When the American South searches its memory—and its institutional memory is powerful, to judge from prejudices and resentments with virtually prehistoric antecedents—it invariably revisits two great enemies who tower above the rest. It’s the Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and the Baltimore polemicist Henry Louis Mencken who provoke the most passionate curses from Confederate descendants with long memories.
It was Meridian, Mississippi, the summer of 1976. Preacher Killen was nine years past his federal conspiracy trial in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in nearby Philadelphia, twelve years from the actual murders, and in 1976 that seemed like a long time, though I realize now it wasn’t and that choosing to interview him in my motel room was not the smartest thing I have ever done.
A black bear brought his cubs to his alma mater for a home game, and the cool autumn day was a tonic to his soul, despite the fact that a drunken, redneck ferret a few rows up kept screaming obscenities throughout the game, making remarks about the coach and the coach's female relatives that could not be repeated in the presence of a minister.
Spanglish is not random. It is not simply a piecemeal cobbling-together, a collecting of scraps of random vocabulary into a raggedy orphan of a sentence. It has logic and rules, and more interestingly and importantly, it embodies a constantly shifting and intimate morphology of miscegenation.