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Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I know I revealed my anti-Southern bias earlier, but I have to say I am loving the country American Idol tonight. I hate country music, but I have absolutely loved the singers I have heard so far. This is the best night I have heard since I started watching last season. If this is country music, I might be a convert. (I'm guessing this is not what country music purists would call country, but whatever). I don't like the redhead guy, John Stevens, though.

Now, my observations from my trip. First of all, I think the people who make the Yahoo maps and the people who make the South Carolina road signs work together and are all on crack. Yahoo lied to me and said Myrtle Beach was about 60 miles closer than it actual is, but that's okay, it was still within my 12 hour driving radius. Then, as soon as I entered South Carolina, the roads got hard to follow and simultaneously ceased to be labeled. Through good guessing, a decent sense of direction, knowing when to turn around, and pure luck I made it without too much trouble, nonetheless.

I have grown up hating the South. There are a lot of reasons someone might dislike the South, but mine are somewhat unreasonable and I recognize this. Basically, I am not over the Civil War. This is reinforced by my mother's stories of growing up in Georgia under Governor Wallace, and my general knowledge of everything that has transpired in the entire history of the South. I even extend my feelings towards the South to my picks in March Madness pools, always choosing the northern team if I have no other good basis for deciding.

To be fair, my personal experience with the South has been fairly limited. I worked in Fort Lauderdale for five months, visited my ex in Augusta, Georgia many times, visited his family in Charlotte a few times, and visited Atlanta a couple times. I completely exclude Florida (or at least south Florida) from my views of the South. I don't really like Florida, but for other reasons. Charlotte is nice, and so is Atlanta, but only to visit. Augusta is too small for me to like in any setting. So, I fully realize that I don't have a whole lot on which to base my animosity, but I feel that politics and southern accents are fully sufficient.

So, back to my trip. I was driving along, appreciating the scenery, thinking, "Wow, the south is actually kind of nice." Then, due to the questionable Yahoo directions, I decided to stop and get a map. I stopped in Austinville, Virginia, which I would have thought was still far enough north to be civilized. When I went in the gas station I could have sworn that the two men who worked there were speaking another language. Actually, it might have been a primitive version of English. I literally could not understand a single word they said to me or to each other. This was not just a matter of thick southern accents; they were completely unintelligible. And one of the men spit into a can at least three times while I was at the register. Need I say more? Then later I stopped at another gas station in North Carolina. I have a vague memory of seeing a gas pump like that once in South Dakota when I was about nine years old. Welcome to the 21st century. Fortunately I stopped for gas when I did though, because as soon as I entered South Carolina (about 7pm) every gas station I saw was closed. I can only imagine what it's like here on a Sunday.

Also, the poverty I have seen in the South (on this trip, and in the past) is just shocking. I am familiar with northern poverty, public housing, homelessness, but somehow it is just different here. Not worse necessarily, but different. The shacks, and I mean that literally, that people live in here look like something out of another era. They are rickety wooden structures, often partially burnt, or with one side falling down, or otherwise clearly a danger to live in. And they are so small that many of them could literally fit in my not very large living room. And the surrounding areas look like they are used as city dump sites. I think any politician who could effect any substantial change down here could take over the world (in a good way).

So, in summary, we should have let the South secede when we had the chance, the poverty here is depressing, and I hate southern accents.
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