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As my sweet friend Erin from Blue-Eyed Bride posted on her blog a couple of weeks ago, Southern Living features great articles, here's just one example of why I love this magazine. And, by the way, I totally agree with everything this author writes!
Dear Hollywood: An open letter to our friends in showbiz, bless their hearts
by Amy Bickers
Southern Living, September 2010
Attention, Tinsel Town. As the fall TV season begins, we hope you aren’t tempted once again to dust off those Southern stereotypes that make us cringe. An example: the crime show that featured a cold case in Nashville and depicted the city’s police chief as a man who asked people to call him Big Daddy. Seriously? In a city with right around 600,000 people? We think it’s high time we let you in on a little secret. Contrary to what you might think, it’s really not all moonlight and magnolias down here. It’s not all cats on hot tin roofs, either.
For starters, Southern women do not go around saying things like “Why, I nev-aaaahhh!” or “I do declare!” (Okay, sometimes we do say that stuff, but we’re kidding. The same is true when we yell “Free Bird!” at, say, a Celtic Woman concert. We are in on the joke.) More than 70 years have passed since Scarlett stood on that hill and bellyached about Tara, yet you can visit your local cineplex or turn on the tube any day of the week and hear actresses doing that accent. And frankly, my dears, we do give a, er, care about how very wrong that is, especially when they’re playing truck drivers or steelworkers. But, in your defense, it’s easier to channel Scarlett than to nail the difference between a New Orleans accent, which sounds like Brooklyn on gumbo, and a West Texas accent, which is as dead level as the prairie it came from. Kudos to the HBO drama Treme for getting it right. Then again, it’s filmed in the city and casts actual New Orleanians, so the real props go to our fellow Southerners for keeping it real. (As for the accents of those Louisiana vampires in True Blood? No. Just no.)
Using actual Southerners doesn’t always help, though. Southern-born celebs are sometimes the worst offenders. We won’t name names, but we’re looking at you, Julia R. Even Reese Witherspoon, who did our beloved June Carter proud in Walk the Line and was just a pistol in her Man in the Moon debut, veered offtrack in a film we won’t name, playing a New York City fashion designer who hides her Southern past because she grew up in a trailer with a Civil War-re-enacting daddy and a mama who makes bologna cake. Who among us has ever heard of bologna cake? Does that take buttercream frosting?
Stereotypes are tempting—we get that. And if you need to telegraph “Southern,” the easy route is to trot out Bubba or Big Daddy and have him drawl like Foghorn Leghorn while driving a pickup and spitting into a dip cup. But the thing is, we love the South. We live in it, and not, for the most part, in rusted-out camper trailers or Greek Revival mansions. You’d be shocked if we told you how few of us have verandas. Are you sitting down? Some of us live in condos.
And one last thing: We have air conditioning. You know, that thing that makes it feel cooler inside than it is outside? We do have it. And that is why we do not sweat indoors. We do not glisten and fan ourselves while sitting in courthouses or hospitals or grocery stores. In fact, because of the South’s obsession with AC, our public buildings are often so cold in the summer that we have to keep a sweater handy in July. Stop showing us sweating, please. Unless it’s Texas native Matthew McConaughey and he’s “lost” his shirt yet again. We’ll give you a pass on that one.