Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Help for Us

A blog devoted to celebrating the Southern lady cannot ignore The Help, as much as it would like to.

Our problem with The Help is that any time a white lady describes the Jane Crow experience she is aggrandizing herself. She is showing how fine she is to recognize how benighted she once was and now isn't. That sort of self regard is unseemly. The only respectable position on the subject for the white lady is sitting down and being quiet for about, oh, 200 or 300 years. It's time for the non-white ladies to speak.

And the last we will say, in regards to The Help, is that its immense popularity and tsunami of praise (largely from white ladies, we can't help but note) embarrass us to death. And that is all that we have to say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beyond Polyester

DGF and I have been fighting off a Southern invader ever since it showed its evil face in the spring. It seems perhaps at last we will prevail--Northern technology once again overcoming sheer cussedness.

Our foe: Poison Ivy. A vine grew up one of the dear maples of Elmwood, so high it nearly disappeared among the branches and new leaves. First, with the hatchet we cut the vine just above shoulder height. Within days the leaves above the cut withered and died. Then, wearing gloves we had bought in a rainbow of colors to protect our hands from Miss Clairol, we applied herbicide. We did not mess around with "organic."

Weekly we painted the leaves, and as the painted ones wilted and curled, new bright greenish yellow baby leaves appeared. But we marched on, and this weekend we found no new poison baby leaves.

Miss Grimke: We can certainly blame global warming for Col. Poison Ivy. Can we also blame BP? For not finding alternative sources, say, forty years ago.

DGF: Of course. But when you get right down to it, we have only ourselves to blame.

Miss Grimke: Perhaps but we can certainly not blame Jimmy Carter.

DGF: He did what he could.

Miss Grimke: Which was not enough.

DGF: We get the leaders we deserve.

Miss Grimke: Do you really believe that?

DGF: Well, look at me.

Miss Grimke: I see you are wearing that petroleum-based fiber, which is great for bushwhacking at Elmwood.

DGF: This is going to be painful on so many levels.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Forget the dead white guy writer

We in the fan club think J.D. Salinger wrote a few good stories(not including Catcher in the Rye, which has not stood the test of time—ask anyone under 20!) and then coasted for the rest of his life. Nice job if you can get it! He could have been as over-rated as John Updike if he’d written more.

We have not been successful in recruiting DGF to trash JDS so we’ll move on to something much more interesting.

Susie Boyt has agreed to join the fan club! We are not sure which is more astonishing—that she agreed or that we were bold enough to ask her! Perhaps now we’ll summon the nerve to invite Geraldine Brooks.

To say Susie Boyt writes about fashion is like saying William Faulkner wrote about farming. She ventures broad and deep through philosophy and psychology. Her ethical and decorating sensibilities are finely tuned. She can make it perfectly clear how a particular dress, worn in a particular way to a particular occasion, can be a deeply moral act.

We have long been fans of hers, reading her columns aloud to one another at meetings. But a recent one of hers, appearing after we’d been made furious by valances, sent us into an ecstasy of identification. You see, Susie Boyt is embarrassed by pelmets (look it up). http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/976b0a58-cfe0-11de-a36d-00144feabdc0.html

SB is obsessed with Judy Garland and Henry James. She said the most wonderful thing about her HJ obsession in her autobiography: “The question that intrigued me in terms of both love and work was this: how can one be good and live fully in the world without taking on all any of the taint that the word 'worldly' carries.”

We are honoured to have Susie Boyt as a member of the club and to make her an honorary Southern Lady.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wake up people!

The fan club, frustrated by the hostile tone of public discourse, has decided to throw in the towel and enter the fray.

We are taking as our model the Wide-Awakes, recruiting people to dress in capes and caps, light torches, and march solemnly in formation through the streets of Cambridge at all hours of the night.

Just as the Wide-Awakes provided moral support and inspiration to an embattled and progressive leader, so shall we support dear Drew Gilpin Faust. Join us! Everyone looks good by fire light!

(I can see her face on the banner but wonder about the eagle.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ladies who skate

DGF did not pick up on our suggestion to move the Fogg to Allston, but we can’t complain that the skating rink was a bad idea.

Ice skating is an alien activity to southern ladies, but those of us transplanted north find it a delightful way to keep our figures and an excuse to wear cute outfits. I won’t say that we went skating with Drewdie, but I will say that she continues to demonstrate her ability to balance on a fine edge without losing her poise.

Over a few mugs of mulled wine after some mildly strenuous activity involving spinning and gliding, DGF and I dissected some of the finer points of winter footwear.

Miss Grimke: How many pairs of boots should a lady own when she lives up north?

DGF: One.

Miss Grimke: Last week I wore my black Bean duck boots, my two-tone La Canadiennes with the sheepskin lining, my brown Rockport hikers, and my shiny back tight-calved high-heeled dominatrixs. And that was on Tuesday.

DGF: I find that my wellies suffice for all occasions.

Miss Grimke: That’s because the world comes to you, and you have a “car,” as they say.

DGF: I need boots to check on the goats and rearrange the Christmas tree branches protecting the perennials.

Miss Grimke: You also need them to wade through the mess that your “critics” emit.

DGF: I find that a sense of humor makes quick work of that.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Looking ahead

In the first working week of the new decade we are looking forward, only. Looking back gives us a crick in the neck. What does the future hold?
To answer that question, the fan club convened in a warm cozy spot quite unlike the Elmwood garret. We curled up on the persian rug in front of the fire with the ouija board. Fortified with mulled wine, made from an old family recipe, we asked the following questions and received the following answers.

Q: Are over-the-knee boots as warm as they look and will they be worn by a certain southern lady of a certain age?
A: No.

Q: Will anyone have a job in June?
A: A modest fiscal stimulus focused on aid to the states would be a helpful insurance policy against a further weakning in the economy.

Q: Hinc lucem e pocula sacra?
A: Dum spiro spero.

Q: Will Richard Bradley stop whinging about DFG's not being up to the task, as if he weren't some kind of pretentious ignorant name-dropping pipsqueak?
A: No.

Q: Do the people who criticize DGF for not fixing over night a series of horrendous problems she inherented have a lot in common with the idiots who think Potus should have saved the world by now?
A: Yes.

Q: Will southern ladies of a certain age be asked if they are ticklish before they are carefully patted down by ladies of the homeland security?
A: Yes

Q: Is it really stupid that the arch villain in Avatar has a southern accent?
A: Yes

Q: Will Harvard go broke?
A: The top 10 US endowments have outperformed the MSCI global index by 5.2 per cent over the past 20 years. For each $1 invested, there has been an incremental $5 gain.

Q: What about Uggs for southern ladies?
A: No.

Q: When will it start getting warm again?
A: June 29.