So asks Reeves Wiedeman, writing for The New Yorker, in this charming examination of the Iron Bowl. (The whole quote is “who are we, in parts of the country with professional sports to cheer and (relatively) thriving economies to enjoy, to deny Alabamans a bit of crowing?” But, my post titles are automatically tweeted, and that wouldn’t have fit.)
Yes, please, benevolent superior Mr. Wiedeman. Thank you for not “denying” us our crowing, the one respite from our wretched pathetic lives. We are so appreciative for the haughty concerns of fine and cultured New Yorkers such as yourself, deigning to grant us primitive Southerners a few column inches in your fancy-shmancy periodical.
You know, there are some parts of the piece that flirt with an enthusiastic and innocuous knowledge transfer, but it reliably recovers its snobbish snark every time. Wiedeman has been here a time or two, you see, so he understands Alabama and can dictate thusly. (I mean, how much is there to understand anyway, right?)
Wiedeman also muses that “there is no other moment, save for regularly scheduled football games and unscheduled tragedies, like the tornados that struck Tuscaloosa in 2011, when the state of Alabama has the attention of their three hundred and nine million fellow Americans.”
The assumption that we want said attention says a lot more about you than it does us, Wiedeman. I’m happy for a certain subset of Americans, such as those who would come on safari down here to study the rednecks in their natural habitat before scurrying back to Brooklyn to write breathlessly of the horrors, to believe that it really is awful here. Barely have shoes and running water. Mosquitoes the size of hawks. Klan marching in the street.
If you ever got an accurate feel for the place, you wouldn’t leave. And we’re happy to have you return to New York.
(By the way, we built your Mercedes.)