Sunday, January 1, 2017

What it's like in the South...

Yesterday, I spent the last day of 2016 watching the classic first seasons of Dallas.  I am very fond of old TV shows that were popular when I was young.  I'd rather watch old stuff from the 70s and 80s than any of the new stuff on TV today.

Anyway, as I was watching Dallas, it occurred to me that all these grown men in their middle aged glory were calling their fathers "daddy".  I thought it was creepy and said so on Facebook.  Sure enough, I got a bunch of annoying comments from people trying to tell me what it's like in the South.

Now... some of the people on my friends list are people who have never met me and wouldn't necessarily know that I was born and raised in a southern state and lived in four others.  I'm quite well-versed about southern culture and the traditions within it.  Moreover, my husband is also from a southern state... a different one than where I'm from.  And if there was something about the Mid-South that I missed growing up in the Southeastern United States, he's been quite willing to tell me about it.

Add in the fact that I'm on the rag and feeling really hormonal and bitchy and you have a potentially explosive situation.  I am sad to say that I lost my temper just slightly when a former college suitemate, who is originally from Mississippi, attempted to school me about what it's like in the Deep South.  She tried to tell me that Virginia is a "different kind" of south.  Like people from Virginia are supposedly more polished and uppity, as if they've been to finishing school or something.  She's not the first person to tell me this about Virginia, either.

Having spent time living in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, I can say that there are plenty of low brow southern folks in Virginia.  Maybe there aren't as many as there might be in Alabama or Arkansas, but they definitely do exist and I have run into them repeatedly.

Apparently, despite my having lived a significant portion of my life in the South, my friends think I somehow missed that everyone there calls their parents Momma and Daddy and flings terms of endearment around at total strangers.  Actually, I didn't miss that.  My own parents, both of whom are Virginians, called their parents Momma and Daddy, though neither of them were ever fond of the cutesy pet names that card carrying southern folk are supposed to use liberally among friends and strangers alike.  I would say the idea that southerners use pet names and call their parents Momma and Daddy is really just a stereotype that shows like Dallas helped perpetuate.

Most of the actors on Dallas weren't actually southerners, nor was that show conceived or written by southerners...  Indeed, David Jacobs, who created Dallas is a Jew from Baltimore, Maryland (which could be considered the South because it's a city below the Mason-Dixon line).  I highly doubt he was raised with southern sensibilities, though.  Moreover, many of the writers on Dallas hailed from New York City.

So where did all this "daddy" shit come from, anyway?  Apparently, people up in the North think it's simply what southerners do.  Have a look at what the late George Carlin said about it.


As a southerner (really), I agree with George Carlin on this issue...

Anyway, Happy New Year...  I'm hoping my hormones will level out today and I'll feel less bitchy.  



2 comments:

  1. My Okie-Arkie-north--central Texas and their california transplants adult relatives of relatives call their parents momma and daddy. In the cases of the people who are related to relatives of mine, i'd be willing to venture that it's more of a class thing than of a regional thing, which is not to imply that every adult who calls his parents momma and daddy is low class -- just that those who are related to relatives of mine are.

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    Replies
    1. It was kind of a ridiculous discussion we were having. But then, I am kind of a master at ridiculous discussions.

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