Sunday, October 24, 2010

'A citadel of bigotry and Babbitry'

My furlough week (no work, no pay) begins in a few hours, during which I'm not allowed to do anything that smacks of Observer work, so no Naked City postings (or comments moderated) until Monday Nov. 1. In other words, don't think I'm ignoring you because I don't like you. I'm ignoring you because federal law says I must.

Until then, have fun with this item from former Observer Forum editor Lew Powell, who's staying busy in retirement posting interesting tidbits from N.C. history at North Carolina Miscellany, a blog offered by the North Carolina Collection at UNC Chapel Hill's Wilson Library. Here's a great bit, "The Making of 'The Mind of the South,' " which includes a paragraph describing Charlotte that may sound familiar to many of you, even today. It was delivered by former Observer editorial page editor Ed Williams, and it refers to the writings of W.J. Cash, in H.L. Mencken's American Mercury magazine:

“Other articles in the Mercury would follow, including an indignant portrayal of Charlotte as a citadel of bigotry and Babbitry, besotted by Presbyterianism and in love with Duke Power Co., a city where life for many consisted of ‘a dreary ritual of the office, golf and the church’ that is ‘unbearably dull even for Presbyterians.’

If you explore the site you'll find a fabulous photo of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower in their bathrobes, waving to a crowd from a train car in Salisbury in 1952.