The Abbeville Institute is dedicated to promoting Southern culture, and doesn’t shed a single calorie denigrating others. Every article I’ve read in the Abbeville Institute blogs cheer and champion the many good things about Southern culture, and I dare anyone to find even so much as a syllable that expresses outrage at what others might be doing. Personally, I couldn’t care less how many Yankees wear socks with sandals, because I’m never going to suggest they stop it. Oh, I’m definitely going to laugh at it every time I see it, but I would never begrudge them the opportunity to look as silly as they want.

That being said, my interest was definitely piqued this week when I saw an article describing how a restaurant in Vermont was challenged on social media by a woman who was offended that they used the word “bacon” to promote their business. You see, for religious reasons, she doesn’t personally approve of bacon, and the restaurant totally caved in. They didn’t even use the word “bacon” in any kind of offensive religious context – they just simply advertised that they served bacon at their restaurant, which apparently caused this woman to crumble into hysterics. Apparently, the word “bacon” is her personal kryptonite. I feel pretty sure that the restaurant set new world records with the speed in which they collapsed to the complaints of one solitary individual, who wasn’t even one of their customers to begin with. Yet, I also wonder how that woman reacts every time the Purina commercial comes on TV for Beggin’ Strips, and that little dog runs amuck all over the house screaming BACONBACONBACON!!! Those must be difficult evenings for her.

The article I read didn’t mention the woman’s nationality, but I want to go ahead and award her with an Honorary Yankee distinction, because she definitely has a grasp of the heart and soul of Yankee thinking – the eradication of all things contrary to your own personal point of view in the name of diversity. It’s not an easy concept to master, but she’s probably got a good base of examples to follow up there in good old Vermont.

And all of THAT made me think about the South. I recognize that we have a large variety of fundamentalists down here that might not participate in the consumption of the pig, but I also recognize that we have an awful lot of pork throughout Southern culture. Somehow, these two dichotomous positions have achieved a working arrangement, and I want to celebrate that today. Therefore, here are three simple ways in which Southern culture is all porked up.

1. BBQ Joints. Although we have a lot of fundamentalist diversity in the South, we also have BBQ joints about every twelve feet. Actually, what we have in the South is a lot of fundamental diversity in the preparation of BBQ. There’s vinegar-based and ketchup-based; there’s bone in and bone out; there’s sliced, cubed, pulled, and shredded. There’s even a North Carolina contingency that wants to put cole slaw on it. But what we don’t have is anybody dumb enough to complain about it. I’m actually laughing at the thought of somebody going into Chuck’s BBQ and telling them that they are offended by pork. I wish I could be there if that ever happened.

2. Football. Old footballs were made of pig leather, so the word “pigskin” is used interchangeably with the Southern national past time of football. I mentioned that I wanted to be there if someone told a BBQ joint they couldn’t advertise their use of pork. I definitely DO NOT want to be there to see someone try and tell some Georgia Bulldogs or LSU Tigers that pigskin is offensive to them. It would get ugly in a big fat hurry. And don’t even get me started on the Arkansas Razorbacks…

3. Southern cooking. How can you fry up anything without some bacon grease? How can you cook vegetables without fat back? How can you eat grits without good old BACONBACONBACON!? To remove pork from Southern cooking is like taking out the water from a pot of boiling water. There goes the whole point. And speaking of Southern cooking, I once heard a Yankee smirk and say that Southerners would fry tea if they could think of a way to do it. And immediately, I started thinking to see if there might be a way to do it.

I can only assume that the sensitive woman mentioned above at least recognizes that her plan for world domination must make allowances for the South. It’s easy to make the spines of Vermont Yankees evaporate, but Bubba Ray Billy Joe Bob ain’t falling for it. We’re just a little bit different from everybody else. I’m trying to imagine some kind of local gathering where she tries to whip everybody into a frenzy because there is a large billboard in town that shows the outline of a pig and a caption that says, “You can smell our butts for miles.” Somebody would have to grab her and gently pull her back down, saying, “Look, you’re just going to have to chill out down here, okay? These people are different. Yes, I know that they are Americans, but trust me – they’re definitely not the same. They won’t collapse like jellyfish as soon as you complain about their culture. Here, put this Razorback helmet on your head and keep quiet.”

Tom Daniel

Tom Daniel holds a Ph.D in Music Education from Auburn University. He is a husband, father of four cats and a dog, and a college band director who lives back in the woods of Alabama with a cotton field right outside his bedroom window. His grandfather once told him he was "Scotch-Irish," and Tom has been trying to live up to those lofty Southern standards ever since.

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