The Help

Or, “Ole Miss Strikes Again,” the first time being, of course, The Blind Side.  (A post in our Southern Ambiance series.)

I was living in Mississippi in 1963 when the story takes place, and despite some of the criticism you may have read, the movie accurately portrays the attitudes of part of the white elite of the time.  For one thing, unlike some of the uneducated redneck population, the white power structure did not, by and large, consider itself racist.  There’s a line in the movie where Hilly (wonderfully played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Hollywood elite herself, and raised in Connecticut) tells Skeeter to be careful because there are racists out there and she could get hurt. This is while Hilly is pushing a law to require bathroom facilities for the black help to be moved outdoors.

For more on this attitude, which seems so patronizing to us today, read William Alexander Percy’s 1941 memoir, Lanterns on the Levee, where he writes in all seriousness, for example, that every southern white man is “owned” by at least one black man (who essentially regards him as another parent and funding source.)  And Percy was considered scandalously liberal for his day.

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Lion: Just what I expected

Getting a little bored waiting for the mortgage company to decide on our loan (or ask for yet more information), so I decided to upgrade my old (2008) MacBook.  This time yesterday, it was running Leopard (not Snow Leopard) and had a badly full VMWare Fusion / Windows Vista installation that I no longer need.  Today, as we speak, I’m up and running with Lion!

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God bless the USMC

As my wife and I were walking into the commissary at Parris Island this morning, just ahead of us was a Marine master sergeant — a DI, a Hat.  From the look on his face, he didn’t much care whether he went in through the door or the wall.

Just for a second, my blood froze.  Primal memories of military training long ago.  Then I told myself:  Get a grip!  You’re retired.  You’re Air Force.  You’re a colonel, fer crissakes!!  It seemed to help.

Sure glad he’s on our side.