Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Yankee Shocked -- Southerners are Actually Human

By John Ballard

Despite all my complaining and condescension about where I live I am still a son of the American South. Born in Kentucky and reared in Georgia, I belong to a rare breed close to the endangered species list, the Southern Liberals. People like Molly Ivins and Clarance Jordan were my heroes. But at some level I am also offended when outsiders say bad stuff about the South when they don't know what they're talking about.

In the tradition of John Steinbeck, whose Travels With Charlie chronicles a journey across the country rediscovering America in his declining years, Constantino Diaz-Duran is on pilgrimage and on foot, walking from New York to Los Angeles "to celebrate his eligibility for citizenship."  I haven't followed his journey closely and probably won't, but I can assure you that this description of his discovery of The South is totally authentic.

I have learned... that my journey, while unique in its own way, is quintessentially American. We are a nation of individuals who act like we�ve got it all figured out, but really, we�re just in the process.

The South, for all its faults, is at least self-aware. I�ve heard racist remarks, and plenty of them�as a New Yorker, my eyes bugged out the first time I heard someone casually use the word �Oriental,� and when someone remarked about �all them Jews [we] have up there.� No one here pretends that there�s no racial tension, and yet I�ve seen more interracial couples here than anywhere else.

What I�ve realized is that prejudice here is abstract and collective in an almost (I hesitate to use the word) benign way. What I mean is that southerners will run off at the mouths about groups�about abstract �theys��but when it comes to one-on-one interactions, the racism is superficial. A guy will rant about black people, and use the N-word, only to later call his best buddy, who happens to be black, and rant about something completely different. It�s an odd kind of colorblindness.

In the South, people know where they stand even if they�re not entirely sure where they�re going. And that is where I find myself.


  1. Not to mention football teammates, says I, another Southern Liberal who was raised by a Southern Liberal father and whose paternal grandmother was a Southern Liberal. My parents met while Dad was attending Tulane and Mother was at Newcombe College. My mother was Southern but not a Liberal, which kept things interesting.

  2. "someone casually use the word �Oriental,� "
    what? Oriental is racist? how about "Celestial"?
    I was just reading about our invasion of the Phillipines in 1899-1902 and it said that the soldiers called the natives Gugu... gugus..
    which stood for 40 years for any non-white but in the 40s was standidized as "gooks" for asians.
    but ""They combine Chinese with Japanese with Korean and other oriental foods. Fantastic menu. It is always a fun place to visit." - zagat.com " !!

  3. Frank the other southern liberalApril 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    "A guy will rant about black people, and use the N-word, only to later call his best buddy, who happens to be black" and this is how we know this is fiction. I don't know a single redneck who has a black friend (black acquitance, black classmate yes, black friend, no) and I know thousands of rednecks (and most of them are southeners.)

  4. @Joe B
    "Oriental" carries a pejorative connotation. "Asian" is simply descriptive and is commonly used by the population itself.
    Also, when scholars of MENA, Levant, or the Maghreb use the term Oriental they are referring to a cultural/historic attitude now considered out-of-date.
    My family may be the exception that proves your rule, but I have heard the N-word used casually by my parents generation for black neighbors that could be called friends as much as the term would be allowed in a segregated society. As a child I was occasionally left to play with the children of a black family, with one of their older siblings in charge, while the adults went about other business.
    One of my early memories is going to a black church with my parents and sister to hear a traveling quartet of black gospel singers. My Dad was a car mechanic and accepted the invitation of a guy from the church to bring the family and come, and Dad accepted. We were the only white people in the place.

  5. ""Oriental" carries a pejorative connotation. "
    ?? for who? no one I know. Is "Occidental" also an insult now?
    googling I find an expat: "One things is for sure, the negative connotations associated with this word seem largely centred on America, while in the rest of the world, notably Europe, the word almost conjurs a mysterious and exotic eastern image, certainly a good one."
    I can't remember the last time I needed to use it.. but still.

  6. http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080820012326AAt6jUQ
    It's a matter of no consequence to me what vocabulary you use but I will continue to say Asian (not Oriental) in the same way I say Latino/ Latina (not Hispanic). I prefer to err on the side of courtesy, but that's just me, I suppose.