Best of Grizzard - The South

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023
  • Jerry Summers

The American Ornithological Society (Bird Lovers of America) on November 1, 2023 announced that they were changing the names of some 70-80 species to remove any offensive human names in their title to “create a more inclusive environment for people of diverse backgrounds interested in bird watching and ornithology.”

Since Lewis Grizzard (L.G.) prematurely died in 1994 his reading public in 475 nationally syndicated newspapers has been deprived of his analysis of the latest effort to remove all racist and genocidal histories that may be offensive to Big Bird, Tweety Pie, Parrotheads, etc.

It is only speculation as to what his creative genius would concoct to entertain (or insult) his reading audience in 2023 but his thoughts to non-Southern natives as a similar removal of the use of his beloved, term, “The South” is necessary.

It would be particularly in bad taste to the Pride of Moreland, Georgia, that the alleged first collector of “McKown’s Longspur in 1851” is to go the way of extinction as the DoDo bird, at least in scientific bird literature.

Bad boy John P. McKown first fought for the United States of America in the Seminole Indian War in Florida 1856-1857 and expedition against Mormons in Utah in 1858 and then for the South in the non-Civil war.

However young bird seed buyers revolted in 2018 and started an effort to remove the late Confederate Army general’s name from his species now known as the “thick billed longspur.”

How he would react to the forthcoming change in the cornbread, black eyed peas, pecan pie, etc. region is speculative but he would probably defend his birthright as a redneck from Moreland as vigorously as he would General McKown.

In 1995 L.G.’s widow, Dedra, published a post death collection of 117 articles in “Grizzardisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Lewis Grizzard” (Villard Books) in which he declared his allegiance to the losing region in the 1861-1865 rebellion.

Is is anticipated that shortly there will be a movement to ban the name of the territory below the Mason-Dixon boundary line. In difference to L.G.’s memory this article will repeat some of his previously published reported loving comments about the region before it is banned from publication and “Gone With the Wind” (Oops):

1) “I say if you are going to classes to lose your Southern accent, you are turning your back on your heritage, and I hope you wind up working behind the counter of a convenience store with three Iranians and a former Indian holy man;”

2) “I don’t think Southerners actually say ‘sumbitch’. It’s more like ‘suhbitch’, as in ‘That suhbitch can flat play a cello,’ which I’m not certain has ever been said in the South, but I like to throw in such classy allusions like that to prove we’ve got more class than Yankees often give us credit for;”

3) “Giving Northerners unbuttered instant grits is an old remedy for getting rid of tourists;”

4) “It is true I had some relatives who fought for the South in the Civil War, but they weren’t fighting to save slavery. They were fighting to make Yankee men dress better when they visited Southern beaches;”

5) “Most non-Southerners think men named Bubba are nothing more than ignorant swine who wear caps with the names of heavy-equipment dealers on the front, shoot anything that moves, listen to music about doing bodily harm to hippies, and put beer on their grits;”

6) “Straight Southern white males—we need love and understanding, too, and once you get to know us, we aren’t what the cat drug in from the garbage.”

(Any suggestions for a non-offensive new title for “The South”? “North Key West” and “Havana West” are two of the early nominees.)

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You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com

Jerry Summers
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