For several years now, I’ve been listening to a weekly NPR podcast called Pop Culture Happy Hour. It’s a tremendous show, and one I recommend frequently to others. If you’re curious, you can find it on the Monkey See blog at NPR.
The editor/primary writer of that blog is Linda Holmes, who I may have written about before on this blog (or some earlier iteration of it). Being a “pop culture” writer seems like a tough job to me, balancing humor with seriousness about topics that most people don’t take seriously at all.
Though I don’t remember reading her on Television Without Pity (a website I used to follow a lot in college, when I still watched network TV), I do read her essays for Monkey See, and I think it’s important to call them essays rather than “blog posts” to emphasize the thought and analysis that goes into many of them. These could easily be included in a print essay anthology, though I am happy they instead appear in my blog feed (now using The Old Reader, f*you very much Google for getting rid of Reader).
One of Linda’s latest pieces is on Paula Deen, and this observation hit home for me:
These revelations didn’t only hurt Deen with a certain number of people who don’t consider themselves part of a southern tradition, who may have recoiled from things like her recitation of her dreamed wedding that sounded very much like a plantation fantasy. They also hurt her with a segment of southerners who know that every time this happens, every time a southern lady acts like everybody knows most jokes are about black people and Jewish people and rednecks, they have to listen to an avalanche of obnoxious Yankee generalizing about how no one should expect anything else from a southern lady of a certain age, which is, of course, false.
My mother must feel this even more than I do. She’s lost her accent over the past couple of decades, but I’m sure she has to deal with a whole range of stereotypes when she tells people she’s from Texas.