I think in all the discussions I’ve had with people regarding Beasts of The Southern Wild, one of the more
interesting frustrating aspects is discussing the nature of language, accent, and speaking in regards to all the characters.
I have folks tell me they love the movie, but it’s kinda racist/classist how they talk - “they make them sound, i don’t know, retarded, or something” or ” i mean, everything was great, but they way they talked isn’t how anyone talks”.
Sure. I mean, as a southerner, I might have more of a deep buried southern accent than most of the actors who are not from the south. sure, I’ll buy that with a dime. But then to tell me “thats not how people talk”, gets you a two loose teeth after I slap ya pop in the mouth. What do you mean thats not how people talk?
Of course, it eventually comes out that none of these folks who go up and down about the problematic nature of speaking have never actually been to the south, and furthermore, never been in the deep gulf, where creole and some gullah and some spanish and some twang and some phrases that dont even make a goddamn lick of sense, is pretty par for the course. unless you have, like myself, decided to take your high and mighty behind to a larger city, wherein, you realize the way you sound, both accent and phrase wise, and you do everything you can to quickly annihilate that way of talking, because when someone tells you ” oh, i cant hire you with that accent, you sounds so, so, so….stupid” , you kind of work real quick to get around it.
But boo boo, all that aside, that is how people talk, whether it fits into your “I’d rather be PC to not be accused of being racist, rather than actually work on not being racist” it’s a small world after all type of world view. You don’t like it? Fine. But don’t tell me that people don’t talk like that when I know damn well otherwise because like my mom has always said, ” dont piss on my leg and tell me its raining”. Have you heard my dad speak? He does not make any sense sometimes, but I know exactly what he means. My dad was Wick, a sometimes drunk guy who carries so much hurt from dealing with the general unfairness of life, that his love for a child comes out in ways that not everyone understands.
But its not just even the language, its the mannerisms, the things people did - all of these things that people did an “oh my” to, are things that I thought, oh yea, someone finally kind of gets the south other than “hey isnt that the place where racism is from” , meanwhile in the next breath they talk about how the puerto ricans on the train are loud, they can’t understand why someone in Bed-Stuy feels resentful towards them, and well, come on, they voted for Obama!
so maybe it is “uneducated” but I’ll be damned if its simple. It’s a mixture of so many different things, many which people don’t even realize about southern culture because they are too busy smelling their own ass salts in some Smith College tshirt and some crocs to realize that maybe not everyone talks the same as them and furthermore, it doesn’t make you stupid or simple. Southern colloquialisms and phrases hold more magical linguistic weight than your direct ass grad school language. And you wanna know how?
Because after these conversations, when I smile and say, “well bless your heart”, people smile back and say “thanks”.
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