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What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

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Jason Carter Could Have Won

Jason Carter Hot

Jason Carter had his work cut out for him. Even though former President Jimmy Carter is his grandfather, he was going up against a Republican incumbent governor in a red state. But the pundits thought this election could be a close one. Given Carter’s political pedigree, and Governor Nathan Deal’s scandals – including corruption and Snowpocalypse – a runoff was predicted between these two gubernatorial candidates. Alas, the older voters (re: age 45+) almost unanimously voted for Nathan Deal.

Georgia Governor Election 2014

When looking at the map of how each county voted in Georgia, the major metropolitan areas – Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah – all voted blue as they traditionally do. The suburbs and rural counties all voted red. Keep in mind, back in the day the Deep South were “Dixie-crats”. Georgia was diehard Democratic until the great shift in when our Southern leaders – including Nathan Deal – turned Republican. The partisan pride in the Republican party is almost synonymous with the South.

But what about the New South? Jason Carter promised Georgia a fresh start. He’s young, hungry, and much easier on the eyes than Deal. Jason Carter could have won the governor’s seat.

If I’d been Jason Carter’s campaign manager, I would have run him on the hot dad campaign.

Hot Dad

Mr. Carter is a fine a specimen of a modern, Southern gentleman. He’s got a precious wife, two cute little boys, and that friendly, outgoing personality that inspires trust. Not to mention he’s scandal free. “A sweet piece of political ass,” as one of my pals put it (note the donkey reference).

What if his stylist had opted for a more GQ look? What if he’d gone to more soccer fields in the suburbs? What if he stopped by more shopping centers in the suburbs where ladies spend their weekends? His winning smile and great sport coat might have inspired women to vote D for “Damn if he isn’t a hot Dad!”

Also, partying has a way of bringing people together. Lord knows there are enough dive bars and honky tonks where Jason could have stopped by, grabbed a beer, and buddied up to a few new friends and garnered those votes. He could have gone to Tomorrow World, Counterpoint, and had his promo team hold up one of his “Carter” signs on a pole in front of the main stage. That would have burned in the eyes of every reveler drugged up on molly.

On the other side of the spectrum, this was noted on radio WSB 750 this past Friday: Jason just started showing up at churches the week before the elections. That was too little too late and his tardiness was noted by the congregations. He should have been at church bake sales back in the spring, and more pumpkin patches this fall.

Georgia backed the Carter family once, and we could have done it again. I really hoped Carter was going to win this one, but hope is not a strategy.
 
 

CNN Layoffs Inspired Something Amazing

Cnn-Center-27684-e1413583079621

There’s been a series of layoffs going down at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters. Many talented journalists who spent decades working in CNN’s newsroom are being shown the door due to “reshaping for the digital future”. These are newsroom veterans now facing #Funemployment as parent company Time Warner seeks to boost its profitability.

The people who are getting let go gave up vacations, holidays, and time with their families in the pursuit of journalistic excellence. One of the victims in the most recent layoff is our pal, Jason Meucci. He spent 21 years at CNN and was called into a meeting room last week to be told it was over. Jason is a fellow alumni from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, and a few of his proteges have blogged here at Pretty Southern, including Polina Marinova and Jamie White. His former interns from his 20+ years at CNN have gone on to work at leading journalism institutions such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and Forbes. As a tribute to Jason’s mentorship, they put together this video.

Did anyone out there work for Jason? What do y’all think of the video?
 
 

Mellow Mushroom Serves Up a Hot Special!

Mellow Mushroom 40th anniversary specials

Mellow Mushroom 40th anniversary specials.

Get it while it’s hot! Today, Aug. 20, Mellow Mushroom is celebrating their 40th anniversary and they want you to join their pizza party. Mellow Mushroom opened in 1974, and they’ve reverted back to their old 70s pre-inflation pricing. A small cheese pizza is only $2.50 (regular prices apply for additional toppings). All fountain Cokes and sodas are $0.30, and beers including Budweiser, Michelob or Pabst Blue Ribbon, are only $0.75 cents.

Check out Yelp or Google to find the Mellow Mushroom near you!

Atlanta’s Best Bartender Gets Fired Via the Web

Imagine finding out you lost your job via the Internet. Classy, right? Well that’s just what happened to Arianne Fielder. Our favorite Pretty Southern bartender got online last night to learn from Eater Atlanta that she was out of a job at Parish. She was contracted to help the Inman Park restaurant revamp its cocktail menu, only to have her salary cut to $7 an hour (a pittance for anyone behind the bar who can’t work for tips). The restaurant is managed by the Concentrics restaurant group, and someone there had the audacity to let Eater know that Arianne was out before having the common decency to tell her first!

Here’s what we know from Arianne’s Facebook page:

“This post was put out by @concentrics to hurt me. And It did. I was so worried it would hurt my professional integrity and was so offended and blindsided that I wasn’t worthy of a face to face conversation by my own bosses who apparently were out to just humiliate me by the press. None the less @eateratlanta my job means nothing without my amazing staff who are undeservingly feeling this lash that this “firing post” put on me. I love my team that is there at parish, who has nothing to do with this foolishness. Please direct your (rightful) disgust to the people who hired and (internet fired?) me. I have grown to love that staff so much and as much as I appreciate the overwhelming support for the wrong done to me.”

Arianne is one of the best bartenders in the South. She’s paved the way for other girls to go kick ass behind the bar here in Atlanta. Her cocktails grace the menu of several leading establishments including Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, Seven Lamps, and Article 14. Her accolades include:

  • Esquire Magazine and Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience Regional Winner, Atlanta 2014
  • Food and Wine Cocktail Guide 2013, 100 Best New American Bar Programs, Seven Lamps
  • Jezebel Magazine “Atlanta’s Best Bar Keep” 2013 Best Of issue
  • Atlantan Magazine Restaurant Guide 2013 “#1 Coolest Mixologist”
  • Berentzen national competition winner 2012
  • Runner up to Taste of Atlanta Bar Craft competition 2011 (pictured above)

No employer should ever think it’s right to talk to the media about releasing their employees (or contractors). This is such bad form for Concentrics. This restaurant brand helped build the empire of Richard Blais and one would think their PR team would know better.

Arianne – you go girl. There’s better times, and cocktails, waiting for you!

Atlanta Snow Jam Incites Cheap Shots at the South

Taran Killiam fails with Southern impression.

Taran Killiam as Buford Callaway.

As a native Southerner, I had high hopes for SNL’s response to the Atlanta Snow Jam. The writing has been exceptionally funny this season, so perhaps Kenan Preston would play Kasim Reed and just yell at Seth Myers and Cecily Strong on Weekend Update, or maybe Melissa McCarthy would play a stranded motorist who was stuck in her car for 19 hours. I think SNL missed the boat with Taran Killam and his ridiculous Buford Calloway.

Good Lord what a preposterous name! Did he borrow his accent and costume from Django Unchained? No one in Atlanta (other than hipsters) has facial hair like that anymore. It was a cheap shot at the South…and it wasn’t all that funny. Now Bill Hader’s reprisal of Stefan, that was funny. But Taran’s over-the-top drawl and gripping his handkerchief like a sorority girl would clutch her pearls, not so much.

Jon Stewart, Al Roker, and a bevy of other commentators made their snarky remarks and America (nay the world) had a good laugh. I took their jokes with a grain of salt, even giggling a bit, and I was going to let it slide… until last night.

Bless your heart, Chris. You're just so L.A.

Bless your heart, Chris. You’re just so L.A.

I attended Chris D’Elia’s show at the Atlanta Improv Comedy Club. Chris opened his sketch with a few ribs at Atlanta’s collective freakout to the 2.6 inches of snow. He said that being from Los Angeles, people in L.A. wouldn’t have gotten all worked up, they would have just shrugged and said “Whatever.” I’m going to call B.S. on that one, Chris. Southern Californians have probably seen less powder (unless it’s going up their noses) than the majority of Atlantans.

Now granted all walks of life – regardless of race and sexual orientation – were fair game for punchlines in Chris D’Elia’s show. However, since I claim to be a Southern writer, I feel like I need to stand up for my beloved South.

As Margaret Mitchell once said in an interview about Gone With the Wind, “If the novel has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently, just as able, strong and brave go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive – others don’t. What qualities are in those who fight their way throughout triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under. I only know that survivors used to call that quality gumption.”

The brave and strong had their moments in Atlanta during Snowpocalypse. The brave were the teachers who stayed the nights with their students, the strong were the people who helped push cars along the icy interstate roads, or who trekked up-and-down giving food and drinks to fellow Georgians who were stranded on the highways.

Over the past few days, the common question I’ve gotten from a lot of folks has been, “How was your snow jam?” This is coming from people here in Atlanta, and as far north as my girlfriends in New York City. “What happened?” my convert-Yankee pals want to know.

Here’s what happened – our government failed us because no one had the gumption to close the schools. After closing schools earlier in January due to extreme cold (though lack of snow) administrators caught a lot of flack. When schools close, we all know its going to be bad, and folks stay home. Since the schools were open, and everyone had to work, we all were glutton for punishment when we scrambled to get home.

Atlanta is now a textbook case for future emergency managers. Our local FEMA leaders have to test their emergency plans to be sure we can take an “all-hazards” approach to preparedness. What if this had been a dirty bomb instead of 2.6 inches? Atlanta would have had thousands of commuters dead on the interstate, with corpses inside those abandoned cars.

Atlanta is my home. I’ve lived in the metro area since March of 1996, that’s almost 18 of my 28 years (minus four glorious years in Athens and a few months in Florida). We’ve seen snowfalls worse than this, but we have never seen such a colossal failure.

Georgia lawmakers have got to get some gumption now. The gentlemen and ladies at the Capitol who have the gonads to enact change better do so. This city cannot have another catastrophe or else citizens, and especially recent transplants, are going to move away to greener pastures. Not to mention the cheap shots from comedians and commentators will keep on coming.

P.S.
Chris D’Elia is performing tonight and tomorrow (Feb. 7 & 8) at the Atlanta Improv if y’all want to hear more jokes about ignorant Southerners. I suggest we all throw cotton balls at him.