Robbie Fulks On Writing Red-State “Country” Characters

Photo by Andy Goodwin

The South is commonly regarded as a peculiarity, a region whose creeper-vine oddnesses shelter it from present time and normal America. But consider these terms: anti-cosmopolitanism; valuation of family over section, section over nation, nation over world; love of country music; heartfelt attachment to the Obama double-whammy of guns and religion; attitudes toward non-Christians ranging from close-lipped, punctilious toleration to cold hostility; attitudes toward other outlier groups, such as gays and vegetarians, ranging from same to same; skepticism of pretentious display (e.g. haute couture, sesquipedalianism, non-Biblical moral exhortation); intimacy with work that hurts your body; lack of means. Sounds like the South -- but run these terms through your mind’s search engine, and see if all of America doesn’t come back. As Chris Rock suggested, leaving aside “New York, D.C., L.A … like ten places,” we’re a fairly rednecky joint.

Let me disclose my prejudices. I was raised in the country, in the South, but since then I’ve lived entirely in the North, in or near big cities. Maybe that’s why I have largely cosmopolitan interests, values, and opinions. For instance, I loathe Donald Trump. Not only do I think him foolish, boorish, shady, demagogic, and unqualified for the presidency, I consider him to be so vividly abundant in these qualities that it’s near-impossible for me to understand how anyone reasonable could support him, or interpret his ascendancy as less than an ominous threat. As a drummer in my band remarked years ago, “It’s not that I ‘don’t like’ Parmesan cheese, it’s that I can’t see how anyone thinks it... Sign In to Keep Reading

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