Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Twang is the Thang

I've gotten in trouble for this on social media, but only with people who aren't aware of my personal story. So. I'll admit this freely. I have an inherent mistrust of men with a Southern accent. This distrust has its roots in the fact that my father is from Mississippi. His mellifluous way of speaking is initially disarming, it makes you drop your guard and listen intently. Initially would be the operative word here. After a while, no matter how charming the delivery, when you listen to the words the whole thing falls flat. Because it has become clear that his words and his actions have a serious disconnect. He flat out lies. About anything and everything. According to my dear departed mother, he was in the habit of telling a lie when the truth would serve him better. The thing with my dad is that he confessed to me in a boozy haze when I was nineteen that he was completely aware of the fact that he was a liar. That he could charm people to get whatever he wanted. Charm them. Tell them what they wanted to hear. This seemed to be less an unburdening of the conscience than a boastful description of a magical quality he was blessed with. This information sank into my teenage brain only to surface on pretty much every subsequent occasion when I had a conversation with my father. I recognized that he had given me a valuable gift. I had a filter to pass every word through that he told me from that point on. And like it or not, I recall what he has told me in his Southern accented voice, and I associate that sound with the lies contained within. I am happy to say there are a number of men from the American South that I love and trust. Exceptions to the rule are my dear Papa Larry, President Jimmy Carter, and Vice-President Al Gore. Lately my red flags have been flying like crazy! Every time I hear the current Attorney General speak I narrow my eyes and want to scream. Maybe he's a liar, or maybe he just has a poor memory. Maybe he's just not all that bright. All I know is, Southern accent or not, the content of what he says is laden with enough narrow-minded, discriminatory ideas that if enforced, are capable of setting us all back a century or more. I don't know about you, but this isn't the sort of time travel I'm interested in experiencing.

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