Tuesday, July 26, 2005

arizona southern style sweet tea revisited, or fecundmellow checks email

back before i was the blogstar you have grown to love, i wrote a piece about arizona sweet tea. see, there was a time when i was hopelessly addicted to the drink, and i used to spend a great deal of my money on it. one day, i critically observed the can of sweet tea i was drinking. if anything, i found it a bit problematic, and thought it an interesting exercise to write arizona an email about the image. honestly, i was hoping they'd send me a coupon for some free tea. but they didn't. instead, i simply posted the message i wrote arizona on my blog.

just yesterday, fecundmellow got a long comment about this entry. since that entry was written sooooo long ago, i thought i'd pull it out of the archives and give a more public response to "robert's" recent laments about my little piece. if you wanna see the original post to get more context, go here. (unfortunately, due to an error on my part, the original comments are no longer available.) if not, feel free to read robert's comment and my response below.

I was doing a Google search on Arizona Sweet Tea. Trying to find this stuff in New England is hard. Anyway, I came across your Blog and I was disappointed. I and three generations of my family were born and raised in the Deep South and let me tell you what; there’s more racism and prejudicial attitudes amongst the supposed elite and enlightened New Englanders that we live among than my family EVER experienced growing up in the South. What disturbs me is that I can’t believe a person of your obvious intelligence would pull “The Race Card” over a picture on a can of Tea. When people of ANY color think of Sweet Tea and the Deep South, the images that come to mind are Weeping Willow trees, lazy rivers, cotton & tobacco fields, Honeysuckle & Magnolia trees and yes; Plantations - big, white, beautiful, stately-looking Plantations. So, what picture did you think Arizona would print on their can for Southern Sweet Tea; the Sears Tower? Get a life, girl. One based on what's happening in THIS century would be best. Robert

robert: let me dignify your comment with a response.

I and three generations of my family were born and raised in the Deep South and let me tell you what; there’s more racism and prejudicial attitudes amongst the supposed elite and enlightened New Englanders that we live among than my family EVER experienced growing up in the South.
1) this post wasn't about racism. in fact, it was about an image on a can of tea and the loaded implications of that picture. in a nutshell: i deconstructed a tea can. now since you're a newbie, i'll go ahead and inform you that this blog is a whole lot of tongue-in-cheek. that said, the point of the post was to consider problematic pictures we let go unnoticed, and further to consider why we still hold onto images that 1) (continuously) position the south as some temporally stagnant other, and 2) affectionately look back at a time without considering everything that occurred during the period. meaning: what was necessary to construct this idyllic image?

2) no one is playing the 'what region is more racist?' game except maybe you. obviously there is racism everywhere. and in no way was i intimating that new englanders (or anyone not southern for that matter) were/are more or less racist than southerners. arizona's headquarters are in new york (a union state, or not the south last time i consulted a map), and they're the ones who ok'd the can, not southerners. but since you so mistakingly think i'm calling southerners racist, let me just say: i have plenty of venom for southerners, new englanders, middle westerners, and anybody else who dares discriminate on the basis of race. and, i'm not from nor have i lived in new england. but frankly, like i've said before, that wasn't the point of my post. stay on topic, playa.

What disturbs me is that I can’t believe a person of your obvious intelligence would pull “The Race Card” over a picture on a can of Tea. When people of ANY color think of Sweet Tea and the Deep South, the images that come to mind are Weeping Willow trees, lazy rivers, cotton & tobacco fields, Honeysuckle & Magnolia trees and yes; Plantations - big, white, beautiful, stately-looking Plantations. So, what picture did you think Arizona would print on their can for Southern Sweet Tea; the Sears Tower?
3) you're right, my intelligence is pretty obvious, so no argument there. and i wasn't pulling "the race card," i was critically observing a piece of merchandise. oprah calling her hermes denial her "crash moment" is playing the race card. me considering the societal undertones of an image on a can? hardly.

4) um...maybe that's how you and your three generations of family regard the south. but for others, that part of the country was a space for rampant terrorism for, like, lots and lots of years. so while you and huck finn ride down the fucking mississippi eating catfish and shit, others had experiences that were, i dunno, super waaay worse than nigger jim's, and were trying to get the fuck out of that bitch.

5) no, i wouldn't suggest the sears tower be on the can of some sweet tea. that'd be, like, i dunno, stupid. and since you've already claimed to see my alleged intelligence, i've no clue why you'd assert i'd make such a stupid suggestion. but your other options--the magnolias...lazy rivers...blahblahblah are all fine with me. it's just those "stately" plantations i have a problem with. because, like, you know, there was an institution put in place so that such "beautiful" and "white" places could exist.

Get a life, girl. One based on what's happening in THIS century would be best.

6) first of all, next time you call me girl i'ma jump through this computer and kick your dumb ass. i'm fucking 25, i've been getting visits from aunt flo for some time now. therefore, you will refer to me as a grown ass fucking woman. if you cannot remember to call me grown ass fucking woman, asshole will suffice.

while i'm out getting a life, why don't you get a clue? even if i tried my damndest to concentrate on the 5 years that make up this century, i'd prolly have to go back, iono, maybe to like the 1990s to explain
some things going on in this young century. seems like you go to the robert richards skool of race in america. because it seems to me, in order to take your advice i'd have to ignore the historical issues that explain why people are in their present positions. besides, like i said, i was talking about a fucking tea can, not contemplating whether or not the south is (still) racist. but you went there, so i played along.

and instead of signing off by telling you to suck my dick, how about you go pick some strange fruit to nibble on from that there magnolia tree?


did you get that last line?

point: fecundmellow
***********************************************************

feel free to send fecundmellow feedback. we can be reached via email or in the comment section.

p.s. i know this response was a bit harsh, but i fucked up my knee rather badly, and it's making me wish i had a girlfriend, and therefore i am crankier than usual.

(yes, that was a shameless attempt at eliciting sympathy.)


language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison

24 Comments:

Anonymous Ann said...

Hey, you got me riled up and I just started reading your blog! Nice response.

26/7/05 22:24  
Blogger deshi said...

any and all references to "plantations" make my skin crawl... so i feel you.

one time i was searching for hotels in la of all places and one of the hotels described the room as having plantation shutters... like, that's supposed to be a selling point? wtf? it's just a bad, bad word that can only conjure up images of, as you said, the institutions that were put in place to make them so "beautiful"..

as for your knee... i'm sorry you're in pain sweetheart, and i hope you feel better. i can't be your girlfriend ;) but if you need anything, let me know.

26/7/05 23:40  
Blogger Jdid said...

when i think of the deep south I actually think Lynching, Jim Crow, and yes massa

so sorry about the knee

27/7/05 07:13  
Blogger Miss Jessi said...

You got his ass good with that response, Summer. He obviously was one of those house niggas who thought Massa could do no wrong... dumb ass didn't even get the point, just jumped on the bullshit bandwagon. I'm so glad you ripped him a new one...

27/7/05 07:19  
Blogger solitaire said...

Gwan head girl...do the damn thing.

Sorry about the wonky knee...I know how it feels. I would recommend Vioxx but it's now off the market. DAMMNIT! It was a wonder drug, I tell ya... I was there poppin' Vioxx right alongside the old folks...

27/7/05 09:25  
Blogger RoRicka said...

game, set, match. excellent.

i'm sorry about your knee! lortab...percocet, they're no vioxx, but they get the job done.

27/7/05 09:32  
Blogger Miss Jessi said...

Oh yeah, sorry about your knee... Flexurol works wonders too... but it's no Vioxx...

27/7/05 09:46  
Blogger summer m. said...

@ann: welcome. i'm sorry this rather harsh entry was your first time reading my bullshit, but unfortunately, i can't assure you that such writings are uncommon.

@deshi: if you can't be my girlfriend, i don't wanna be a lesbian anymore :).

@e'rybody else: thanx for the sympathy. it doesn't make up for the fact that i'm "terminally single," but it helps. also, y'all need to lay off the medications a lil bit. damn. y'all will not rep. for perscriptions drugs deemed unsafe.

27/7/05 10:57  
Blogger btrfly_locs said...

I don't understand why folks can't comprehend that to Black folks there was nothing genteel about the South.

I'll be glad when you get a woman!! In the meantime, ice, advil, and elevation should do the trick!

;o)

27/7/05 11:34  
Blogger fuss said...

I'm not one of those people who advocates de-whitewashing history (eg. editing Bugs Bunny cartoons and Mark Twain novels, destroying Mammy and Sambo memorabilia, changing the General Lee). That's part of the country's history, and a marker of where we've been as well as how far we have to come. But in a nation of PC zealots and anti-PC reactionaries, no actual discussion is getting done.

It ain't the can of tea or even the picture on the can of tea, it's the lack of critical analysis when choosing the picture on the can of tea. As though we've all talked this shit out at some point and decided that a white woman in a hoop skirt in front of a plantation is not a loaded image of antebellum South because it's not like they put any slaves in the picture. Like if you Photoshop black folks out of American history, the legacy of slavery isn't woven through the fabric of all of our lives.

27/7/05 13:01  
Blogger Alii said...

I'm an enlightened New englander, living in the south. Thats all.

But good response grown ass woman

27/7/05 13:08  
Blogger summer m. said...

@fuss: exfuckingactly. that's what i was trying to express to the folks at arizona (point #5 in my original post). apparently they disagreed. i sure as hell never got any coupons in the mail.

27/7/05 13:11  
Anonymous rocksteady said...

i love it when folks act like colonization and slavery happened thousands of years ago on another planet. that shit was just last week!! yes, laws have been passed and some things have changed, but the effects are still around. me thinks robert may be playing devil's advocate too much. how the hell is he going to seriously mention trees, white plantations, and fucking cotton and tobacco fields in an attempt to prove his point? just crazy. he can't really be that clueless, can he?

27/7/05 14:01  
Blogger deshi said...

summer... your response to me made me laugh... really loud. i'm still laughing...

you're so special... :D

27/7/05 20:39  
Blogger Harold Gibson said...

summer: you are walking wonderful irony. Only you, after strongly asserting your gender could even mention being the owner of a "dick" but nibbling the strange fruit--this was classic.

Sorry to hear bout the knee, I hope some Honey (I mean woman) will come by and kiss that thang and it make it better.

27/7/05 20:54  
Blogger mwilli said...

wow! you have a dick? jk. as always love it when you talk dirrty trying to make a point. oh and sorry bout the knee and fuck all dem drugs. just smoke some herbs and every little ting gon be alright.

27/7/05 21:33  
Blogger summer m. said...

@rocksteady: 'that shit was just last week'--that's the funniest thing i heard all day, f'real.

@deshi: special like mentally challenged?

@harold: thank you, once again, for the love. btw, calling women honeys on my blog is perfectly acceptable--especially since i call them chicks and bitches.

@mwilli: some folks in the dc area are convinced that by being a lezzie i really just want a dick.

28/7/05 07:03  
Blogger deshi said...

no... special like... precious...

28/7/05 19:42  
Blogger Phoenix said...

ain't that right boo? true.

30/7/05 15:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

summer, you are soooo fucking good at this cultural criticism shit. don't quit! i love, love, love this post. especially the part about him floating down the river with jim. jesus!

rrrachel

31/7/05 17:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWESOME!! Let him have it, I am sick of people thinking that because it happened so long ago it shouldn't have a lasting effect on the way things are to today, it was what happened so long ago that makes people think and feel the way they do today. I am glad you posted a response to this individual.

I wish I was there to offer some TLC for your knee sweetheart and I hope that you are feeling much better!!!

Blu

31/7/05 20:15  
Blogger Safire said...

Sum 69, spitting hot fire like Dylan. I love it when you get all angry and shit. You have a mind like a knife, yo. I'm still jealous of that shit.

4/8/05 03:51  
Blogger summer m. said...

@blu: quit fucking with me. i'm a vulnerable, undersexed chick willing to have a(n internet) crush on someone i've never seen before.

@saf: i rip and i rhyme...i rhyme and i rip. thanx for the love again, homie.

4/8/05 07:25  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

I'm with rrrachel... the Huck Finn line is when the whole, great post kicks into fifth gear, and then when you insist on "grown ass fucking woman," it's a new classic.

How did I survive for weeks without my internet connection? I am a fecundmellow crackhead.

1/9/05 08:57  

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