I know, I know, it isn’t PC to say “stupid”. But when you get a bunch of people who populate mainly a certain corner of the country, who keep saying and doing pretty hateful things (burning down historic black churches, say, or dressing up in white sheets and hanging people) for decades and decades, and then completely ignoring the fact that TIME DOES MARCH ON, and every 100 years there are all new people, and we have WAY bigger problems than Emmitt Till whistling at a white woman, or the wrong color guy sitting at the lunch counter, or a black dude getting a job that a white dude couldn’t qualify for, since skin color is pretty irrelevant to skills, or… Oh, never mind. I’m sure you get my point.

Well, now we have DEFINITIVE PROOF that Southerners are the stupidest people in America! But maybe “stupid” is the wrong word. Let’s say “The tetchiest, most delusionally ignorant mo-fo’s in the USA”. Better, I guess, but substantially the same.

There’s this concept that recurs in primitive tribal circumstances called “the culture of honor, in which affronts are met with violent retribution“. And, where “from an early age, small boys were taught to think much of their own honor and be active in its defense. Honor in this society meant a pride of manhood in masculine courage, physical strength, and warrior virtue. Male children were taught to defend their honor without a moment’s hesitation – lashing out against their challengers with savage violence.” (D.H. Fischer, Albion’s Seed, 1989)

Gosh, kinda reminds you of all those Confederate flag wavers who would rather protect a symbol of … well, of something they made up, because basically it stands for the fact they lost the Civil War, both morally and physically.

I have a great bumper sticker. It says “Jesus would slap the SHIT out of you”. I would LOVE to display it, because it pretty much represents my opinion of many fair-weather Christians today, who think torture is great, drone warfare is perfectly fine, and amassing vast troves of money while citizens of your own country are hungry and despairing  is something to be aspired to. BUT I DON’T PUT IT ON MY CAR, because I know it would offend a lot of people in my neck of the woods. If you don’t like this blog, nobody is forcing you to read it. But there is a little difference, in which some sentiment or another is shoved into someone’s sight-line on a hopefully neutral roadway, in a way that makes it hard not to notice. So I choose not to wreck some people’s dipstick Fundamentalist pastor-duped day, because, you know, I am just considerate that way. Really.

But yet all these brain-dead Southerners think their Confederate flag – that says “racism, slavery, lynching of black people is all good with us” in symbolic shorthand –  is FINE to  insult and harangue their fellow citizens with, and remind them of a heinous and horrific history.

Way to go, you deep-South pecker-heads.

But back to the issue at hand. So, for a long time now, it has been common knowledge that the people of the South have saddled themselves with this “culture of honor” thing, so if a black person does something challenging, like not getting off the sidewalk quick enough, or not being sufficiently obsequious to a white person, well – honor must be avenged! Quickly and without mercy! Because fat, pasty, sweaty white Southerners are BETTER than those other people! But “common knowledge”, as we rediscover every time a Republican candidate for something invokes it, is often just something somebody says for effect with zero grounding in reality.

But not this time! An intrepid crew of scientists decided to create a series of experiments that compared and contrasted the behavior of the “culture of honor” Southerners with a more normal slice of citizenry – ordinary people from the relatively calm Midwest, in fact. And wow! Did they prove the point, or what!

The series of experiments is dense reading, so I shall compact it herewith to a more manageable series of points. But if you really want to go to the source, here it is.
Numero uno: The bump experiment. The setup was that somebody bumps into the subject and is rude about it. Northern subjects laughed this off. Southern subjects got PISSED.
Numero two-oh: the story of the passes at the fiance. After the bump experiment, the subjects were asked to complete a story about a guy whose buddy keeps making passes at his fiance. Predictably, Southerners overwhelmingly ended their stories with violence and mayhem: Northerners, naaaaah… not worth it.
Numero three-oh: The chicken game. Post-bump-experiment Southerners were MUCH MUCH more likely to push the chicken game right to its limits than Northerners, who really didn’t care if some guy walked towards them or not.
Numero-four-oh: The handshake test. Post-bump Southerners had MUCH harder handshakes than either pre-bump Southerners or Northerners of any stage. Apparently they felt they had to reestablish their testosterone cred with the experimenters and up their dominance levels big-time.

And then there is a ton of science-y stuff about measuring cortisol levels and experimental procedures, but you can go read that yourself. The bottom line is – and I quote – “The findings of the present experiments are consistent with survey and archival data showing that the South possesses a version of the culture of honor.”

Great. So we have Southerners throwing their machismo weight around in Congress. We have loud-mouthed racists blaring their sentiments all over the airwaves because they’re so “tough”. We have “culture of honor” police warriors who throw 12-years violently to the ground and drag women of color right out of their cars for not being sufficiently respectful. We have dickless Southern boys going into churches and mowing down black people because “honor”. We have bozo Southern congressmen pushing their hawkish policies into the body politic, which leads to more and more people irreparably damaged by the machinations of war.

So the South wants to secede? Terrific! In fact, why wait? KICK THEM OUT OF THE UNION TOMORROW, and good riddance!