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’?”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.