New Yorker rediscovers South according to W. J. Cash

“For a century after losing the Civil War, the South was America’s own colonial backwater — ‘not quite a nation within a nation, but the next thing to it,’ W.J. Cash wrote in his classic 1941 study, ‘The Mind of the South’….

“Cash has this description of ‘the South at its best’: ‘proud, brave, honorable by its lights, courteous, personally generous, loyal.’ These remain qualities that the rest of the country needs and often  calls on. The South’s vices — ‘violence, intolerance, aversion and suspicion toward new ideas’ — grow particularly acute during periods when it it is marginalized and left behind. An estrangement between the South and the rest of the country would bring out the worst in both — dangerous insularity in the first, smug self-deception in the second.”

— From “Southern Discomfort” by George Packer in The New Yorker (Jan. 21, 2013)

 

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