Thursday, June 01, 2006


So I was reading this article that seems to be "City Boy on Safari into the American Heartland." I didn't like the patronizing attitude the author took;
Grunt and Grumble is the language of rural life, the patois of builders and contractors, farmers and volunteer firefighters. It has the rhythms of a David Mamet play. Sentences go unfinished, assumptions are made, key words are savored, in a kind of incantation. Everyone understands everything everyone else is saying, or pretends to.

the sort of emasculating condescention;
It's essential to rural life: part news, part education, even part (shhh) support group....Men in my upstate town rarely engage in deep emotional discussions about their anxieties.

or the final enlightenment and discovery of the hillbilly wisdom.
Once I grasped this, certain local behaviors made more sense. I'd puzzled, for example, about why Anthony drove to Stewart's for his morning juice and bagel when his wife, Holly, had the same breakfast menu at home. Then, joining him one morning, I understood.

But there was one thing I did get from the article that I didn't exactly realize while I was reading it the first time. While this sort of thing seems like cosmopolitanism making fun of rural vernacular, I had my own enlightenment and discovery in it that this is very similar to making fun of those 'coffee shop liberals.'

Can't you see it? The rural folk have 'grunt & grumble' and the cosmopolitans have 'half-caff soy-milk lattes.' Put 'em together, and you have some full blown American multiculturalism.


lagnsfit said...

I think this comment on the original article sums it up pretty well:

Guys living in urban cities and/or blue states "grunt and grumble" too.

Except instead of saying "yeh, yup, man, nah" they say "I hear ya", "hear ya (short)", "I herd", "dude", "man", "I hear you bra", "ya herd", "aight", "true that", etc. At least the rural version is more efficient (though not by much). Grunting and grumbling is pretty universal. Except doing it the urban way is more "hip".


I live in a metro area now and frequently visit my family out in the cotton-and-tobacco fields of south GA. They definitely live a different lifestyle and I love it. While I don't think I could live quite as far out there as they are on a permanent basis it's very refreshing to go there for several days and unwind.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I didn't even see a comments section until you pointed out. To that comment, I would have to say: "true, true."

S.A.W.B. said...

how could 'senbassador' leave out the ever popular 'preciaiteit'? I mean, that's the Universal Southern Fraternal Code Word for 'Thanks for nothing, you clown. Now watch as me and my friends in our popped collars, short shorts, and hats-cum-visors point and laugh at you.'