Our teacher mentioned the exact words “Southern aristocracy” yesterday while we were examing Huck Finn, and it prompted me to not only do a little research on the phrase, but to ponder why, exactly, I picked it as my blog title. First things first, and I really did have to laugh out loud when I stumbled upon this in a Google search:
The 1866 Civil Rights Act included a provision designed to prevent Southern aristocrats — pseudo-aristocrats, really — from exercising dominion over the citizens around them.
This phrase in and of itself killed two birds with one stone. Not only did I not feel the need to research any more, but I realized that I couldn’t have picked a better blog title if I’d tried. Pseudo-aristocrats indeed! I’ve always had a pretty prominent aspirational streak in me, and I doubt I need a psychiatrist to diagnose why that is, but I won’t go into that here. Actually, at the risk of offending anyone who might be reading, I probably wouldn’t ever write about it period. I think that’s one of the main challenges writers face when they start writing about themselves, or any semblance of themselves, even in alleged fiction. In my case, at least, way too many Valdosta, Georgia anecdotes would manifest themselves in the work, and feelings would get hurt and people would get offended. And hopefully a few people would be flattered, but the former are risks I’d rather not take, so the debate ends there.
I’ll end with this, since I’m exhausted after a long week of classes and an endless work schedule: the teacher was presenting the concept of Southern aristocracy in a bad light; saying it can have a negative connotation, if you will, especially in regards to the pre- and post-Civil War eras. I didn’t disagree, and I could see her point in relation to the story, which Twain wrote in 1885 but set in the Antebellum period. And her mention of the two words made for a good blog entry=case closed!
PS–I’m a horrible Valdostan, as I’ve never stepped foot in The Crescent as far as I know. Been on the porch and grounds many, many times, but never inside.