Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bigotry Against White Southerners On Display....

Connie Chastain wishes to remind us of how her mind works:

… all the heroes in my novels are Southern white men, and all the heroines are Southern white women. But then, a couple of the villains are Southern white men. However, MOST of the villains are yankee wimmin."

Apparently segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too....

Brooks Simpson
Crossroads Blog

This is interesting to mull over. Apparently, since he chose to comment on it, he finds something objectionable, or at least noteworthy, about writing that makes heroes and heroines of Southern white people. Presumably, that is a no-no for people like Brooks Simpson; presumably, we should conclude that his mind doesn't "work that way," and thus the only portrayal of white Southerners he approves of in fiction and drama would be negative ones....

Keep in mind that he draws such conclusions as "...segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too...." without having read my book... and since "too" implies in addition to, I have to wonder in which other world of mine he imagines that segregation reigns supreme... Ah, heck, he doesn't imagine any such thing... He's just lying, as usual.

When I was doing re-writes and edits of Southern Man, I wrote a letter to someone in the publishing industry. These three paragraphs are from that letter -- a description of how I knew the novel would be seen in certain quarters...apparently Simpson is in those quarters....
Southern Man is an atypical, offensive 100,000-word mainstream love story I wrote for the impolite purpose of honoring Southern, white, Christian males. I have the effrontery to portray the title character, Troy Stevenson — coal miner's grandson, corporate executive, and former college football star — in a positive light.

Contrary to prevailing American beliefs, Troy hates and harms no one, despite being culturally traditional and politically conservative. He's an honorable man who provides for his family and helps others as he can. But he's far from perfect. The novel's conflicts revolve around his personal weaknesses, chiefly a nascent drinking problem, the haunting family secret that underlies it, and the mistakes he makes confronting them.

If an admirable Southern hero isn't odious enough, Southern Man also commits the unpardonable cultural sin of dissing feminism. The heroine, Patty Stevenson, is a homemaker happily fulfilled by her husband and children. The villain comprises three women—an amoral 1980s material girl romantically obsessed with Troy and two radical feminists who help her file a false sexual harassment complaint against him after he rejects her advances.

Perhaps the most egregious cultural sin I have committed in Southern Man, though, is my refusal to take on the obligation so many Southern (and other) writers evidently embrace—to atone for the South's “sins” and accelerate its “rehabilitation” by portraying white Southerners, especially men, as evil racists, religious bigots/zealots, inbred idiots, philanderers, domestic abusers and/or rightwing terrorists. My characters are flawed but decent and personable, not the repulsive regional stereotypes all too common in pop culture.
Since Brooks Simpson apparently objects to positive portrayals of traditional, conservative Southern white folks, presumably, he prefers them to be portrayed in fiction and drama as evil racists, religious bigots/zealots, inbred idiots, philanderers, domestic abusers and/or rightwing terrorists.

Sorry. Not from my keyboard. There are gracious plenty other writers who'll slake this thirst for such portrayals....

1 comment :

  1. I wonder why Mr. Simpson is so concerned with your novels? Could it be he suffers from a touch of "white guilt"? It seems he sure does take a Marxist approach to his comments -you are wrong if you don't think and dont' act the way he feels is proper.
    George F. Will, a conservative American political columnist, wrote: "[White guilt is] a form of self-congratulation, where whites initiate "compassionate policies" toward people of color, to showcase their innocence to racism.
    Perhaps Mr. Simpson could use some shades to prevent his snowblindness.


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