A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Matthew Shepard Reference Alert

AndrewSullivan has gotten himself worked up again, over Jimmy Swaggart, of all people, who said:

"... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

Leaving aside the fact that one would do well to simply ignore whatever Jimmy Swaggart has to say on just about any topic (which the vast majority of people do), I can't help wondering how far down the heirarchy of public figures Andrew is willing to go to find someone to blame for the next Matthew Shepard's death?

The "I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died" phrase that's got Andrew all bent out of shape most likely is just an old expression, and odds are, the people he was speaking to were well aware of that fact, and many of them had probably used the expression themselves. I can't fault Andrew for not recognizing a southernism when he reads one, but Swaggart's explanation is entirely plausible to me. I suppose that could be due to the fact that I am both a Southerner, and a conservative who opposes gay marriage, thus supporting the FMA. In fact, I'm certain it is.

But that doesn't make me wrong.

What if, for instance, Swaggart had used the phrase concerning a subject about which Andrew isn't monomaniacal? Say, grocery shopping, maybe. "I'm sick and tired of being in line at the grocery store, and waiting for the moron in front of me to fill out a check when he could have been doing that while his groceries were being rung up. I tell ya what...the next time I'm in line at the grocery store and see someone whipping out a pen after everything's already been totalled up, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died!"

That's just the way southerners talk. It's a big part of the southern dialect, to magnify things for the sake of absurdity. And the expressions often refer to death, hell, suffering, what-have-you. There's a guy down at my local watering hole, named Kirk. Ask him about his most recent hangover, and he'll tell you, "I'da had to git better to die."

From usadeepsouth.com comes a good example:

"My grandmother was the epitome of a Southern lady--an excellent cook, perfect hostess, and doting wife and mother. However, she did have one rather hideous phrase that brought my brother and me to our knees. Whenever Scott and I "acted up," Grandmother would assume the Sumo stance with hands on hips and announce, "I'll snatch your arm out and beat you with the bloody stump!"

I love the way Andrew writes, but he's got a bad case of chronic indignation. And, whether righteous or not, in its chronic form, indignation leads to only three things, none of which can I afford; liberalism, hair loss, and digestive tract disorders.

free website counters