My husband and I live in a small town in a country where we don’t know the language. The weather is bad. The customs are confusing. My husband is in school here, but many of my days are spent in bed, reading, and listening to the oppressive cathedral bells clang through the hours. We’ve viciously fought, too much, just about how we talk to each other. At times, I’ve had too much to drink. I’m either inattentive—glued with loneliness to my laptop screen—or I feel neglected. It’s like I’m Winona Ryder in that bad Jerry Lee Lewis biopic, when, as thirteen-year-old Myra Gale, she crumples to the floor and bellows in a blasphemous accent, “But I don’t know how to be a waff!” Because I don’t. And neither does he know how to be a husband. We’re still learning.
The New Mind of the South is Tracy Thompson's ambitious sociological analysis of our mystifying region. While the title of the book consciously riffs on The Mind of the South, W.J. Cash's sanguine exercise in self-loathing, published in 1941 and still largely considered one of the more profound examinations of our regional attitude, Thompson's work does less to encapsulate a consciousness than examine facets of her biography against the drastically altered socioeconomic landscape of the South.
I can almost assure you that no other Southern magazine will cover anything about Django Unchained, which is, frankly, pathetic, especially after the way those same outlets gushed their little hearts out over neo–Gone With the Wind apologias like The Help.
The fact of the matter is, Down by Law (1986), which was directed by Jarmusch, might be the finest love letter to Louisiana ever set to celluloid. In his early films, Jarmusch, like most creative types hailing from that great American no man’s land of Ohio, obsessively explores the identities of other storied cities he’s not from. Truly, it could be said that until his comically existential Western, Dead Man (1995), Jarmusch only made films about places, with people in them tottering about as scenery.