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Old 07-27-2010, 06:19 PM   #1
moldymaltquaffer
 
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Default A-way down South in Dixie

It's been over a decade since I lived down that way, so I've forgotten many of the little eccentricities and phrasings. But I want to play them to the hilt with my character in an upcoming game.
Anybody want to help jog my memory?

Overview:
My intent is that the character will come across as "too dumb to fool", with that being a deliberately false impression. Much like it often is in real life. ;) I lost count of all the times I saw someone hamming up the role of a country bumpkin taking an outsider to the cleaners.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

LOL! As a displaced southerner, I have had occasion to play the idiot now and then! Unfortunately, I've also BEEN an idiot, now and then...!

Lemme see... At least from Southern Mississippi, I'd suggest:

* Remember that "Y'all" is always second-person plural--NEVER singular! It's a contraction for "you all."

* Always be friendly/polite. When you live in the heat and humidity of the South, and are constantly inundated with mosquitoes and such, well, folks get a mite testy. "Southern hospitality" and "good manners" are, IMHO, survival skills!

+ In this regard: There's always time for small-talk. There's always time to see how somebody's doing. There's always time to ask after a friend or relative, or even a beloved pet.

* Family is important, and family take care of each other. We may not always LIKE each other, but we take care of each other.

+ Family can be extended: "Uncle" John is really a family friend. And your dog/cat is often a beloved family member.

* As my Dad says: "Southerners are like the Chinese: We eat rice and we worship our ancestors."

+ As a corollary, we respect our elders.

* Family traditions often include passing down names that, on the face of them, are ridiculous. However, we bear them proudly. A few names to get you started: "Daisy Dee, 'Aunt Sis', Alma, Beck (as a first name)..."

* Some sayings/quips:
"God-willing and the river don't rise...!"
"The devil's beating his wife!" (Refers to rain when the sun is shining
"Bless his/her little heart (or soul)...!" (Often as not said with a hint (or more) of condescension. I've never heard a man say this--always women.)
* Food is important. There are whole libraries dedicated to various kinds of southern cuisine. Don't forget the grits! Nor the cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving!

* We still have Garden Clubs. In my home-town, the town's economy used to be based largely on tourism of antebellum homes, virtually all of which were owned/administered via two Garden Clubs. The town was "run by little old ladies."

* There is a certain sensitivity among many Southerners regarding racism. Many are quick to point out that racism is more pronounced/more prevalent among people of the North... [I'm not about to get into whether or not this is true.]

* If you really want to immerse yourself--pick up some old Jerry Clower tapes/CDs for "Southern Humor."

Hope some of this is useful!

Last edited by Furabo; 07-27-2010 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Every soda is a "coke" regardless of whether it is actually Coca-Cola or not.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

I'll see your Jerry Clower and raise you Ray Stevens, Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Bill Engvall. I'd like to say to forget Larry the Cable Guy, but just like every other region, the South does have its idiots. The Bill Hicks routine about a Waffle House waitress asking, "what're you readin' fer?" does ring a bit too true.

Country music is inescapable down here, and even the rock and roll has that deep-fried flavor: Charlie Daniels, Creedence, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Also inescapable: churches. You can't get anywhere without passing at least a couple; when I still drove to work, I'd pass at last four churches on the eleven-mile one-way trip...not even counting the religious messages on business signs. (And religious means Protestant.)

Health food here is fried in peanut oil instead of lard.

"Bless your heart" means "Wow, you're stupid."

Common courtesy...generally is, actually, with the assumption that you'll share the local values. (You're going to get invited to church, and not in an ironic way.) When you invite someone to town for a visit, it's understood that you'll look after them from the time they arrive until they're over the horizon. Southern hospitality is legendary for a reason.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Furabo View Post
The town was "run by little old ladies."
And don't you dare cross them!
The phrase "Yes, ma'am" exists for a reason. <grin> Use it often.
Or they'll have a come to Jesus meeting with you.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevBob View Post

(Snip)

(You're going to get invited to church, and not in an ironic way.)

(Snip)
This is probably the strangest thing, for people from other areas of the country. A common conversation-starter when people first meet is the question, "So, what church do you go to?"

The concept that somebody wouldn't go to church at all doesn't really occur to them, right away. If you tell them that, they take a minute to adjust, and then some of the condescension peeks out. If you admit to atheism, the condescension gets much stronger.

Hmm. A lot of the counties are "dry," which means it's illegal to sell alcohol there. However, a fair number of the people in those counties do drink, and they'll cautiously feel you out to find out if you do, as well. As for social acceptability, a "beer-drinker" is just fine, so long as they keep it in their own home. Somebody who drinks "hard-likker" is considered a bit of a wild-child, unless it's "just wunce in a whahl." That said, just about everybody in a dry county who does drink likker knows somebody who knows somebody who can get you some moonshine.

As for marijuana, nobody talks about it, but it grows excellently throughout the Old South. Basically, anywhere tobacco grows well, top-quality marijuana grows even better. So, you can get some dam' fine weed, down there, but you do not talk about it. Ever.

In a lot of the rural Appalachian towns, people learned a long time ago that lies get discovered sooner, rather than later. Everybody knows everybody else's business, all the time, anyway. So, brutal honesty is surprisingly prevalent, and sometimes a little tough to deal with. That means, if somebody tells you he's gonna kill you, you need to leave town or buy a gun. Now.

The cops can't be everywhere, all the time, and those country roads are dark and narrow, at night.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Metaphors are more common in speech. ("running around like a chicken with its head cut off"; "so stubborn they'd argue with a fence post")

Sweet tea (iced). Boiled peanuts. Brunswick stew. Hoppin' John, collard greens, and cornbread at New Year's. There's more than one kind of barbecue.

Southern strangers will actually meet your gaze, nod, and say hello. (New Yorkers glare. Californians ignore you.)

It's okay to have a dog and to say hello to one.

Fishing and hunting include performance skills to tell stories. Large percentages of the population have Area Knowledge (local river) so they actually know which sandbars you're talking about.

Perk: You never notice gnats because you're so used to them. You have learned to shoo them away with angled puffs from your mouth.

Even if you're going to Hell, you have to connect through Atlanta.

Quote:
Charlie Daniels, Creedence, and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Little Feat, Wet Willie, The Band, Molly Hatchet, Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Furabo View Post

* Remember that "Y'all" is always second-person plural--NEVER singular! It's a contraction for "you all."
I thought y'all was singular and all'y'all was plural.
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Furabo View Post

* Remember that "Y'all" is always second-person plural--NEVER singular! It's a contraction for "you all."
As Turtledove pointed out in his 191 Timeline series, Y'all and Youse Guys are identical in usage.
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

Certainly in the area where Georgia and the two Carolinas meet, Barbecue = Pork. The two words are synonyms except Pork can refer to pig meat cuooked in a kitchen.
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