57 Comments

Small town conservatives just wanna grill. Like you say, this provides them with a certain degree of protection ... Simple disinterest in anything the left has to say. OTOH, they go and support college sportsball, thereby supporting the very institution that despises them more than any other. Which in many ways is the ultimate failing of conservativism.

Another protection, which Kulak pointed out a while back, is that they have made themselves cringe. Redneck culture avoids cooptation by the liberal borg specifically because it gives liberals the ick.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

“I’m beginning to think you like Hitler more than football,” my dad said in disgust as I spent another afternoon watching WWII documentaries instead of playing football with him and my brother. “I can’t believe you’re my son.”

Thus I found myself at 13 adrift in the land of bayous. So I latched onto anything that was unlike the shallow conservatism that was obsessed with sports and toys (trucks!) and a SBC feel good faith that you’re not supposed to take too seriously.

I landed a coveted spot in Mr. R’s class where the brightest in the school got together and debated current events. Mr. R looked like a cross between Woodrow Wilson and Steve Jobs, had vaguely mentioned making enough in finance to retire in his 30s, and had decided that teaching was his vocation. Nothing about his appearance suggested leftist inclinations though the classroom had a ‘Free Tibet’ poster and another of that Viet monk self-immolating.

Since the debates were going nowhere in an environment where all of us agreed that 90s era Republicanism was best I decided to deliberately stake out the most radical left position on everything. And it was at that point that Mr. R was giving me restrained but definite “attaboys” after class and letting me borrow all the Chomsky, old Nation mags, and whatever was popular at that time.

It’s not an interesting story but that’s all it really took. I had no idea there was a dissident right at the time. One teacher could’ve saved me 10+ years of shitlibbery.

Expand full comment

You are on the mark with everything you said. I considered teaching, maybe I will get into it when I retire from my current career, but honestly, I don't think I can be around the kind of women that get into teaching.

Now as a California transplant to SC, I love it here. I see everything you are saying tho. Not the most cultured.

Expand full comment
Nov 6, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Really great piece, sir.

Makes me happy to finally have landed in the profession (as many friends and family tell me - "FINALLY, you're a teacher!").

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

What I like about you is that you leave no one off the hook.

Dunno that I can agree about the characterization of Thomas Frank as a "normie liberal," though. He's pretty dissident-left, at least compared to the likes of deep-state corporate stooges like Reich. Like Reagan, I guess the Democratic Party left Frank.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I have lived in the Raleigh / Durham area since the early 90s. Calling it a Yankee colony isn't a bad description, but in my opinion it's trending more towards San Francisco. Every highway exit now has a sizeable beggar colony. Wake County is a "sanctuary county", so we're taking in "migrants" (we really should call them "invaders") at a frightening rate. Even here in my little hick town on the Eastern edge of Wake County, the public library is filled with trans propaganda. Check out this gem from "She Persisted: Rachel Levine" --

And Rachel was born transgender or trans for short. That means she was born with a boy body, but on the inside, in her mind and in her heart, she was a girl.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Can a teacher anywhere really get away with mentioning Evola, Dugan, or the like in a positive way? This would raise eyebrows with the staff of even a small town school.

Expand full comment
Nov 19, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Do you know of a book list counterbalancing the Leftist banned books™️?

Expand full comment
Nov 16, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

This is so spot on - I used to live in South Carolina, and it is just as you describe.

Expand full comment

I think some of this is just classic American anti-intellectualism. I grew up in NYC - the Bronx to be exact - and if I hadn't always scored into the "accelerated" classes and "specialized" high schools it would've been very similar. Even with the advanced everything looking back I wish I'd been taught by Jesuits. I knew a lot of kids who didn't have my luck and the difference was stark. This was of course before PC and the woke cultural revolution.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I don't know much about the American South, so I will just say: elegant and amusing prose, as usual.

Expand full comment

Great article, wish there were such places as you speak of in Canada, but as I know of a few like them in France I'm hoping to move out there. Seems that people from South Carolina like many other Americans from conservative regions are wise, smart and instinctually see through the woke nonsense the left is troding out.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I appreciate the point about Conservative, Inc., but think lumping some 5 million people in SC alone into a narrow yet shallow caricature is no different than doing it to New York or Mexico or a race of people. It reminds me of the Hollywood strawman treatment of Southerners put forth for decades as a people without nuance. I appreciate the writing but don't recognize myself or the people I know in any of this. Hopefully, you have found a place you like better than SC as it seems you are a fantastic teacher, which we need desperately in the US.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Objective, impartial, factual was hammered into us when I was at university doing pol-sci, econ, sociology and all the rest of it.

You hang your own opinions, beliefs and what not on the peg of your locker-door when changing into your work-clothes, was the ethic.

Present an idea as it presents and describes and defines itself, then scrutinise it: i.e. let the class scrutinise it and challenge their assertions and reflexive responses.

Anyone cleaving to an idea, claiming that said idea may not be challenged, picked apart and analysed demonstrates one thing and one thing only: their lack of faith in said idea.

Expand full comment
Nov 7, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

It's all in the presentation. "Some thinkers think this, other thinkers think that" is, on the surface, neutral. Plausible deniability. But in an environment where "this" is the only thing on offer, any exposure to "that" can be powerful.

Expand full comment

Regarding the emphasis on sports in the south (and elsewhere) that you make slight mock of -- you do realize that regular physical activity is especially good for humans, don't you? Don't know that the so much can be said for regular bouts of talking -- and thinking about, and responding to, the words of other (i.e., reading).

Expand full comment