Thursday, October 6, 2011
Li'l Abner - The Original Suthunah
I'm sure I don't have to tell you who Li'l Abner is. Or do I? The bulk of those who read blogs and internet stories are usually young enough to have been born after the death of cartoonist Andy Capp and may not be familiar with this iconic comic.
So, a bit of history first. Li'l Abner was a comic strip which ran in the daily papers from 1933 until 1977. It concerned the small Appalachian town of Dogpatch and its wacky inhabitants: most importantly, Li'l Abner, a hulking Man-Boy in torn overalls with movie star looks and Daisy Mae, the woman who is forever trying to get him married (to her) along with a veritable pantheon of other wacky and enjoyable characters.
The reason that Li'l Abner shows up here in my li'l suthun blog is that most people think of Li'l Abner when they think of a Suthunah (and vice-versa!) and in fact, Li'l Abner is responsible for creating most of the Suthun Stereotypes we all know and love. (Love? Well, I don' know about that...)
From Abner's use of such words as 'druthers' and such events as Sadie Hawkins Day (which is celebrated in many towns to this very day) and even his horribly fitting, worn and loved overalls, people grew to believe that suthunaz - ALL Suthunas - are all slow witted, poorly dressed and terribly educated. (Or should that be "edumuhcated"?)
Though I love a good suthun accent, most suthunaz I know have great vocabularies even though they may pronounce 'right' as "rat" and 'fire' as "fur" they usually use words properly. Think more Rhett Butler than Li'l Abner. Other than a few misplaced rhinestones, most suthunas I know also dress properly and I've not seen a pair of worn overalls in years. (I used to have a pair, but I think they got thrown out when they got too worn.)
Regardless of its lasting impression, Li'l Abner has long been part of the fabric of the US. So much so that this little comic strip spawned two movies and even an award winning musical on Broadway. Yeah, good movie. Let me just say this about the movie (the first one)..."Julie Newmar" as Stupifyin' Jones. Nuff said. Now, go rent the movie and enjoy.
Ok. More fun about the South next week.