In the Winter Issue, Hal Crowther takes on H. L. Mencken, blackberries become currency after the Civil War, Cowboy Troy’s “hick-hop” lights up Texas, experts rethink North/South boundaries, and we visit the visionary architecture of Reverend H. D. Dennis.
"The South's diversity not only has room for 'High Culture,' it also shelters a range of vernacular cultures that Mencken barely recognized. As a result, the meaning of 'southern cultures' is far more fluid and unpredictable than he and many others recognize."
"He was a verbal bully with a bully pulpit, more entertainer than sly persuader; in terms of reach and impact, a modern equivalent would be someone like Rush Limbaugh, although Mencken's demographic share was predominantly young and intelligent while Limbaugh's is old and stupid."
"Nineteenth-century newspaper accounts tell of snake attacks. Hornets, as my brother could tell you, can be a problem, and bears are not unheard of."
"'My belt buckle is my bling-bling. It's just going to keep getting bigger.'"
"After two pricey tickets for speeding on Highways 17 and 43, their endless billboards screaming like previews of a coronary, I had to slow down."
"We can place the South into three categories: 'southern to the core,' 'pretty darn southern,' and 'sorta southern.'"
"In the deep peripheral ravines settled by the descendants of local sharecroppers, The Home of the Double-Headed Eagle shoots up from a long row of kudzu-covered shotgun shacks and cracked pavement to entangle passerby."
Simon & Schuster, 2008
University of North Carolina Press, 2011