Culture Briefs

For real, y’all

“Southern-ness … is supposed to be a marker of ‘authenticity.’ People who are from the South are genuine, forthright, the kind of folks you’d like to have a beer with, while if you come from somewhere else, chances are you’re a big phony. Witness Fred Thompson. … Southerners are always taking offense at people who supposedly look down on them, but to someone who was raised in the Northeast, the idea that Southerners are inherently more ‘real,’ and more American, than the rest of us is deeply insulting.

“Of course, this is part of a whole complex of stereotypes about what and who is really American. And nobody embraces them more than the liberal northeastern elitists in the media. As far as they’re concerned, the South is more American than the Northeast or the West, small towns are more American than big cities, country music is more American than folk or jazz or hip-hop, NASCAR is more American than basketball, and so on. The fact that those media Brahmins themselves don’t live in small towns or listen to country music or watch NASCAR is precisely what feeds their idealized view of what a ‘real’ American is, and what his beliefs and tastes are.”

Paul Waldman, writing on “The Dixie Bonus,” Thursday in the Tapped blog at www.prospect.org

Gay divorces

“A few years back, the debate over same-sex ‘marriage’ was on every television set, at every dinner table, on every political show, and on the tongues of most Americans. Starting a wave of legal and political activity, on Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court redefined marriage to include same-sex couples. …

“The forces to redefine marriage are now … attempting to dismantle marriage brick by brick, and very quietly. How then does one dismantle law, precedent and history quietly? Very simple — have no opposition. Since same-sex ‘marriage’ advocates have been largely unsuccessful winning their courtroom battles when opposed, they have cleverly designed court battles without opposition — same-sex divorces. … With no case or controversy, and both parties wanting the same thing, there’s nobody to stand in the way of granting a same-sex divorce.”

Austin Nimocks, writing on “Under the Radar Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ via Same-Sex ‘Divorce’?” Wednesday at ConstitutionallyCorrect.com

Blinding star

“The heart referred to in the title of Mariane Pearl’s book, ‘A Mighty Heart,’ was that of her husband, Daniel, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and executed by Islamic militants in Pakistan in 2002. But the eponymous organ in the movie ‘A Mighty Heart’ … belongs to Mariane herself. … This is not a movie about being kidnapped, but about searching frantically for your missing mate. …

“Of course, the film’s focus shifts from Daniel to Mariane Pearl for another reason as well: Mariane is played by Angelina Jolie, an actress whose global recognizability quotient is exceeded only by that of the sun. … This is one of those roles where casting can’t help but trump acting. Like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Angelina Jolie IS Mariane Pearl — and that marquee-size ‘is’ gets in the way, not of her performance, but of our ability to suspend disbelief and watch it.”

Dana Stevens, writing on “A (Mostly) Mighty Heart,” Thursday at Slate.com

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