both sides like to claim (or even disclaim) the Founding Fathers. Whenever I hear people quote “the Founders” rather than specific historical figures I tend to chuckle. It’s as if we assume that all people, particularly politicians from different backgrounds and colonies all thought alike. We somehow assume that just because these men achieved great things that they were somehow “demi-gods” or “supermen” that bequeathed to us our great country.

Now I’m not saying the Founding Fathers weren’t great. On the contrary. That particular generation was blessed with a remarkable group of talented scholars, soldiers, lawyers, and other leaders that came together, declared independence, won a war, and put together the Constitution we still use today. At the same time, when one reads copies of these men’s letters, diaries, and journals, we see just how human they were. They had rivalries, factions, and petty jealousies like we have in politics today. And their regional, social, and class prejudices that they launched against one another sometimes makes for some funny reading. It’s as almost if they were like….

well….

rather than just tell you I thought I could use the power of my blog to travel back in time to 1776 and meet some of the Founding Fathers. Since this is the SOUTH Will Blog Again, I invited several members of the South Carolina delegation to show us around “campus”. They will take us through Independence Hall in Philadelphia and tell us their thoughts about the delegates from the various thirteen colonies. I suspect we might get a glimpse of what also made the South different than the north back then.

We will be touring with Mr. Edward Rutledge who is the gentlemen wearing the lime green outfit with gold palmettos on his pants, Mr. Arthur Middleton Jr, who’s wearing the cape and the garnet and black Gamecocks attire, and Mr. Thomas Heyward Jr, who is dressed in sky blue with the Palmetto golf visor. Without a doubt these men are South Carolinian to the core…

so without further ado…

-Southern blogger

(YOU MAY CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE IT AND BETTER READ THE TEXT)

Charleston: Producing most of the South's Fops since 1689

Rutledge – Hello y’all. We were just at the house a bit pre-gaming it before we had to go to Congress. Southern Blogger said y’all were like from the future and stuff. Well, I guess we’re supposed to show you around and talk about the different colonies and their delegates and stuff. And like, how we’re important in history.

Middleton – Yeah Ned…I think it’ll be pretty cool. We can really show everyone our “phrattitude”. What’s that? You’ll see. Nobody and I mean nobody phrats harder than South Carolina.

Heyward – Well a few of the other colonies are pretty phrat. But we gotta warn everyone…once we meet some of the people from the Geed Northern Colonies, the phratmosphere is gonna go down to zero.

Rutledge – Well, they’ll see. Come along everybody. We’re gonna head down the street and check out Congress. I’ve already had some fresh pheasant and a couple bottles of madeira, so I’m pretty much good to go.

Middleton – Yeah me too, I just slammed a couple of drams of Triangular Trade Rum five minutes ago…I’m ready for some legislating! Who should we show them first?

Heyward – How about the other Southern Colonies? I know the Georgians and North Carolinians hang out on the side of the State House around now. Let’s check it out.

(head towards Independence Hall and turn to the right)

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: The Georgia Way to Found a Country

Rutledge – There’s some of them right there. They like to hang out at the side of the building. It gets pretty boring when everybody’s making laws and stuff. I know I have to leave the room sometimes when John Adams starts whining real loud. Man I hate that guy.

Heyward – There’s Button Gwinnett. He’s from Georgia. That guy’s pretty cool. He always carries around a loaded pistol. You never know when someone’s going to challenge your honor so you gotta be prepared. He told me he’s gonna go out in a blaze of glory. Fighting a revolution is no fun when you have to live long enough to make boring new laws.

Middleton – There’s my good friend Dr. Lyman Hall. That guy’s an animal man. He’s like a doctor but he didn’t even study. He told me he went to London to train and just copied of some majarajah from Punjab. You always see him dipping. Any doctor that dips and does cool experiments is pretty phrat.

Rutledge – Oh…haha there’s Joseph Hewes from North Carolina. Man that guy tries too hard. I mean I don’t know why the Georgians hang out with that guy. I think that camo Tri-corner hat is rather  homespun- looking don’t you think? What is he like a yeoman or something?

Heyward – No man, he’s okay…but yeah he kind of tries too hard to be down with the Southern Colonies…he’s originally from the North.

Rutledge – Oh…he must represent Charlotte then.

Middleton – Yeah…probably. Still these guys are pretty phrat…just not close as phrat to us.

Rutledge – Let’s see if we can catch the Virginians. Those guys have some major phrattitude.

(They leave the East Wing of the State House and move to the front entrance)

The Virginia Delegation: Giving the Carolinians a Run for their Money

Heyward – I see them right now. Those guys always stick together.

Middleton – Yeah I know. They kind of get on my nerves…they think they phrat so much harder than us…but man…I’ll tell you….WHOAH! Is that the new Chevy Tally-Ho Coach and Six?

Rutledge – Yeah, that it is. That is one phrattastic carriage. It uses up like two horses an hour. Costs more than the entire Colony of Rhode Island. Whose is it?

Heyward – Benjamin Harrison V. That guy is pretty phrat. He’s like a legacy in the Virginia House of Burgesses. His family has been in it for over 150 years so he doesn’t have to do anything. He just got elected here just for show. I don’t think he’s ever made a speech.

Middleton – Yeah but Richard Henry Lee has. That’s him standing next to Harrison. I like that guy. He’s pretty cool. Every time Adams starts running his mouth Lee cuts in and makes the same points. He’s a good speaker. He uses his hands and stuff. One of them’s messed up pretty bad so he keeps it in a glove. It annoys the crap out of James Wilson.That’s pretty funny. He’s a legacy too…his little brother is here now as well.

Rutledge – That him on the right?

Middleton – No man…That’s the new guy Jefferson. They didn’t send Patrick Henry this time because he got in trouble for locking his wife in the basement and he started a war with the royal governor without authorization.

Heyward – That’s a total phrat move! What’s the deal with this guy? He’s like reading…not phrat!

Rutledge – Yeah that’s kind of weird. If he’s the new guy they were talking about he’s also a Randolph…so he’s legacy. Apparently he’s got good taste in wine and gets lots of chiques so that’s pretty phrat I guess. The Virginians definitely phrat hard.

Middleton – Yeah…but not as hard as us.

Heyward – No way! I agree. Hey…we better check out the Middle Colonies before we go inside. You see all kinds of weird back there. Follow us.

(Head through the courtyard towards the rear of the State House)

Careful: You See All Kinds of Weird in the Middle Colonies

Rutledge – ‘Zounds! What’s all this?

Heyward – Yeah you must not come back here much. It’s the Middle Colonies…but some of them look like they’ve already declared their G– D— Independence! Haha.

Middleton – Total Geedfest. Well some of them are okay. There’s Charles Carroll and Caesar Rodney now. The Maryland and Delaware guys are always playing lacrosse.

Rutledge – What’s that?

Middleton – It’s some Iroqouis game they brought back with them from the Albany Conference. I think six schools belong to the Albany Conference now. Mostly the Maryland and Delaware guys play it. I guess it’s pretty phrat.

Rutledge – No…that stuff is “Brough” not “Phrat”. Playing golf and watching phootball is phratty. It’s okay…I mean they’re kind of like us in some ways. They definitely can throw a good party but they let in some Geed elements.

Heyward – That’s all some colonies let in. Check this out…those are those Signsters and Hippe-sters. Sherman and Witherspoon!

Middleton – Haha! What’s Roger Sherman wearing? Is that an ironic Hessian mustache and hat? What’s it say?

Heyward – “Don’t Mess with Hesse”. I don’t get it. That’s so macaroni!

Rutledge – And Witherspoon’s that Princeton guy. He’s into obscure symphonies. He’s always talking about these new composers I’ve never heard of like Mozart. Not classical baroque like us! Grateful Bach and Widespread Pachelbel!

Middleton – Yeah…those guys suck but they normally keep to themselves. Check out those guidos off the boat from the Papal States!

Rutledge – Man…all the delegates from Philadelphia and New York are like that. Check out Philip Livingstone.What’s he wearing? Pre-ripped breeches? How’d he get so big?

Heyward – He gets illegal prescriptions from GNC Apothecary. Benjamin Rush gives them to him. I think he’s a doctor.

Rutledge – Oh yeah…that guy’s a Townie…check it out…he’s wearing his hat backwards…and his stockings are wool not Siamese Silk like mine. GEED!

Middleton – What a waste of a phratty name like “Rush”!

Rutledge – Art…How many times do I have to tell you? “Rush” isn’t a phratty name at all! It’s like saying you’re never getting a bid. Now “Abraham Active”…THAT’S a Phratty name.

Heyward – I agree…man…let’s go inside…these guys are creeping me out.

(They head inside to the House chamber where the Continental Congress meets)

John Hancock: Bright Spot in Mass

Rutledge – Here are those guys from Massachusetts. They’re always in here. Don’t they have anything better to do than found a new nation?

Heyward – Really. I know. That guy Sam Adams is lame. He’s wearing wool hand me down stockings, and a fishmonger’s waistcoat. Total GDI. He doesn’t even ride a horse. He walks. Ha Ha!

Middleton – Looks like he’s throwing down North End gang signs. What a Geed. There’s John over on the other side.

Rutledge – Yeah I totally hate that guy. He’s always getting up in my face about independence. Man I hate independents. Who wants to be independent? Plus I hear his wife totally tells him what to do.

Heyward – Not Phrat. Yeah but at least they’ve got John Hancock with them. That guy’s one Phratty New Englander. He totally inherited his uncles whaling, textile, and wine merchant firm, and he smuggles all his supplies and doesn’t pay any taxes.

Middleton – What’s his company called?

Heyward – Vineyard Vines. He also has an insurance company named after him.

Rutlege – D— that’s phratty as ph—!

Middleton – Let’s check out the back room.

(walk past the president’s desk to the rear cloakroom)

Franklin and the Hippie Delegation: Lot's of Chemistry Going on

Middleton – Man, there’s a lot of smoke in there. I think I’m getting a contact high.

Rutledge – Yeah this is where Ben Franklin hangs out. There’s Josiah Bartlett and Stephen Hopkins. They’re all from New England and met in the Green Mountains during the 1760s.

Heyward – Yeah I can see they’ve declared a lot of Independents in here. (Cough Cough). Still…Franklin’s a cool guy…we sometimes buy our “Poor Richard’s” from him.

Rutledge – Yeah…these guys are pretty old and harmless. I agree…Franklin is like the mack of London and Paris too.

Middleton – Pretty cool for an old guy.

Rutledge – Without a doubt. Well I guess that’s pretty much it. I’m kind of losing my old buzz now and this new one will wear off pretty soon. I guess we’ve got to leave you now and show up for Congress.

Middleton – Yeah….I totally hate “nationals”.

Heyward – You said it!

- THE END


An Inside Look at…The South Will Blog Again!, 2012

Hey Y’all,

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 have exciting plans for 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.

Some people were apparently offended by my Michigan parody

“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…

A lot of people seem to want more pageant humor

“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…

This man looks awfully familiar....

“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…

Fratting Fathers, my next blog piece

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…

Some people only come here for one thing

“YEAH…OKAY SO WHEN YOU GONNA DO THAT POST ABOUT HOW LSU AND AUBURN HAVE DONE BEEN CHEATIN’?”

(Sigh)


How to…Succeed in Politics

Hey Y’all,

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 southblogagain@gmail.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.

-Southern Blogger

Don't worry I'm just washing them

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.

LBJ hard at work getting out the vote

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.

James Carville...it all makes sense now

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.

Jesse Helms and Bono a match made in WTF Heaven

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.

The Founding Fathers are asked to endorse lots of things

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.

Can YOUR Agricultural Commissioner do this New York?!?

-  Southern Blogger

NEXT WEEK: We continue with the political theme as an old friend and guest blogger stops by.


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