The Corner

Politics & Policy

Re: Back to the Neshoba County Fair

Ramesh, I was 16 years old at the time of that 1980 controversy in which the Carter team tried to “out-South” Reagan, and have a distinct memory of it. One of the big-three evening network newscasts had a man-in-the-street interview that night with a guy who looked, physically, like a Manhattan-snob network-TV-news Central Casting team’s idea of the Platonic form of “Southern Hick.” I transcribe his words, as I remember them: Aaaah think Rye-gun’s a beau-zeau.”

Even at 16, I realized that the TV networks had their agendas. But I was, I admit, a little discomfited to see how easy it was for them to construct a counter-narrative in which “southerners” were “rejecting” Reagan, because of how deeply offensive his words were to “southern honor.”

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