Ignoring his repeated appeals to do nothing of the sort, we pay tribute in this issue to the career of John Shelton Reed. Reed innocently looks at the most important southerners on the twentieth-century, the shape the South might take by 2036, and even the wild sounds of 1950s rock. Some of our good friends line up to comment, scold, and skewer the author, sociologist, and newly retired professor.
"Daddy said he wouldn't go to church, so she shot him."
"'It ain't bragging if you can prove it.'"
"Nobody enjoys getting his tongue extended far into his cheek more than Reed, and few have such a reach."
"It is the illusion of his style that Reed is a sort of good old boy, sitting on his porch, swigging his whiskey, going out the back to shoot hapless mammals."
"The object of John's climb is what is presumed to be a coon nestled among the giant sweet gum's topmost branches."
"'Southerners can't grasp anything that isn't couched in a Br'er Rabbit tale. They got cornmeal mush for brains.'"
"Reed burst on the southern scene in 1972 as a contrarian, and, as we know, he has remained very much a contrarian to this day."
"Even as he turned to a form of largely conservative cultural commentary on all sorts of things, Reed retained a keen sociological consciousness."
"I don't have much patience with folks who say the Civil War was not about slavery."