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Vol. 1, No. 4: Southern Humor

“Damn Brother, I Don’t Believe I’d A-Told That!”: Humor and the Cultural Identity of the American South

by James C. Cobb

“As scholars and laymen alike struggle to determine what, if anything, constitutes the surviving essence of southernness, a close analysis of southern humor suggests that, contrary to our insistence on the seriousness of our endeavors, the search for new insights into the southern identity may well prove to be a laughing matter after all.”

As the fervor at the revival meetin’ became almost unbearable, the preacher rose to challenge each member of the congregation to confess his or her sins publicly and seek forgiveness. “God’ll forgive you,” the minister assured them.” Just confess your sins and receive his blessing.” Meekly at first and then almost heartily, the worshipers stood to tell their shocking tales of adultery, thievery, drunkenness, and neglect. As each member of this decidedly sinful lot rose and recounted his or her misdeeds, the congregation gave forth with “Hallelujahs” and “Amens,” and the preacher shouted, “God bless you for confessing your sins. No sin is too great for God to forgive.”

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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