state of southern culture
Friday, September 7 2012
At some point in the day a Facebook post reminded me of something I'd seen on Slate.com about a reality show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which focuses on a contemporary white trash family living in southern Georgia. It's a spinoff of the gratuitously creepy show Toddlers in Tiaras about the preteen pageant circuit. Honey Boo Boo is Alana, a portly six-year-old pageant contestant with an unusual amount of swagger and repertoir of post-90s pop cultural affectations. So today I downloaded a few episodes and watched them in between bouts of web development. I can't say Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a good show or even watchable, but for me it served a different purpose: to remind me how southern white trash culture has advanced since I last was embedded in it back in the 1980s (and, to a limited extent, into the mid-1990s). I noticed two things. Firstly, southern accents continue their inexorable trend away from distinctiveness as ubiquitous mainstream American media culture saturates every acre of the country. Secondly, the white youth of the South continues to absorb and exhibit cultural trends with origins in the African American community. For example, most of Alana's gestures and attitudinal affects seem to ultimately derive from early-2000s comedies aimed at a largely African-American audience.
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