Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Mind of the Old South


A review of All Clever Men, Who Make Their Own Way: Critical Discourse in the Old South, edited with an introduction by Michael O’Brien. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press. 1982. 456 pages.

The intellectual history of the South is yet to be written. This assertion bootlegs two assumptions that do not go unchallenged. The first is that there is something called the South distinct enough to have a history. There are those who, from a variety of standpoints, dispute this premise. Some seem to feel that the South is evil and that therefore it is best treated as spurious and unreal, a kind of temporary aberration from the norm of a progressive democratic universe. For others the South is intangible, dubiously quantifiable, and therefore we should concern ourselves with other things about which we can make more reliable, scientific generalizations. These challenges would seem to be overruled by common sense. The South must be in some sense a historical reality— millions have for generations acted as though it were, and even today, hundreds of presumptively sane people throughout the globe are devoting careers to studying it.


  1. Having been raised in the North and West Coast, all I found were closet bigots who pretended not to be when around blacks or Mexicans. The reality is the South has a deep respect for all it's fellow friends and neighbors, not that they don't have disagreements, but it's not about skin color. I found so little racism in the South that if racism was food, one would have starved to death trying to find it. Nowadays, unless it is imported from the Northerners trying to settle here, you will be hard pressed to find it. I can't speak to what it was like 100 years ago. But if I were to bet my life on it, I think there are pockets of racism throughout the states, and the world and is perpetuated by anyone who wants to blame someone else for their failures and lack of responsibility. If one wants to be so ignorant as to think racism is limited or attributed to only one location on this earth, have at it, but your sorely misguiding yourself...and I would ask ... to what purpose? Look to the character of your fellow man if you want develop a friendship. And smile more.