Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yee. Haw.

Appomattox undone, says Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsch:
In the summer of 1863, Robert E. Lee led an ill-advised incursion into Pennsylvania. His army was defeated at Gettysburg, and thence afterward Lee beat a fighting retreat until the South lost the Civil War. One hundred and forty-five years later, the South--or what has become the South-Southwest--has won another kind of Civil War. It has transformed the sensibility of the country. It is setting the agenda for our political, social and religious mores--in Pennsylvania and everywhere else.
(Via Hot Air.) My great-grandfather, Pvt. Winston W. Bolt of the 13th Alabama Infantry, was captured during that "ill-advised incursion," so I suppose I should smile at Hirsch's metaphor. Instead, I must confess my shock at Hirsch's assessment of this belated triumph of the Lost Cause. After trundling through a non sequitur paragraph about an "American Idol" contestant, Hirsch looks down from the Olympian heights and shares with us this "analysis":
As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge observed in their 2004 book, "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," the nation's population center has been "moving south and west at a rate of three feet an hour, five miles a year." Another author, Anatol Lieven, in his 2005 book "America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism," describes how the "radical nationalism" that has so dominated the nation's discourse since 9/11 traces its origins to the demographic makeup and mores of the South and much of the West and Southern Midwest--in other words, what we know today as Red State America.
This region was heavily settled by Scots-Irish immigrants--the same ethnic mix King James I sent to Northern Ireland to clear out the native Celtic Catholics.
After succeeding at that, they then settled the American Frontier, suffering Indian raids and fighting for their lives every step of the way. And the Southern frontiersmen never got over their hatred of the East Coast elites and a belief in the morality and nobility of defying them. Their champion was the Indian-fighter Andrew Jackson. The outcome was that a substantial portion of the new nation developed, over many generations, a rather savage, unsophisticated set of mores. Traditionally, it has been balanced by a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility from the Northeast and upper Midwest. But that latter sensibility has been losing ground in population numbers--and cultural weight.
The coarsened sensibility that this now-dominant Southernism and frontierism has brought to our national dialogue is unmistakable. We must endure "lapel-pin politics" that elevates the shallowest sort of faux jingoism over who's got a better plan for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Note that Hirsch attributes to the North "a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility" -- a sensibility that seems lacking in any actual Yankees anyone has ever met. Far from being "diplomatic" and "communitarian," the typical Yankee is a rude, pushy, vulgar, grasping materialist, Donald Trump being the perfect embodiment of this type.

Anyone who has lived in both North and South can testify to the difference in manners. Southerners are, in general, more friendly and courteous. Visit any commercial establishment in the South -- especially the small-town South -- and you will be thoroughly sirred and ma'amed and thanked and pleased. While the small-town North lacks the pushy rudeness of Northern cities, even small-town Yankees are less outgoing, their courtesy more formal and less enthusiastic, than in the South.

Yet Hirsch calls the South "savage" and "unsophisticated" -- quite true, if patriotism and courage are "savage," and faith and honor are "unsophisticated."

Best of all, Hirsch is a graduate of Tufts University (in Massachusetts) who's spent nearly his entire journalism career as a foreign correspondent and has never even set foot in the South, so far as one can tell from his Newsweek biography.

The arrogance of infernal Yankeedom!

UPDATE: In re-reading Hirsch's column just now, I find myself asking, "What's your point?" Is there any actual newsworthy relevance to this?

Hirsch contrasts "nativism and yahooism versus eagerness for the new and openness to innovation," then he says that in the Texan Bush there is "little trace left of the Eastern WASP sensibility into which he was born and educated," and there are some references to John McCain and Barack Obama. But there's no actual point, except that Michael Hirsch hates Southerners.

A senior editor at Newsweek has leisure to compose a 1,200-word screed telling more than 80 million Americans that he considers them uncouth barbarians? Nice work, if you can get it.

UPDATE II: Welcome Ace of Spades HQ readers. I've been a closet AOSHQ Moron for a long time, but I've never been a "Top Headline" before. I feel so ... special. Please give me money.

UPDATE III: Just for the heck of it:

How's that for savage and unsophisticated? If that doesn't make you stand up and salute, I don't know what will.

UPDATE IV: Instapundit:

"Jeez, they used to at least wait until after they lost the election to start this talk."


  1. Perhaps he's offering his resume to Obama?

  2. I have lived all over the United States from Maine to LA to NYC to the deep South and I can tell you that the idea of Southerners being more polite and friendly or Northerners being rude and abrupt is total bunk. It is an urban legend that gets passed on with no basis in fact. My actual experience has shown me that Americans from ALL parts of the US are generally polite, friendly, and not rude or abrupt. I am purposely friendly with waiters, store clerks, strangers, everyone and I get that friendliness returned by the vast majority of people North and South. And yes that applies to mid town Manhattan too!

  3. "I am purposely friendly with waiters, store clerks, strangers, everyone and I get that friendliness returned by the vast majority of people North and South. And yes that applies to mid town Manhattan too!"

    My experience is just slightly different.

    Rudeness is by no means universal in New York, you can generally go through the day without experiencing it - but my experience in Manhattan is that politeness and friendliness (and willingness to get off your a-- and do something) varies by who you are and how readily apparent it is who you are.

    I make a point of being polite too, but, sorry, that's there.

    Actually midtown is the not the main problem - the main problem isn't people at the upper echelons - it's somebody, be it a security guard, taxi driver, teller (whatever you call them) at a subway stop, etc. who has a chip on their shoulder [fill in whatever reasons why] and makes up for it by going on power trips with everybody else.

    (Might catch flack for this, but) I also think a big part of what people mistake for being rude in New York is actually people just being incredibly lazy.

  4. *"We must endure "lapel-pin politics" that elevates the shallowest sort of faux jingoism over who's got a better plan for Iraq and Afghanistan."*

    I guess on Planet Hersch a "better plan for Iraq and Afghanistan" involves inexperienced, Junior Senator liars focusing on the deep strategies of helter-skelter Troop Removal while publicly licking the boots of the enemy (that means you, Jimmah).

    I'll take that "faux jingoism" over incessant bleating of promised "Hope" and "Change" with no substance behind it whatsoever.

    Hirsch should ring up Nancy Pelosi and ask how her "new order of business" is going in the House.

    Also, sorry, Hirsch, but you pure-bred Beltway and Boston bluebloods consistently drive much worse than our Texas drunken illegals.

  5. Yew callin' mah jigoism faux?

  6. Agree with every word of this post (well, except Update #3 - LOL).

    "Ace Reader," you must have lived in the "bitter" sections of LA/NYC/Maine, or you are unusually friendly yourself (which will usually generate a positive response).
    I've lived everywhere too, and I can say without the slightest hesitation that Southerners are absolutely more friendly and polite. That's not to say northerners are necessarily rude, but they aren't like Southerners. It IS different. I keep to myself more, which was fine up North. Here in the South, I was surprised at first how friendly and warm people are without prompting. I LOVE the people here, and I wouldn't leave for anything. It's a much happier place to live.

    I never realized there was such a difference until I came back to Alabama after an almost 20-year absence, and now I wonder how I could stand being away so long.

    (Bonus: we have fewer moonbats!)

  7. Bless your heart for writing this.

    Leaving out the 8 1/2 years that I lived overseas, I have managed to spend significant periods of time living in the West, South, and North of America. I grew up in Pennsylvania and I have retired from the military and remained in Alabama -- because it is nicer here.

    I agree with Beth, except for Update # 3. Before I was transferred from Massachusetts to Alabama, I was told by people who grew up in the South, that living in the South is different. They didn't say it but what I discovered is that it is much better here than the North. People are more open, friendly, and polite.

    The Snob Quotient™ is much lower than in the North. An additional plus, as Beth noted, is that the population of moonbats is lower.

  8. I grew up in Iowa and joined the Army out of high school. After nearly 20 years, I have spent only three in the North. All I can say is that I am proud that my children are Southern. ace reader is simply wrong to call this an urban myth.

    Have a tire blow out and count the number of cars that pass you before someone stops to see if you need help... is there any doubt where it happens quicker (if at all)?

    If it weren't so complicated, I'd be for succession again (bloodless that is). There is little doubt in my mind that the South would triumph in the economic arena.

    Boy, the North would be bummin'. Who would they get to join the military?

  9. Ha, born and raised in the south! Born in Jackson Miss. and raised in B'Ham Al. I am now living in NY.

    With that background I run into alot of the same elitist mentality. It is funny too. There is more poverty and uneducated people here then in the deep south. Dont even get me started on the whole redneck label. Man does every state have it!

    You just have to sit back and muse at these people though. In the same breath he talks about how conversationalist and tolerant they are while at the same time labeling millions of people as simple minded racist. Now that is tolerant and accepting!

    The whole Red state argument is also flawed. Look at any voting geographic map and you will see a Very mixed country. One that is not split by geographic boarders.

    On hospitality...It is hard to say. Outside the city Northerners are very nice. Would they help you out on the street? Havent seen it yet. I did it once to a woman and you would have thought i was lepard! I took her by complete suprise pulling over and asking to help. I all Southereners are friendlier.

  10. Politeness or the lack thereof isn't the point.

    What I find objectionable about the Newsweek piece (of trash) is the author's classification of Southern (or rural) America's values as "savage" and "unsophisticated." He also refers to their "coarsened sensibility."

    What garbage. This is just a Northeast Lefty's way of demonizing points of view he disagrees with, without having to actually debate those points of view.

    It is typical of the Left to consider themselves morally and intellectually superior to those on the Right, without producing any evidence of such superiority. This is why the Left is so dangerous. For them, the only legitimate point of view is their own, and if anyone disagrees, he or she must have some defect. So only the Left should be entrusted with power, according to them. And when they lose elections, well, there is obviously something wrong with the rest of the country.

    The values this Newsweek writer (Hirsh) so denigrates are actually the values that built this country, such as independence, self-reliance, and accountability. Hirsh obviously believes that the values of the welfare-statist Europeans (reliance on the state, fear of acting on one's independent judgement, kowtowing to international corrupt cesspools such as the United Nations) are superior to ours.

    Hirsh's piece exposes his own prejudices. Nothing else. He should be embarrassed to publish such idiocy.

    By the way, I am originally from the North. I have lived in the South, and I have been residing in New York City now for almost twenty-four years.

  11. By the way, here is a link to another commentary about the silly, stupid Newsweek piece.

    This commentary is from Victor Davis Hanson's web site.

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