The South: Mint Juleps and Mullets
What does a non-Southerner need to know to understand the South?
I confess, I am perplexed by the South. I live a mere five miles below the Mason-Dixon line, so I get a touch of exposure to what I'm going to call "Southern notions" that contrast with the image of the ur-redneck we've been fed by popular media.
These are things like a particular kind of politeness (more properly thought of as manners), and refusing charity. There's this Southern ideal of a kind of bruised gentility that causes a bit of cognitive dissonance when you realize, This was a society that owned slaves.
Are there two Souths? Someone in another thread talked of a conflict between rich and poor, and their differing attitudes antebellum. Just as there is a strong strain of hospitality and social openness, there is also a strong sense of tribalism and grudge-holding; I think of the border skirmish between Kansas and Missouri that got people's backs up in a GWJ thread up 150 years later.
EDIT: For great clarity!