Friday, July 07, 2006

The Blog v. Real Life

Recently I have found myself referring to my blog off-handedly in conversations with friends. As if the stories that appear on the blog were stories I had already told my friends. Because I know they (or should I say you, dear readers?) frequently read it.

So the other day I cracked a joke about overly friendly Southern women, in reference to my post "Ten Things." I don't know how I could have been so presumptuous, but of course only one friend got the joke. The other one looked confused, as if she had missed something in the conversation. And I had to blurt out "It's on the blog!" as if she were a student who had come to class without doing the reading. I immediately felt horribly embarrassed.


eusebius said...

I thought that Southern Women were supposed to be hard-working chaste types in order to avoid the wrath of preachers like this one:

How did he manage to get a longer Wikipedia entry than the Archbishop of Canterbury??

muse said...

Scary! But he's only Southern if you count Kansas as a Southern state.

I think People Who are Mean generally get longer Wikipedia entries than anyone else. Maybe if Rowan Williams hated homosexuals he'd have a longer entry too.

eusebius said...

Oops: maybe this is a little closer to home

Just out of interest, where do Americans believe the South to start? In Virginia? Kentucky?
And where does it stop and become the mid-West or the West? Texas? New Mexico? Colorado??

Nick said...

Hi Muse. I couldn't resist posting these links. As always, Wikipedia is the Source of All Knowledge.

muse said...

Thanks wikipedia, and thanks nick! The South starts at the Mason Dixon line. However, the line only separates the east coast, so technically anything west of west virginia but south of ohio is up for grabs. So in answer to e's question, "We don't know. We're working on that one. We should have an answer for you soon."

The midwest is actually not the middle of the country, nor the middle of the western half, but just west of the oldest part (the east coast). So on a map, it looks more like the western part of the east. But the phrase "mideast" was already taken, I guess. Basically anything west of pennsylvania in the 19th century was "the west," and as the country expanded to fulfill its "manifest destiny" (ugh), it moved west. The states west of Pennsylvania were once "the west" but when more land was stolen from native american tribes that was further west, the previously western territories of michigan, wisconsin, etc. became "midwest." I think.

Speaking as someone who was raised in the midwest, midwestern is really more of a cultural thing than a geographical one. As Garrison Keillor attests, and this lovely article from the onion proves:

("Midwest discovered between East, West Coasts")

Did I mention that the Onion began in my midwestern home town (Go Badgers!)?

Oh and as for most nice Southern women (when not hitting on me): The ones I encountered whilst house hunting appeared oddly like nice, friendly British women. Upon letting me into their homes, the first thing they did was offer me some tea. Only it's iced and absurdly sweet. And I mean ABSURDLY sweet. All those sugar plantations, see.

nick said...

Yes, see:

(We need to work out how to make hyperlinks work in Blogger.)

What I find interesting reading these Wikipedia articles is that certain parts of the history are silenced. E.g. in one of them they say something like "Florida is not really the South because of all the mid-20th century migration from the North-East" -- hmmm, one could comment at length on what this is supposed to mean.

It's also interesting to divide the South into language zones: the English, Spanish, and French bits. Texas and Florida clearly Spanish and not really part of the US until mid-19th cent. Mississippi states French. Old South = English, etc. I really like the idea that the term Dixie comes from a ten-dollar bill issued in Louisiana, with Dix on the back!

muse said...

Not to forget the Yiddish-speaking language zone . . . That wiki comment on Florida certainly jumped out at me too. My grandparents are buried there. My Commie Great Aunt still lives there, too, though she summers on the Upper West Side. Which makes her sound like gauche caviar, but she's really not. She's very cool.