Tolerating Upper Middle Northern Transplants for Dummies

yankees for dummies

About This Book

This book is specifically written to help Southerners adopt non-violent strategies to counter violent impulses engendered by Northern insensitivity to cultural differences between the North and South.

Foolish Assumptions

The author of this book assumes that you are stupid, or otherwise you would have figured out what follows for yourself.  Check out the title, lamebrain.

Why You Need This Book

Constantly hearing from virtual strangers how benighted you are can impel you to commit acts of violence.  Committing acts of violence can lead to your getting arrested and serving time in prison and/or getting sued by the so-called victim.  While you’re in prison being sodomized, your so-called victim is free to go on ad nauseum about how nobody knows how to drive down here.  This book explains why Northerners think so poorly of Southerners and offers valuable strategies to counter Northern verbal aggression with non-violent techniques.

Let’s Get Going

Okay, numbskull, let’s get started.

Chapter 1 – Why Northerners See Southerners as Inferior

Many Northerners only know Southerners from mass media.  For instance, let’s take a look at an example from iconic sitcoms from the 20th Century that depict life in the North vis-a-vis  life in the South.

the Typical Northern Family

The Typical Northern Family

 

the Typical Southern Family

The Typical Southern Family

Whom would you rather live next to?  The Cleavers?

the cleavers

Or Fred and Doris Ziffel?

Ziffels

(In addition, there is that little matter of trafficking in human beings, the Jim Crow laws, the proliferation of fascistic Southern state legislatures, the Duck Dynasty . . .)

Okay, let’s look at a scenario where you encounter some upstate New Yorkers who start yakking about how they can’t believe that just 50 years ago that Southerners designated separate water fountains for whites and blacks.

Let’s face it: not only are you no rocket scientist; you’re probably not even bright enough to work as a janitor in a jet propulsion laboratory, so chances you might counter the water fountain complaint with some inanity like, “Oh come on, dude, that was a long time ago.”

Even though forgiving innocent offspring for the sins of their parents may seem like a reasonable idea, you shouldn’t say, “That was a long time ago.”  Why?  Well, South Carolina just took down the Confederate battle from its state house grounds last year.  What you say instead of “that was a long time ago” is “Hey, since you’re from up North, maybe you can give me some advice.  We’re planning our vacation and are torn between the South Bronx and South Boston.  Any suggestions?”

That should shut them up.

Okay, now that you now why Northerners are prejudiced against us, let’s look at differences in Northern and Southern culture so we can better understand why Northerners don’t consider cataloging all the deficiencies of your hometown bad manners.

Chapter 2 – Causes of Differences in Northern and Southern Cultures

I don’t want to overload your low wattage circuitry by expounding on how the economic basis of a culture determines many of the folkways of its people, or how the fast-paced cutthroat industrial competition of the Northeast contributed to clipped vowel pronunciation, cold-hearted contempt of merging traffic, and a propensity not to allow a nano second to elapse before the light’s turning green triggers the laying on of the horn, or, conversely, how the South’s agrarian economy and sweltering summer temperatures fostered a more laid back approach to life, the drawing out of vowels, the slowing down under the minimum speed on an expressway to allow farm machinery to merge into traffic, or the adopting of a leisurely pace when moseying on our way.  It’s not important that you understand the causes of the differences but rather how misunderstanding the differences might lead to anger, then violence, then incarceration in some podunk county jail.

Even someone as stupid as you can probably identify which of the following 1890’s photos depicts Charleston, South Carolina, and which depicts New York City.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.58.10 PM

So let me restate what I said above in simple language that even dummies like you can understand so that when a Northerner starts spouting blatantly rude aspersions, you can understand where he’s coming from rather than taking a bush ax to him:

Northerners tend to be competitive and in a hurry.  Outside of college football, Southerners tend to be not as competitive nor in such a hurry.

Chapter 2 – How Differences in Competitiveness Lead to Different Behaviors

In the fast-paced cutthroat world of industrial capitalism, quaint old concepts like honor and courtliness lead to substandard living conditions.  You know your competitor across the twelve-lane highway is going to charge the naive, cash-strapped elderly widow considerably more for her car than the Brooks Brother clad CEO for his, so if you want to make it in the rat race, you have to bilk the widow as well.

Living in such stressful conditions can result in a certain callousness.  Encountering daily the skeletal remains of motorists in their fossilized cars who starved to death waiting for some kind soul to allow them to merge into traffic tends to harden the heart.

Because a major credo of the North is “time is money,” Northerners are eager to get to the point so they typically dispense with the niceties that Southerners find essential in maintaining harmonious relationships with their neighbors.

Cultural Clash Scenario 1: Northern Greetings or the Lack Thereof

Let’s say that a transplanted Northern executive who collects vintage Volkswagens drives by your trailer and sees a rusted 1978 minibus on concrete blocks in your yard.  He very well might pull in, march up to your front door, and bang on it right during the middle of supper.  When you open the door, you find standing before you a perfect stranger who says, “Hey, pal, how much you want for that piece of shit minibus sitting in your yard?”

Rather than being insulted and reaching for your shotgun, you should realize that this is how business is conducted in the North, so rather than responding with something like, “Why I never,” you should adapt yourself to the Northern way of doing business and say, “It ain’t for sale, fat ass,” and slam the door in his face.

Northern Impatience with Substandard Southern Infrastructure

Although you would think that Northerners moving from, say, Connecticut (2007 per capital income $54, 117) to Mississippi (2007 per capita income $26, 535) might not be all that surprised to find that the roads in Mississippi are not as well-maintained as they are in their home state or that schools in Jackson fall short in providing the public education you get at Baswick High in Bridgeport.  Nevertheless, it seems that Northerners are completely incapable of not pointing out to you how, except for its third-world-like warm weather, the South is as backward a hinterland as exists anywhere in the industrialized world.

Even you have enough sense to guess which of the schools below is located in Connecticut and which in Mississippi.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 6.25.40 PM

Cultural Clash Scenario 2: Northern Mocking of Southern Education

Joe Obnoxini and his trophy wife Maria Teresa have moved down from Bridgeport and purchased and remodeled a venerable Victorian jewel in Old Oxford.  Although Joe occasionally lauds the weather and often boasts about his shrewdness in man-handling his incompetent contractor, more often than not, you’ll hear him openly mocking Lafayette County’s potholes and public schools.

Given your low intelligence, you might be tempted to say something witty like,  “If Bridgeport is so fucking great, why don’t you move your ass back there?”

A better strategy is to do a little jujutsu on him. “Say, you know, Joe.  Mississippi ranks right there on the bottom in education.  But you know what, Bo, it produced William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Richard Ford.  How bout you naming three famous Connecticut born writers.”

I promise you he won’t have an answer.

“Friendly” Northern Bantering

Outside of the occasional friend’s Northern cousin, I never really encountered many Northerners until I shipped off to my state college alma mater.  The number of Northerners who had matriculated there surprised me.  In fact, in my dorm, all of my suite mates hailed from New Jersey.  At first, it was shocking to see some fellow from Newark smiling broadly, extending his hand, and exclaiming, “Hey, Tony, you ol’ cocksucker, how ya doing?” and then witnessing Tony enclose his assailant in a bear hug and replying, “Hey, you mother fucker, it’s been a long time.”

No, these fellows weren’t calling each other homosexuals or incestuous.  You see, vulgarities that Southerners consider grave insults Northerners use as terms of endearment.

It’s no wonder, then, that Southerners often mistake friendly overtures of Northerners as insults.

Cultural Clash Scenario 3: A Northerner Hints that He’s like an Invitation to Your House

Recently transplanted Northerner: Hey, asshole, where do you live in Folly?

Southerner: Oh, on the backside tucked in the woods.

Northerner:  Well, one of these days I’m gonna ride my bike back there and piss on your lawn.

Southerner:  I don’t have a lawn.

Northerner [exasperated]: Well, then I’ll piss on your car!

The Northerner, rather than expressing contempt, is reaching out and asking you to invite him to your beach house.  In this case, it’s better to play ignorant and say nothing.  Even if he were being literal, having him urinate on your car is preferable to spending an hour or so listening to him explaining why is old school was heads and shoulders above the one where you now both teach.

Chapter 4 – Summary

In the unlikely case you’ve made it this far in your reading, let me briefly summarize the main points in the even more unlikely event that their repetition will help you remember them.

  • The different economies of the North and South have resulted in different manners of behaviors.
  • Northerners talk and drive fast, don’t let you in traffic, forgo pleasantries, enjoy pointing out their superiority, and address even friends with vulgarities.
  • Southerners drawl, take their time, and engage in insincere pleasantries (e.g., calling strangers “sir” instead of “hey you.”
  •  These differences can lead to misunderstandings, and since it’s increasingly impossible to avoid Northerners in the South, it’s advantageous to know where they’re coming from.

Epilogue

If you found this book helpful, you might want to check out these titles from the For Dummies catalogue:

Organ Donation for Dummies

Checking in and out of Motels for Dummies

Fifty-Two-Card Pick-Up for Dummies