The South Is Getting A Bad Rap, Y’all

Recently, while resting at home after spraining my foot, I turned on the TV just in time to be sucked into the time warp that is known as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Now for those of you who have not seen this new TLC show, it is a reality show following a very witty 7-year-old beauty pageant participant and her outgoing and hilarious family.

They are from McIntyre, GA (purely coincidental. No relation here). They live in a house by the railroad tracks. They eat pasta with butter and ketchup. They go muddin’ for fun. They are what I would call “country”.

And I have to admit… I absolutely love it.

I loved it so much I set the DVR to record every show so I could watch the entire season from start to finish.

I’m from the South, too, so I could actually understand what they were saying through the heavy drawls. I didn’t need the sub-titles that someone not from the South would need. I laughed at their antics and their family bickering. I loved how they don’t have much, but they laugh at each other, they encourage each other, and they clearly love each other.

It was fantastic, but it also made me start thinking. This is partially the reason that folks who are not from around here would think that Southerners are all rednecks. There are so many movies and TV shows portraying people in the South in a not-so-good light.

Think about it.

First, there’s “Deliverance”, which is about four city fellows who decide to go white water rafting and end up being chased and vilified by some freaky, banjo playing backwoods hillbillies. I am certain that this movie has deterred many city folk away from the thought of camping in the great outdoors.

Then you have “Gone With The Wind” which, of course, is a Southern favorite since Margaret Mitchell was from Atlanta. But it revolves around the Civil War, slavery, and spoiled Southern plantation girls who will do anything to get their way. Not a very good way to look at the South.

And what person came up with the idea to have a “Real Housewives of Atlanta?” Seriously? I don’t even know what to say about that show except that it’s about as real as saying that “Jersey Shore” is representing everyone in New Jersey.

I could go on and on, as there is a never ending misrepresentation of people from the South.

But I can tell you that if you’ve never visited the south, you’ve missed out on “Southern Hospitality”, sweet tea, Coca Cola, Spanish moss hanging from the trees, BBQ ribs and fried chicken, great music (and I don’t mean the dualing banjos) – Nashville is known for country music, and Atlanta is considered “hip-hop’s center of gravity” according to the New York Times. The cost of living is lower, and people say “yes sir” and “please”, and it’s really a nice place to be.

Many people can think that the South is backwards and redneck, and I have to say that a lot of that is true.

But at least we can say that we don’t have a Snooki.

“Hey Y’all!!! Watch This!!!”

By Dana McIntyre

My son Matthew has never been one to sit back and let life pass him by. He has always been busy doing something…being the Captain of the high school ice hockey team, or when he went through his skateboarding phase, or when he learned to play the guitar (“Hey mom, have you ever heard of a band called Pink Floyd?”) or whatever, he’s always stayed busy…and there’s usually a pretty good story to go along with it.

So one day when he brought some clothes home that desperately needed to be washed or just thrown away, I knew there would be a pretty funny explanation.

Now, anyone who is from the South can attest that Georgia has red clay, and not mud. Just like kudzu that grows on everything standing still, & yellow pollen covering every car in the spring, our red clay can be recognized instantly. If you’re watching a movie and see red clay, you know immediately it was made in the great State of Georgia. (Smokey & The Bandit, Fried Green Tomatoes, My Cousin Vinny, Forrest Gump, & Deliverance to name a few. I’d like to not claim Deliverance because it’s what every Northerner thinks Georgia is all about, but what would Northerner’s talk about if not for us?)

Matthew pulled out his iPhone and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw some of the pictures they had taken of the day’s events. The boys had clearly been out “mudding” on their dirt bikes & 4 wheelers because they were covered from head to toe in red clay.

I asked Matthew if they had fun & he said yeah, they were “mud tubing.”

It all started after it rained every day for about a week. He had just gotten his driver’s license and he and the boys would drive around looking for a fun place to ride their dirt bikes. They found an open field that was already nothing but mud and had been riding bikes for a while when someone said the infamous Southern words that makes every mother cringe….”Hey y’all – watch THIS!!!”

Someone grabbed an inner tube out of the back of someone’s truck and tied it to a four wheeler. The idea was to not only get dragged through the mud but to get sprayed by the chunks of mud coming off of the tires of the four wheeler. (What made me laugh was that apparently they have done this so much they had actually NAMED this event.)

My favorite picture shows mud tubing in action so I asked Matthew to explain:

Mud Tubing SM – YouTube.

And while he had fun tubing, let me just say that it’s not all fun and games trying to get that famous Georgia clay out of clothes!

Follow Dana on Twitter @DanaMcintyre1