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Reader Forum

Willie Morris Tribute


I just spent most of my morning reading the Willie Morris Tribute. I'm a full-time academic dean of a liberal arts college and a part time writer, but it was really nice to reverse those roles and spend all my time this morning not being an administrator.

The issue is a wonderful collection of memories, and I especially liked the account of going by the house and meeting Mrs. Morris. I'm beginning to discover how many good Southern magazines there are, and I add yours to the Oxford American and Brightleaf and others like that.

I'm also pleased to learn about The Southerner since I'm a graduate of UTK ('59, then known only as UT), and I returned there in 1962 for a two year teaching stint before coming to Mary Baldwin College. Keep up the good work.

James Lott
Dean of the College
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, Virginia

General Impressions


Here are some general impressions of The Southerner:

First off, it's a sharp looking online mag. It's easy to navigate and there are no crazy clashing colors that dazzle my eye. This doesn't seem too important maybe, but I've been to some sites where the text was unreadable because of violent background colors and clashes.

Y'all chose well, the mag is very tasteful, right down to the cartoon images of the staff here and there.

The tone is very friendly and down to earth, very Southern. Being a displaced Yankee, Southern is a little foreign to me, so I recognize it when I see it, and the mag "feels" Southern. That's kinda abstract, maybe a bit intangible I know, but these are general impressions.

I especially like the coverage of music, and the perceived openness for bands to submit their stuff for review. That's a class act, in my opinion. What kind of guitar did they give away at the throwing contest? Might have to go next year if it's a strat!

Keep on talking up the older blues musicians! They are getting up there and people NEED to know about them, even if they don't KNOW they need to know! Everything else seemed really relevant to the tastes and mores etc. of people in the South, at least the cross- section that I'm familiar with.

Take care,
Brian Spencer


The summer issue of The Southerner shows that the magazine has great potential. Thanks for sending it to me and I look forward to more issues in the future. I'm off to Poland in September and I can use the interesting stories as subjects for my English classes. (It's the southern part of Poland).
Best wishes,
John Moore


Just discovered The Southerner via a link from shucks.net and had to write to say Congrats!

It fills the void left by the departure of Y'all.com In many ways, I appreciate the slightly more serious tone of TS. Thanks for the new 'zine. I look forward to new issues.

Sid Daughtrey


Great magazine. I use it in my class to illustrate quality journals on the web.

Teresa Welsh, MLIS


I accessed your site expecting to find an e-zine illustrating all the South has to offer — past and present, young and old, black and white, conservative, moderate and liberal. I was sorely disappointed.

In the first article I read, I realized your view of the New South is a lottery-funded, planned unit development governed by Ivy League liberals, whom you call "progressives." You stereotype and hurl epithets at conservative Southern governors — labeling them "Bible-thumping," "do-nothing," "recalcitrant(s)" — giving away your political leanings. The article refers to civil rights being "set back by Reaganism," when in fact the rise of the Black middle class was a hallmark achievement of the Reagan Era.

You play up the fact that in South Carolina, liberal Democrat Governor Jim Hodges defeated conservative Republican David Beasley by championing a state lottery. You conveniently failed to mention that the hottest issue in that race was that "progressive" Hodges pledged to keep the Rebel flag flying atop the Statehouse but "Bible thumping" Beasley campaigned to remove it for the sake of racial harmony.

You have an obvious agenda for the South, and all the kudzu from Richmond to Birmingham won't cover up the fact that The Southerner's view of the South is Boston baked beans under a thin veneer of barbecue sauce.

Will Haynie
Editorial columnist for the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times
and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News

Editor's Note:

Thanks for the comments Will,

Not sure who told you we were an e-zine. (We don't put ourselves in that category; that's why we call it a magazine online). Or who told you we were trying to be everything to everybody.

We would have no problem running a story or an essay from someone who took a conservative position, as long as it was well written and contained a coherent argument.

BTW: Kudzu is not native to the American South. It's an alien weed. And the consensus around here is that baked beans are best with a dollop of cane syrup, a bit of mustard, and a touch of barbeque sauce instead of catsup.

The Editor
Sports Coverage


The link is up. Great article and excellent archive!

I plan on using your article as an ice breaker in new course presentations due to the excellent collection of stats and info.

Bill Trousdale
North Little Rock, Ark.


I just had a look at The Southerner and you've got a good thing going there! It will be a regular stop for me now.

And thanks for not overlooking sports. If my experience means anything, you can't talk about Southern culture without talking about sports. My compliments to Ron Sitton on two solid pieces.

Royce Webb

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    To contribute to Reader Forum, send your comments to mail@southerner.net. This will be an organized, moderated discussion area for our regular readers. Our hope for the future is to develop it into a cross between a letters to the editor section and an organized dialogue on the Web, although we do not like chat rooms or netforums. We reserve the right to cut and edit submissions. Include the words Reader Forum in the subject line of the message. Sending your comments about the magazine to this e-mail address constitutes permission to publish.

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