Dear Jon: Let’s Talk “The South” when you’re in Charlotte

If you’re breathing, there’s a good chance you know that Charlotte, North Carolina, is hosting the Democratic National Convention (DNC).  This is an exciting time for the Queen City as we play host to conventioneers, politicians, and journalists.  There will also be a lot of kvetching over traffic and street closures, but I for one am very thrilled to see that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will be setting up shop at Imaginon, home to the city’s Children’s Theatre and Library.

In fact, I’d really like to be on the show to discuss the media and its southern stereotypes.  I’ve written about it before here on Pop South (See posts on DNC Announcement and the one on Martin Bashir over at MSNBC), and I’m certainly scouting out other journalistic blunders on this score, but right now I am waging a campaign to be a guest on the Daily Show to talk about the subject.  And why not?  The Daily Show has numerous reports that have been tagged “the South.”  The earliest one, on Strom Thurmond, dates to 1999.  And the most recent?  On Chick fil A, of course.  I suppose the region is a gift that keeps on giving, as seen in the report on “Tarred Heels” (below), which led Jon Stewart to conclude that North Carolina is the Democrat’s “South Carolina.”  Ouch!

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tarred Heels
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Tarred Heels (watch video above)

So, Jon, if you’re listening, I’ve got a book on the topic of the South in popular culture, this here blog, and hell, I’ve even written an op-ed for the New York Times. I’m also a fan of the show, if that helps.  And, I’d love to talk “the South” with you while you’re in Charlotte.

Pop South readers: Join me in my campaign and tweet to get @Sassyprof on the air.  Tweet this message:  Give @Sassyprof a guest slot to discuss the South and the media @TheDailyShow #CharlotteDNC


The DNC and the National Media—Bringing Southern Stereotypes to a City Near You


As we get closer to the kickoff for the Democratic National Convention, I thought it would worthwhile to repost a blog I wrote in February 2011 when it was first announced that Charlotte, North Carolina, would host the convention.  Look for more DNC-related posts in the near future.  Here’s the link to that post:

The DNC and the National Media—Bringing Southern Stereotypes to a City Near You.


Republican Candidates in the South: A Confederacy of Dunces. So, too, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir & Co.

Oh, for goodness sake!  The Republican candidates for president went South and the next thing you know Mitt Romney touted “cheesy grits” and practiced saying “ya’ll,” and Rick Santorum adopted a hick accent and told people “I got kin here in Mississippi.  I’m not sure. . . (don’t say “what I think about it!”). . .I’m very proud of it.”  Shew!  That was a close one.

I think that Kathleen Parker hit the nail on the head in her opinion piece in the Washington Post that southerners deserve better from their candidates.  The one thing that she missed, however, is that Santorum, Romney, and even Newt Gingrich aren’t speaking to black southerners (or Latinos who represent the fasting growing population in the South) AT ALL.

What made it worse, for me at least, was how MSNBC covered the Republican campaigns in Mississippi and Alabama–particularly Martin Bashir and company–as they chuckled their way through a discussion of the candidates.  Believe me, there is a lot to chuckle about when you hear the gems that fall from Romney’s mouth, but that shouldn’t let Bashir off the hook.  His show began with the banjo theme song from Deliverance followed by his opening statement “Oh, my goodness, it is a deep fried primary day down in Dixie.” Really? Hush yo’ mouth!  And then, between the graphic about Good Ol’ Boys (with the faces of Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich superimposed over a former Dukes of Hazzard logo), describing the Deep South as the “Cracker Barrel circuit” and then pondering what will happen “down in Faulkner country,”  Bashir did as much to perpetuate an image of the South as moonshine-swilling, varmint-eating, backward region as did the candidates themselves.   In sum, the national media is often no better than the candidates themselves in understanding the complexities of the South and the people who live here.

And this is what we are in for people, when the Democratic National Convention comes to Charlotte.  Because the media pundits, who are supposed to be “informed,”  will be looking for what makes this a southern city, and will likely miss what makes it as American as apple pie.