Friday, December 22, 2006

It'll Be a Red Red Christmas with You (and Cousin Eddy too)

Oh my, getting into the Christmas spirit means less blogging! I've been having too much fun running to the mailbox to see who sent me a Christmas card, and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Well, nothing earth-shattering going on here - just enjoying a couple of days off from work. I went with a great friend of mine today to see the Linda McCartney 60's photos exhibit - wow.

While I was looking at another collection within the museum, a guy went strolling by chatting on his cellphone. I frankly, wholeheartedly admit that I am an eavesdropper. I don't care if you know it - I think it is totally disingenous for most of us to pretend like we don't listen to conversations - and of course, if it's in a public space, that is fair game, friend. Anyway, I gathered quickly enough that this guy had never been to Huntsville and actually, probably not ever to a latitude lower than North Carolina, because he was going on to his phone friend about how "this museum has an exhbit on 60's photography from Linda McCartney!" From the tone of the conversation, I gathered that he was somewhat surprised with Huntsville itself.

This guy probably was not too much of a snob, but I can't stand people who just assume stuff about places they have never been to, especially where the South is concerned. What irks me particularly are those who portray themselves as hip, progressive, and open-minded. Third-world, pollution-belching banana republic? Just hand them the Lonely Planet guide, they're right behind Angelina and Brad. Black Belt Alabama? Hell no! Oh, but I will buy that Gee's Bend quilt from Macy's that I heard about on NPR. How folksy! Blecch.

Vanity Fair had a particularly banal and ill-informed "humor" series running in the culture section a couple of months ago. The REAL America: A Red-State Appeasement Guide purported to know how we bumpkins amuse ourselves down here. I actually wrote a letter to the editor about it, but didn't get published. Thank goodness for the age of vanity publishing - you'll be delighted to know you can read it here!

Before I launch into my tirade (because we red-staters are such hot-headed folks, aren’t we?), I do want to say that I have loved Vanity Fair since I was a teenager for the captivating photography, fashion, cultural notes, and dishy high society pieces. I’ve held my tongue and kept my subscription through the many stupid-Southerner-backwards- Midwesterner-what-the-red-states-are-really-like articles. However, I just have to say bravo on the latest tongue-in-cheek delicacy you printed entitled “The REAL America: Our Red-State Appeasement Section.” You’ve now completely rounded out your well-informed collection of cultural and travel guides for those readers in New York and California who will never deign to visit the red-state wasteland anyway.

I am now a proud resident of Alabama, but I have lived in many other places during my life – even overseas! I also lived in New York City for one year. It was beautiful and lots of fun; everything you would expect. But I have to say, some of the New Yorkers I met were as provincial a people as I have ever run across. Their lack of interest in where others were from and the proud ignorance of other places in the US was astonishing.

Oh, and to Jamie Malanowski – why highlight only the TV shows and Christian themes that captivate red-staters? The last religious cultural event this bama attended was a down-home Diwali festival. My city has a thriving cultural and international community, – why don’t you visit sometime? We’ll speak extra-slow, just for you.