“During the mid-50s at The Raleigh Times, I worked across the hall from a News & Observer features writer named Florence King. Ms. King had a distinctive style that paved the way for a career as a nationally recognized author, essayist and columnist. Her piercing pen could puncture the most inflated egos.
“In one of her books, ‘Southern Ladies and Gentlemen,’ she recalled Raleigh as a place ‘Where people thought of the South as the womb and the rest of the country as “up North.”
“ ‘I suppose that has changed now, which makes me rather sad,’ she continued. ‘A Southerner without paranoia is like an egg without salt.’
“The local folks were ‘set on Raleigh becoming the Athens of the South,’ she wrote. ‘They never realized the flaw in the logic. Ancient Athens was not criss-crossed with pickup trucks containing gun racks driven by good ol’ boys who bragged that they had never gone further than the eighth grade.
“ ‘Plato and Aristotle did not punch each other in the ribs and say, “Let’s go git some beer.” ’ ”
— From “Raleigh, the Athens of the South?” by A. C. Snow in the News & Observer (May 10, 2014)
Miss (her preference) King’s obit in the Washington Post lists her reporting tenure at the N&O as 1964-67. Half a century later, her feature on Slimnastics remains a classic of zeitgeist-nailing.