A Note on the Humor Style of Thank God for Mississippi

The concept of Thank God for Mississippi was always ninety percent humor. The South is full of legends of comedy, and I came from a family that was always ready to enjoy that. Growing up, I remember my mom flipping to the back of Southern Living to get to the humor piece first. Comedy laced with self-deprecation and Southern-style outrage/annoyance was always in the midst. Family storytelling with an emphasis on humor was and is very much a part of our lives. 

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Mississippi and Me: Country Music, Inspiration for Past and Present

When I decided to set Thank God for Mississippi in Tennessee, it seemed as natural as breathing to include a passion for the greats of country music in my eponymous character’s repertoire of traits. She loves Dolly Parton and gets affronted when the main male character says something she perceives to be a slight to the Queen of Country Music. She has sung June Carter Cash songs at the annual town fair for years. She has a T-shirt that says: “DOLLY AND LORETTA AND PATSY,” (which is how, the main male character says, he located her at the town fair). You get the picture.

I’ve only just begun to realize the impact country music has had on my life. It’s strange to have grown up in Tennessee, not too far distant from Nashville, and not realize how immersed you are in country music. My childhood home is roughly 65 miles from Nashville, but you could pick up about five of the Nashville country stations and the local ones as well. Dolly Parton, the fairy godmother of Tennessee, is something more than a legend at this point, and we’re basically bottle-fed on her songs. So obviously, there is a natural connection with country music in the area I grew up—and in the area where Thank God for Mississippi is set.

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Travel Tuesday – Home Town Edition

Welcome to Travel Tuesday! It’s good to be back. Today I’m going to share about a trip I made related to HGTV’s Home Town, which is set in Laurel, Mississippi. But first, for some background.

Home Town is one of many renovation shows on HGTV, but it really is a standout. When it first premiered a few years ago, I was aware of it and watched here and there, and by just this slight exposure, I wasn’t carried away with the show. However, my mom started watching it a couple of years ago and highly recommended it because of the historical aspect of many of the renovations. Seeing the first season on Hulu, I decided to give it another try.

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Southern Q&A

Introduction:

The following is a collaboration by Lance Elliott Wallace of New South Essays Blog and Tara Cowan of Tea & Rebellion Blog.  We are excited to share a Q&A on Southern life and culture based on questions we have received.  Before we jump in, we thought we would give you an idea of our conception of Southern culture.  Southern culture is, by its very nature, multicultural.  Historically, the South is rich in diversity with heritages including Native American, Spanish, English, Scottish, Irish, African, French, Mexican, and Central and South American, just to name a few!  A blending of many cultures and the passage of time has led to certain social trends, habits, and styles that can be identified as distinctly Southern.  At the same time, there remain many individual cultures within the South that maintain their own distinctive identities.  Self-identification as Southern cuts both ways, sometimes celebrating history and values that are not shared by the subcultures that make up the regional identity. It’s not always pretty, but the complexity provides endless opportunity for exploration and commentary. This is a broad overview to keep in mind as you read!

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