When I was growing up in Louisiana, we had this saying -- "Thank God for Mississippi."
It wasn't because we were so in love with the Magnolia State next door. It's just that Mississippi saved us from being at the bottom of a lot of rankings.
Besides, cultivating dark humor is a hell of a lot easier than improving your state's sorry state of affairs.
Like I said, I grew up in the Deep South. I am of a certain age. And I know a lot of those folks in the snotty Alexandra Pelosi video above, aired last week on Bill Maher's HBO program.
No, I don't actually know those particular Mississippians, but I know 'em. You know?
WHAT I want to know, however, is how the well-known misogynist Maher and the lesser-known daughter of Nancy Pelosi think that video much differs from finding the biggest pieces of ignorant, obnoxious trash the ghetto has to offer and presenting them as a portrait of black America? Maybe we'll get to see -- that is, if Maher keeps his word, such as it is -- whether the 'hood does indeed get the Mississippi treatment.
What I'd also like to know is why anyone would want to pay for HBO when they can get Maury Povich, the Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show for free? Because the only purpose Pelosi and Maher had in mind was a jolly game of "Look at the freaks!"
Pelosi's ode to Mississippi was no more than that, except for the pretension and the fact that her "film" ridiculed an entire state by design, as opposed to just the individual "freaks" on display for their betters' amusement. Pelosi and Maher weren't exposing social ills with the aim of reform; theirs was holding Mississippi's social ills up to ridicule for the amusement of America's elites.
Right, Andrew Sullivan?
Listen, I have no illusions about the lingering ills of the South. Neither do I have any illusions about the culture in which these folk were raised -- I was raised in the same one. By quite racist parents.
Still, that culture -- and, by extension, the entire state of Mississippi -- cannot be reduced to the singular, ridiculous stereotype that so amuses our cultural "betters" . . . like Maher and Pelosi. Even though a couple of staggeringly ridiculous people gave it their best shot.
And I'd rather live a lifetime in deepest, darkest Yoknapatawpha County than spend a minute in Hollywood with Maher and the "cultural elite."
HAT TIP: Rod Dreher.