Southern Cultures 8.2 (2002) 1-2
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Letters to the Editor
Is Britney Beloved in 'Bama?
We often get mail by accident. At least, we think it's by accident. The most recent example to cross our transom comes from an anonymous reader in Alabama who sent us his National Rifle Association of America "Confidential Member Survey." From this we learned that our reader hunts Whitetail deer and small game, that neither he nor anyone in his family has "ever used a gun in self-defense or to prevent a crime," that he owns his gun in part for "personal/family protection," and that he is "very interested" in "wildlife and habitat conservation."
That's all interesting enough, of course, but what did he think of the Britney Spears issue? That's what we really want to know about our man in Alabama. What went through his mind when the cover of Southern Cultures turned up baring the first belly button in our seven-year history? And does he think there's much crossover between the NRA and Britney's fan club memberships? We can only speculate. But fortunately many of you did take the time to tell us what you thought about Britney's arrival in your mailboxes last December just in time for the holidays. We print our favorite letter below, from Kelly Bruce, and you'll notice it originated from well north of the Mason-Dixon Line. From its deer hunters to pop divas, the South isn't just for southerners anymore.
[See Figure] "Congratulations on another fine issue of Southern Cultures [Winter 2001]. I did not know what to expect from a publication featuring on its cover Britney Spears, bare midriff and all. Regarding Gavin James Campbell's thoughtful article on Ms. Spears and her South: perhaps we should remember that, despite her undeniable status as cultural icon, she is but twenty years old. I feel rather sorry for her, actually. Clearly, she has never given any thought to the fact that her success is built upon a musical foundation created, for the most part, by African Americans. That she can blithely pronounce herself 'just a Louisiana girl,' proud of her origins in a deeply segregated town is, it seems to me, the perspective of a youngster who has never—for whatever reason—thought deeply about the world and her place in it. And witness, too, her use of sex in the creation of her image. If the reports are correct, it was Ms. Spears who decided to dress herself up as a tarty Catholic schoolgirl—Baptist affiliation notwithstanding—in her breakthrough video [End Page 1] 'Baby, One More Time.' Apparently, she just liked the look and thought it would be fun. One wonders where her parents were. My hope, though, is that over the next few years Ms. Spears will mature intellectually and emotionally. She will make the time to continue her education through wide reading and the experience of meeting and interacting with a variety of people, none of whom grew up in Kentwood. Then, one morning, she will wake up in her mansion, and before either shopping or working out, she will think, 'How could I have been such a fool? My God, I drove half an hour to private school so I wouldn't have to mix with the black kids! And don't even get me started on all that I've done to help objectify women, especially very young women. I just didn't know that the slutty Catholic schoolgirl has been a staple of pornography for lo these many years! If only I had realized . . .' Perhaps I can assist Ms. Spears in her education by getting her a subscription to Southern Cultures."
Kelly M. Bruce
Ed. note: If you're reading this, Britney, subscribing for yourself is easy. Just send a check for $28 to Southern Cultures, CB#3355, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3355. Or if you—or any of our other readers—would like to tell us what you think of Southern Cultures, you can email southerncultures...