Several Facebook group members have alerted me to a story on Lisa Birnbach and “The Official Preppy Handbook” in Garden & Gun magazine. I assumed it was a new story, but in fact it dates to 2015. Perhaps it was from the print edition and was just recently archived online.
Quotes Birnbach in the piece:
I hadn’t really been to the South before 1980. There were things that just floored me—the beauty, the manners, the hospitality. Oh, and the concept of the Southern gentleman—that was very, very attractive. In those pre-Starbucks, pre-everything-looking-the-same days, there was so much local culture and particularity, especially in the South. Richmond, Charleston, Dallas, New Orleans—they all have their own interpretation of the South, which is something I didn’t really realize until I spent time there.
Check out “Pop That Collar: Revisiting The Preppy Handbook” right here. — CC
So many people who have never even visited the South assume that all Southern women dress like Daisy Duke and the men act like trucker cap wearing rednecks and tobacco chewing hicks. It’s almost comical.
The reality is very different. The average Southerner is more preppy, better dressed and much more gracious than a Yankee. Especially in cities like Charleston.
How absurd. And insensitive. Ivy style, I used to love you for your intelligence and thoughtfulness. But now, after several years of loyal reading ( and even a few posts) I am deleating you from my bookmarks, and bidding you farewell. I can stay in my actual (not virtual) bubble of northeastern establishment Ivy, among people who know, respect and practice the codes. And if your readers need those social codes enumerated, well…they need more than a copy of OPH.
Anybody heard from Brad Cole?
I think that PhillyTrad’s comment may be related to the recent tragedy in Charlottesville with the scum bucket Brownshirts.
Learned and genteel people from Yankeeland who have spent any significant time in the South usually recognize what a wonderful place it is. Friendly and courteous residents, football game tailgates, regional favorite foods, inexpensive living, on and on. It was always sort of a surprise to me that folks are generally better dressed than in the Northeast and upper Midwest. A bonus is the Ivy style of many folks.
No need to mention the ubiquitous pretty girls.
@Vern Trotter A very astute and accurate observation, especially with respect to the trad clothing and the fairer sex.
I must’ve missed something here. Anywho…
The South has risen again in its buttressing of the sartorial stalwarts. We’ve always held our own and will continue to do so.
So, I’ve been a fan of this site for three or four years and I commend the editorial content though I’ve never commented…the silent majority I suppose. Like many of you I love J Press, the Andover Shop, Brooks for all its permutations, Paul Stuart and so on…. but we are entering a very difficult time in our democracy….and maybe that sparks some debate on the site. For what its worth I was born in Richmond and raised south of Boston, So be it.
Very bad timing.
What’s next? A post on Charlottesville Style?
sorry, my timing?
CC, apparently you need to create safe spaces for some of your readers… I hear one of the Neo-Nazi’s was from Ohio, please don’t do a story on Cuff’s.
I’m from New England and have traveled extensively in the South. Much of it is a total shit hole – and, of course, the data supports this: the worst public schools in the country, terrible infrastructure, generally bad public health, extreme racial discord, low quality of life scores, backwards/regressive social and political policies, and so on. Basically, the deep south ranks at the bottom in almost any meaningful ranking or survey (as they have for decades). Sure, there are a couple nice cities – that border on caricatures of themselves (Charleston, New Orleans, etc.) – but they’re not representative of the region by a long shot. The South seems hellbent on clinging to the past (the 1850s it appears; which is why they continue to elect leaders that are generally incapable of leading). Yes, there are some people who live in the South who dress well – this obvious reality isn’t symbolic of some larger value or debt of admiration.
Thanks in part to he OPH, “preppy” will always invite affiliations with a 70s(ish) vibe. Long hair, sideburns. Funny how the preppiest cars are those late 70s/early 80s Mercedes and Volvos. There was a WASPy-hippie thing at work in those days. Hard to describe. You know when you see it.
Man up everybody.
@VEA Apparently you are an expert in the field of things that are not true.
VEA knows what he’s talking about.
Google “McKinsey state rankings 2016” and get back to me. Dick.
Dick is McKinsey’s first name?
I call bullsh#t on the McKinsey rankings. Three of the four authors are from the Northeast: Boston, NYC, and D.C. Not surprisingly, New England ranks #1 overall in their (not so) humble opinion.
About the authors “André Dua is a senior partner in McKinsey’s New York office, Susan Lund is a partner in the Washington, DC, office, Navjot Singh is a senior partner in the Boston office, and Tim Ward is a senior partner in the Southern California office.”
It maybe Sacksuit’s other nickname
AEV and H.Korn
Bless your hearts.
See what I did there Hong Kong Joe san?
Troy Shirtmaker’s Guild blue and white university strip, solid red tie (Rooster), Trafalgar engine turned belt and cordovan strap, Bill’s Khakis flat front and cuffed and BB cordovan loafers. Grey and black striped NATO band on Omega Seamaster. No socks and a smile on my face.
It’s worth noting which side resorted to name calling in this “debate”.
Oh great. Here we go. More political claptrap on a fashion blog of all places. You people who live your agenda-filled lives must be exhausted all the time. I really don’t know how you do it.
I was born overseas (military brat), went to school in the Midwest (school starts with THE and has the best damn band in the land) and moved to Florida twenty seven years ago. Yes, Florida, the state some think is the worst in the southland. Know what? I wouldn’t move back up north for anything.
Let me enlighten some of you about my adopted southern state:
1.) Florida Southern College, Lakeland. Largest collection of FLW architecture in the world, consistently ranked by U.S. News and Report as one of the best private schools in the south, Harvard Review called it the prettiest campus in the south.
2.) Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota. Two student created an animated short film (In a Heartbeat) that created a viral sensation last week. Content-a boy’s first crush on another boy. Yep. Gay content. Clutch your pearls.
3.)Naples/Palm Beach/Sarasota. Some of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. Your northeastern Bush family vacations in Boca Grande.
So stop with you generalizations about the south. Most southerners are transplanted northerners anyway. And Christian, stop your political baiting. Polite society doesn’t talk about money, politics or religion.
Oh, and by the way, the man who killed the woman in Charlottesville, was from Ohio . So you people who want a race war to prove your moral superiority may just get one after all. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
As you would say “Man up”, or better yet get a sense of humor.
I’m smoking my pipe and don’t consider this a fashion blog nor do I believe I engaged in political baiting.
“Put that in your pipe and smoke it” was not addressed to you but more a rhetorical statement-I was quoting the Dowager Countess Lady Violet. Just ironic you smoke a pipe. My commentary was more directed at VEA and others like him/her. I should have clarified. Remember, I live in the south. We ain’t big on schoolin’. Apologies.
I still think IMHO the article was not-so-subtle political baiting. Timely or not.
Thank you for allowing the discourse.
Smoking Cohibas later today. Tee time at 1430 for nine holes. How is your swing coming along? Incidentally, I consider yours to be a lifestyle blog par excellence.
AEV and H.Horn- I keep my wife in stitches. Insert length and girth joke here.
For those keeping scrupulous score, 3 or 4 people last week sent the Birnbach article to Facebook, where I deemed it worthy and held for moderation.
I think it’s a stretch to draw a link between a reminiscence of the OPH in 1980 and the book tour in the South, from an article originally published two years ago, and the actions of a group of morally reprehensible people in one city over the weekend.
We had the Boston Mag article before that and I’ve one more post to get through of trad stuff in the news.
Swing finally figured out in a series of revelations this summer. Haven’t played hardly any rounds as have just been pratcicing and doing half a dozen other activities. Ready to see now if I can shoot some scores.
Oh, I have been going back to the Brooks simulator after a long absence. So my indoor golf is great — one on one competition with a PGA pro is a pretty great experience, real life or virtual. Game last week was a 71 for me and maybe 67 for him. Not an easy course as we both got lost in the virtual trees and got short-sided around the greens (very, very tough shot on a simulator as you can’t see what you’re doing).
And Cort, no worries: I wasn’t actually smoking my pipe at the time anyway. ; )
I did not offer generalizations. I offered a reference to one of many comprehensive studies that for many years have ranked most of the southern states in the bottom quartile in dozens of meaningful economic and social categories. The generalizing and rationalizing (and anecdote referencing) tends to come from people who live in the South and who can’t admit or come to grips with the systemic problems facing their state/region. I would add that these rankings aren’t “religion”, “politics” or “money” – they’re just facts, mostly economic and public policy based.
Didn’t you start your post by call the south “a total shit hole”? Generalization at its best.
For your anecdotal reference, a link where I live. Please note the population growth and median family income for 2010. Does this qualify as a “total shit hole”?
Most of Florida is typically not included in definitions of the Deep South. That said, as a state it ranks about average nationally – decent in some categories (economy, infrastructure) terrible in others (crime, education, public health). There are nice zip codes in every state – my perspective is a state/region one, not a town by town one. That’s obvious. Sure, I made a general comment – ‘much of the south is a shithole’ – but then I substantiated it with factual, objective data. You sharing cherry picked stats from Wikipedia about your hometown does little to refute this.
Should we start to list the shit hole cities north of the Mason-Dixie? It’s a long list… Let’s not forget the most dangerous cities in America are in the North and happen to be run by Democrats. 😉
My point, by using anecdotal references and “cherry picking”, was to state that making sweeping, generalized, stereotypical comments is dangerous. Isn’t that why we are in the current state of affairs we are in?
By the way, I bear no malice towards you. This is engaging conversation, snarkiness aside. Come visit! I’d love to show you the nice life I bought in my little spot in the shit hole!
I didn’t label any southern cities shitholes. Instead, I named a couple nice ones. Again, every state/region has nice zip codes. A nice city/town rarely makes a great state or region…which is why I referenced detailed, objective, comprehensive state-based data. What the hell is wrong with you guys? Is it really news to folks that the Deep South lags far behind the rest of the country in many/most leading indicators?
If you removed the zip codes in the NE with affluent white and Asians, you’d have the same damn stats… the fact is everywhere outside of the bubbles is a decaying wasteland. The NE has the benefit of the worlds of Finance, and Government spending to buoy themselves above the fray.
S.E.: those links! Even though (or likely because) I was a child at the time, that late-70s/early-80s hippie/punk/prep confluence always hits me right in the feels. I get the same nostalgic vibe when I watch “Jaws”.
The ‘South’ I know is a real paradox: it’s beautiful Fall days drinking bourbon and chasing girls at HSC, but it’s also the very hardscrabble pre-war East Carolina agricultural upbringing of my maternal grandparents, where it was not a great time or place to be a brown person, and only marginally less miserable to be a white person.
As for Florida, as un-American as it sounds, the only time I’ve been was a week-long work trip spent in an office building reviewing documents.
For you, Paul.
Huh? Affluent whites ‘and Asians’? Your alt-right is showing. CT”s largest industry is Insurance, not Finance or Government. Mass.’s are Healthcare/Med Device and Higher Education (ditto for VT and NH). Maine’s is tourism. Rhode Island’s is Tech and Pharma. Etc. None of these states have especially large ‘Asian’ populations or Finance industries (with the exception of southwestern CT, essentially NYC metro). Large swaths of New England are rural and sparsely populated, yet the states in the region still score higher in most key economic and social categories than any state in the Deep South. You can ignore this reality, but please stop trying to rewrite the facts. We have plenty of that these days without you arguing the unarguable on here.
@S.E.: thanks for killing what was left of my workday!
@VEA: You need to check your facts! Rhode Island’s largest industries are health care and tourism. Technology is not even in the list of the top five.
The worst sh#thole cities are in the Northeast. Newark Camden, and Bridgeport look like war zones. The list goes on and on.
Furthermore, you ignore the fact that the McKinsey rankings are bs. New England is not #1. The cost of living is very high and there is an opioid/heroin epidemic. As I pointed out earlier, 3 out of 4 authors of the survey you mentioned are from the Northeast, so naturally they are biased in favor of New England. If you ask ten Harvard students “What is the world’s greatest university?” nine out of ten will answer “Harvard.”
I’ve almost bit my tongue in half as I resisted contributing to this debate. Frankly, I think I come off as a provocateur too often around here. But now I just have to.
First, the South is far more urbanized than many of y’all think. Per the Census, 90%+ of the populations in Texas and Florida live in urban areas. And four of the top ten metros are located in the South. Three are in the Northeast.
Second, agriculture is still a major industry despite the change in population distribution. I’m unaware of any significant farming and ranching in the Northeast. You should thank us for feeding you.
Third, people are moving here for some reason. Three of the top ten fastest growing states are in the South. If you wish to count W. Virginia as part of the Northeast, then three from up there are in the top ten.
I write all of this to say that the “shit hole” generalization was indeed a shit show. Yes, there are some bad public schools, but there are many others — particularly in the fast-growing suburbs — that are outstanding.
Crime? Well, Austin and El Paso — yes, El Paso — are pretty safe places to live. Still, you can find trouble in Houston and Dallas if you are determined to find it. I suspect the same is true up there.
However, y’all really have us beat in one area: snow shoveling. I doubt there’s a native from down here who has a clue about how to do it. I bet some have never heard of it. So you got that going for you.
Got in three pars and a bogey before the lightning and rain hit hard.
Not too impressed with a study by an organization that only ranks the United States seventh best in the world. The freedom we have in this country trumps anything McKinsey or anybody else has to say. And now I’m going too fix up some corn pone, hog back bone and fish muddle ’cause its almost suppa time.
That’s why we went to private school for all 12 years. 2 extra graduate years for my older sister and me. Younger sis married a pilot in the Corps; not our first choice but I digress. Who opts to send their offspring to the cesspool of public learning. Would you send them into a den of adders? While you postulate from a seemingly a posteriori position, it seems there’s a thinly veiled a priori bias showing. I will take Chapel Hill, Charleston, Sea Pines, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Amelia, Sanibel, Nashville (even Knoxville), Gulf Shores, Blue Ridge, Chevy Chase, Savannah et.al. any day over any city in NJ, RI, DE and most every city in NY/CT. Despite the best efforts of Sherman & Reconstruction, we’ve done just fine.
Your characterization is that of a stultissime. I would say everyone, including you, is right to their own opinion; I can’t force anyone to be right.
For the sake of those clutching their pearls and reaching for their smelling salts, I hope that longtime commenter and true gentleman Charlottesville doesn’t post anytime soon.
(Just kidding, Charlottesville—I don’t give a rat’s patoot about the hypersensitive, and I can’t wait to read more of your genteel prose.)
I’ll jump in with something of a counterpoint. Having spent plenty of time in the more beautiful parts of a few Southern states, only a few can match the Berkshires, Western CT, Bucks County, and the horse country of NJ (Peacock-Gladstone/Far Hills/Bedminster/Bernardsville).
Not everybody’s into Southern beaches. The water’s too warm for a refreshing swim, no? A mid-August dip off the South Carolina coast is about as invigorating as a high temp hot tub. Gross.
And then there’s this: we should have reservations about any part of the world that’s not conducive to the wearing of shetland sweaters and tweeds at least three months of the year.
This said, there’s still a long, time-honored tradition of Preppy Yankees sending their kids down South for school. I’m guessing W&L, Davidson, U. of Richmond, and Duke are no longer mostly Southern (in terms of enrollment).
Re beauty: It’s in the eye of the beholder, of course. The places you list are certainly gorgeous. Still, have you seen the mist in the Smokey’s? Looked out from Lookout Mountain? Gazed at giant magnolias in bloom? Beheld a sunrise on the Gulf Coast? Ventured into the Everglades? Or headed West for the rugged beauty of the Big Bend?
Re tweed: We still wear tweed when the air temp dips down into the frigid 60’s. Still, you’re largely right. Thanks to climate change, we’re wearing far less tweed than we used to and even more seersucker (see what I did there?).
Re Ocean temp: Ahem. Would you/can you swim in the North Atlantic from September through May?
Re college: That was certainly the case for kids from less-wealthy families at UT-Austin until its rankings — particularly in business and engineering — soared and it became far more difficult to enter. I hear the same is true at private schools such as Rice University in Houston.
Alert: Beware, heavy doses of sarcasm are found throughout this post.
RI’s largest employers are Infosys (tech services and consulting) and CVS (one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the world, among other things). Their fourth largest, after Brown University, is Tata Consulting. Just stop.
Newark and Camden are not in a northeastern state. They fall squarely in the mid-Atlantic. That aside, again, this is about states as a whole – how they rank in key categories against other entire states – not individual cities or towns. I know everyone gets that.
That’s just it. There are places in this country – mainly well outside the deep south – where public schools are actually quite good. The new england states tend to have terrific public schools. So, while you “save on your taxes” and spend $30-60k a year for some B- private school that no one’s heard of outside of your region, most people where I grew up (in CT) happily and proudly send their kids to public school.
Again, you tick off nice towns/and vacation areas as if those anecdotal places somehow erase the fact that the deep south’s schools, public health, infrastructure, etc. are terrible. Why would anyone who has any pride in the place they grew up so willfully put on rose colored glasses? Seems counterproductive to me.
There is plenty of agriculture in new england. The CT river valley (which runs down the spine of the entire region) remains some of the most productive agricultural land in the country (esp. in MA and CT). Again, I made no unsubstantiated “generalizations”. Study after study – google it – that rank key economic and social categories (education, public health, infrastructure, economic opportunity, etc.) across states and regions make it clear that much of the (deep) south lags far, far behind much of the country. This isn’t debatable or an opinion. Yes, of course, if you’re affluent and happen to live in the deep south, you can carve our a wonderful existence of private schooling, beach vacations, and trips to prosperous cities. That’s not my point or relevant given how I began my comments.
Year round golf. Case closed. May I also suggest that you cut the prosacs in half next time. Sheesh.
Unfortunately, as SE alludes to, when strolling many venerated old ‘Southern’ campuses these days you might as well be walking around in a New Jersey shopping mall. A student who manages to possess an actual Southern accent is treated as a cute bit of local color and/or a townie.
Total ag receipts by state from USDA:
4 Connecticut River states: $1,233,603,000
South Carolina alone: $2,431,247,000
Arkansas alone: $8,881,054,000
Texas alone: $23,492,324,000
It’s true New England public schools rank very well, but they don’t dominate. The South has 1 in the top 10 and 3 more in the top 25. Mississippi and Louisiana obviously have work to do. That’s why a lot of people in those states send their kids to private schools, some of which compare well with others around the country.
US NEWS PUBLIC SCHOOL RANKINGS
No. 2 FL
No. 4 CT
No. 7 VT
No. 16 NH
No. 18 GA
No. 21 TX
No. 24 ME
No. 32 AR
No. 33 NC
No. 34 AL
No. 36 SC
No. 37 TN
No. 42 LA
No. 49 MS
@S.E.: did you take a look through the fraternity pics? Southside Virginia in 1981 was a very different world, indeed!
Garden & Gun is a good magazine. This OPH article is actually below par for them.
The rankings you reference are just high school rankings, not public school systems overall. That said, they still more than prove my point – nearly all southern states fall in the bottom half/quarter while New England states all rank higher.
Public health scores look similar. So do infrastructure and economic opportunity rankings.
And, the USNews rankings utilize the McKinsey data….
By state, you’re largely correct, though I’d still say you overstated things. By the percentage of all schools in the South, I suspect you’re wrong because of the much larger populations in the higher ranking states (Florida, Virginia and Texas). I’m not interested in plowing through those numbers, but your shit hole insult remains unsupported.
As for health, there’s no doubt the South lags. On economic opportunity, the South’s major metros are booming. We’re gaining population, not losing it.
You appear to be suffering from Double Myopia, looking at the world through a lens in small and homogenous New England toward a couple of states within a much larger, more diverse South. Open your eyes. Then sit back and look forward to shoveling snow while we’re working on our tans.
@WFBJr (oh, the handle!)-
While your lack of self awareness is, as always, jaw dropping – I can imagine how proud you are as you drop superfluous (pleonastic?) latin terms – no, my arguments aren’t based on hypothesis. Instead, they’re based on objective data from a respected third parties as well as more than 15+ years of extensive travel (including 12 years living there) throughout the South – I’d wager I’ve visited more of the region than you have. Your opinions, on the other hand, are just that: opinion from a person who personal biases are unabashed and who’s brand of disregard for objectivity is increasingly recognizable among your tribe.
You can make all the assumptions, accusations, and suspicions you’d like – they don’t change the data. Additional population doesn’t equal economic opportunity. Boston and a host of non-southern cities are booming too – that level of anecdotal specificity is beside the point. You know that. I’m sorry if you don’t want to or can’t admit the very deep, systemic issues facing much of the South – they suck, but they’re real….ignoring them (or minimizing them as you are) is partly what’s allowed them to persist for so long.
Well, as much as I love my favorite places in the South, it is too warm for me now and after a run in with the lowlife protestors at Trump Tower, some of the nicest spots in the Norteast beckon. Coastal Maine, where the only worry now are the black flies and then Saratoga, my favorite racetrack in America and a site to behold. The new Man O War exhibit at the Racing Hall of Fame is said to be outstanding. MOW had his only loss here to Upset. Thus when the underdog wins, it became an Upset.
It’s interesting–I’ve seen more purist Old Brooks/J. Press in the Northeast than in the South. 3-button sacks, OCBDs, emblematic ties, penny loafers, and so on. Far more, actually.
The South, as preppy as many parts are, is home to a sort of defiled version of the look, a.k.a. “updated traditional.” I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that if I couldn’t go with traditional Ivy I wouldn’t dress up at all, but “updated traditional” definitely provokes the gag reflex. Walking into Southern men’s stores that were once bastions of Ivy style–oh good god, it’s awful. Good luck finding Scottish tweeds, English worsteds, wool challis, or a button-downed oxford at Granger Owings, H. Stockton, or Beecroft & Bull.
Forbes 10 Best Cities For Jobs 2015
Note: It says cities, but the numbers appear to be metros
8 of 10 in the South and none in New England
The 20 best US cities for finding a job in 2017
6 of 20 in the South and none in New England
The Cities Creating The Most High-Wage Jobs
6 of 10 in the South and none in New England
Beecroft and Bull now sells shirts with contrasting flip back cuffs like the larger of the two gay guys on Modern Family. (Wife liked the show) For trad stuff one must go to Williamsburg’s R. Bryant, Ltd. Some trad items can still be had at Benton Knight in Hampton- he sells Alden. I miss Beecroft and Bull of old and Alexander Beagle. The Friends School thrift store on Virginia Beach Blvd and I think Baltic Ave was better than anything. Well heeled families along Linkhorn Bay kept the store very well stocked. (Gitman Brothers shirts 50 cents) All manner of RL ties (the great stuff) 25 cents or so each)
@ S.E. & Will: should we call this the Sid Mashburn/Onward Reserve-ization of the Southern trad wardrobe at the – ahem – ‘mature’ end, and the Southern Proper/Southern Tide/Southern Marsh-ization at the younger end? I personally think that Mashburn has style, it’s just not *my* style, per se. The young stuff is just another stripe of Vineyard Vines, as far as I can tell.
Where are you in Tidewater, Will? I spent lots of time with my 8 cousins down there in the 70s and 80s. They built one of the first houses in Ford’s Colony, if you know it.
As usual, Henry is spot on. Where is our correspondent Charlottesville? Can’t wait for his report on the status of things in Albemarle County, Virginia.
I recall you are collecting quotes from prominent people for a possible book.
I was recently reminded of an interesting quote from George Bernard Shaw, to wit:
“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. “
I know “Charlottesville” personally and he is a kind Christian gentleman who is no doubt heartbroken and ashamed of what took place in his home town, and is likely reluctant to employ his username.
Either that or he’s on vacation.
I know R. Bryant well. I bought shorts (Berle) there regularly. And a Barbour hat. Always good for a stroll after lunchtime crabcakes at Berret’s. Nice store. That said, it’s solidly “updated traditional.” There was a sister store across the way (D.O.G. street) . Something-or-other “cravats.” still around? Decent tie collection. Guessing most of the trad-leaning worshipers at Bruton Parish (there are plenty) are retirees who moved from PA, NJ, NY, CT. Williamsburg could have its own Princeton club. Talk about a haven for old, rusty Mercedes. Especially Kingsmill.
Best kept secret (don’t tell the tourists): Jamestown Pie Company. I remember it when it was James River Pie Company. I digress…
Last time at R. Bryant the older gentleman commented on my Harris Tweed sack coat. Barbour coats, Bill’s Khakis and ribbon watch bands can be had. Scotland house across the way has some nice Harris Tweed from time to time. Wife likes her HT purse from there. If I am not mistaken, Beecroft and Bull had a shop across from R. Bryant. None of these stores are as good as they used to be. Last time I had lunch at The College Deli I was quite disappointed too. The sandwich had no theme. Never had lunch at Berritts but I was once told the food was institutional. I’ll have to check it out.
I would posit that “Charlottesville” has nothing himself for which to be ashamed. I won’t speak for him, but I am heartbroken at what happened there and what is continuing to happen around the country in it’s aftermath-on both sides.
Dear friends – I have indeed been away from the site for a while, and only discovered the comments above a short time ago. Thank you for the very kind words, Henry, Vern, Will and especially Christian. As has been mentioned above, most of the violent thugs that descended on my town on Saturday appear to have come from other states and, at least according to local reports based on interviews and license plates, many/most seemed to come from Colorado, California, Florida and, in the case of the man who murdered poor Heather Heyer, Ohio. Unfortunately, at least one of the racist ringleaders has long been a thorn in the flesh to the good people of Charlottesville, and I am sure other local losers were involved as well. Nevertheless, I think our town has little to be ashamed of in its response. My Rector and the Bishop of Virginia along with many other clergy maintained a quiet witness of protest (my church stands directly beside the park where the Lee statue is located). And on Sunday morning, while the streets were still blocked and armed police patrolled the area, hundreds of us came together to pray and seek healing and forgiveness in place of the anger and hatred of the day before. Yesterday, Heather’s mother asked the attendees at her daughter’s memorial service to respond to hate with love. And last night hundreds of UVA faculty and students gathered on the Lawn, in an event publicized solely by word of mouth and social media, and sang “Amazing Grace” by candlelight on the spot where armed men with torches had spewed hatred and thrown punches a few nights before. As for the South in general, I think Charleston, New Orleans and many other southern cities, including Charlottesville, are delightful places to visit or live, whatever problems we may have. I can say that I saw virulent racism in my Massachusetts middle school, and in the Indiana college town where my father worked for a time when I was a teenager. And Manhattan saw the beating, torture, lynching and immolation of blacks during riots just over 150 years ago. So this historic evil is not the exclusive property of the South. Finally, if you will indulge me, I note that while Yale, Harvard, Stanford and other non-southern schools generally top the rankings, there is a university here in Charlottesville that usually shows fairly well. I hope we can soon return to lighter topics, such as seersucker suits, bow ties, OCBDs, penny loafers and the like, all of which I am wearing at the moment. In the meantime, thanks to all for letting me have my say.
I’m teary-eyed and smiling. What a beautiful read.
Yesterday I had business in old town Portsmouth where there stands a Confederate memorial built in 1881 on High and Court. A black gentleman of about fifty who was doing road work next to the memorial gave me a “good morning, brother”. Last weekend I saw a black guy of around thirty showing some little white kids how to play basketball at a church court. Similar examples are too numerous to mention.
There is an MLK monument in Norfolk, a marble obelisk that has every reason for existing. It is, I’m afraid, placed in an area of the city where a white person dare not go. The public housing of Young Park has generations of broken families subsisting on what was deemed good enough by politicians of a certain party back in the early sixties. In my opinion, if MLK could come back and see what has happened to the black family, he would be heart broken.
If one stays in Hampton Roads long enough, one will find the occasional red neck, hillbilly, racist mouth breather. What you will not find is wide spread racism on the part of whites or blacks. As “Charlottesville” points out, that will be coming to our town from well organized people from other states. Two very old Confederate monuments are slated for protests in the coming days and I fear that bad days are ahead.
Thank you, Whiskeydent. Will — I hope that your part of Virginia will be spared the violence, injuries and deaths of civilians and police that marred Charlottesville. Hopefully, the police have learned some lessons and crowd control will be handled better. I know that Richmond and Lexington, Ky. are expecting supremacist rallies as well. I imagine that Lexington, Virginia where both Lee and Jackson are buried, will also be targeted. God help us all.
Perhaps this is how it should be done going forward.
Interesting generalizations all……
From recently published data:
Highest murder rate in the US: East St Louis IL
Highest cost of living the US: NYC
Worst city to live in the US: Detroit MI
Not a southern city in the lists. Hmmmmm.
As for me, I grew up in suburban NJ, attended a top tier public school, but attended college in the deep south. It took me a few months to feel comfortable, but I quickly realized I felt much more at home in the south than I ever did in the north. From the conduct of the local residents, way of life, etc. , I saw a level of gentility that was preserved in the south and was disappearing in the north. I never looked back and have been in the south for 35yrs now. I recently returned home for a funeral and saw considerably more evidence of the decay I left behind. Good, decent people, from excellent families and backgrounds, slowly disintegrating from the pressure of staying in an imploding environment where all that matters is building newer and more expensive shopping malls.