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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS We Get Hammered Sure, we should have seen it coming. A little more foresight, and we might have avoided having to publish all these letters primarily concerned with administering a good hammering. (In case you're wondering, we play the role ofnail.) Perhaps when we first invited you to write us with your comments we should have added something about it being acceptable to write us in the event you should find something commendable, moderately amusing, or in any way enjoyable between our covers. But we forgot about adding that part. So as you read below, you'll find letters from as far away as New Zealand telling us that we're uncultured, off-base, contriving, and often just plain wrong. We suppose that there would be little point to printing these letters if everybody thought we were perfect. Even though you hammer, we look forward to hearing what you have to say. "When I subscribed to Southern Cultures, I had in mind class, finesse, grace, and truth. And though I'm not a prude and love southern history, I am offended by the use of the .F-word [in the Spring 2000 Special Five-year Anniversary issue]. Your 'Rise of Southern Redneck and White Trash Writers' essay proved to be just that—trasoí The use of the .F-word was totally unnecessary. I am very disappointed. I never thought Southern Cultures would be anything but culturel" JuneJ. Miller San Antonio, Texas Ed. note: Weprobably should speak here about freedoms ofspeech andpress. We'll spareyou all that, though, andjust letyou know that by happenstance orFate, this issue marks the third ofour lastfour that includes the F-word (ifwe're correct in assuming to whichparticularwordMs. Milleris referring). Readers ofa like mind should avert their eyesfrom Gavinfames Campbell's tribute tofanisJoplin in this issue's "Up Beat Down South, " and these same readers certainly would do wellto avoidperusing their copies ofthe Winter ippfi Southern Cultures, in which esteemedAlgonquin Books editor Shannon Ravenel started the F-trend with her review of Good ?G Girls. "I couldn't help but notice the omission [from your 'Rise of Southern Redneck and White Trash Writers' essay in the Five-year Anniversary issue] of Chris Offut, author above right: Don't read herlips,fanisfoplin, the subject ofthis issue's "Up Beat Down South." Photograph courtesy ofElliott handy, Columbia Records, Sony Music, andlegacy. of The Good Brother and the short story collections Kentucky Straight and Out ofthe Woods. His depiction of the Appalachian side of the Rough South brings an insider's view ofthe culture of ridgerunners and hillbillies, something to round out the usual collection of rednecks, crackers, and white trash. Perhaps Southern Cultures will take a closer look at his fiction and what it has to say." William T. Wrighl Tampa, Florida Ed. note: We agree thatMr. Offut's work is worth) ofattention. "I read with impatience the musings of your notional anthropologist 'Robert' [in 'Front Porch' from the Five-year Anniversary issue]. It is futile to attempt to set down a specification ofwhat constitutes a soudierner, or southern culture, but as with sex appeal, anybody who has significant experience of the genuine article can always identify it in a nanosecond. Neither Thomas Wolfe nor his main creation could have come from anything other than a southern culture. The protagonist of Dog ofthe South I recognize immediately, and though he has a hundred faces and as many names in my experience, he could no more have grown up in Massachusetts than on the moon. Just because you can't snap a chalk line along the boundary ofthe South doesn't mean it doesn't exist." Frank Sillay Wellington, New Zealand Ed. note: We'refarfrom certain what constitutes southern culture. See Larryf. Griffin's attempt to tackle the topic again in this issue's "Southern Distinctiveness, YetAgain, or, Why America Still Needs the South." "I recendy readJohn Michael Vlach's article about the Aiken-Rhett House in Charleston and its 'processional' entrance [in the Winter 1999 issue oí Southern Cultures]. My take on it was that no well-heeled urban home owner in antebellum Charleston, who was in his right mind, would have...


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