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The Metalunas: Ballistic Bikini

And that would certainly be an intolerable situation

"...most faculty wanted to keep full coverage [for abortion in the school's insurance plan], and felt that a total ban would signal that the university 'values diversity less than our Catholic affiliation.'"

Good thing I long ago got over being impressed by doctoral degrees. I must say that this deserves some kind of special mention for the great stretch of logic required to claim the academy's most highly prized virtue-word for the speaker's view.

Full story (Los Angeles Times)


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I thought I had gotten to a point of not having much reaction to this sort of thing, but this one really struck me. I think it was the use of the word "diversity." Does she mean moral diversity? How far does it extend? It's such nonsense, and such underhanded nonsense.

There's a fuller discussion of this at the National Catholic Register. Sounds as if Loyola Marymount has some big problems.

By most accounts, all but about a dozen 'Catholic' institutions are junk heaps. Follow Bp. Sheen's advice and stick with the state universities.

"LMU can either be a great American Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions or it can be an institution that demands obedience to and conformity with Catholic doctrine; it cannot be both..."

You know, I really don't mind dissent and hostility to the Church etc nearly as much as I mind illogic. No institutions except Church-related ones are expected not only to employ people who attack it but assist and applaud their efforts.

"junk heaps" in general is overstating it. The bag is generally more mixed than that. But that there's a serious problem can't be denied. Well, it can, but not very persuasively. Deny the doctrine of diversity and see how open most of the faculty will be to your intellectual independence.

I beg to differ. Private institutions can be distinguished by cachet, rigor, or particularity. If it lacks all of these, what's there but the added expense?

Those are not on/off switches. They're present in degrees. Many or most Catholic institutions are not particular enough to suit you or me, but that doesn't mean they are never distinguishable from secular ones in significant enough ways to make their existence worthwhile. There's a great deal of variation. Even the one discussed here, despite what looks like a preponderance of un- if not anti-Catholic influence, still harbors serious Catholics. Would the world be better or worse off without these schools? As a generalization I'd say worse.

To put it somewhat crassly, we benefit from transparency in the market for higher education. That means Catholic colleges and non-Catholic colleges, not Colleges with fragments of patronage for miscellaneous religious orders or colleges who use the 'Catholic' label to placate alumni and scam donors. The closest you come to a school with a defensible intermediate position might be St. Bonaventure, which last I checked was a private college with some Catholic redoubts. What does a 'Catholic' institution look like?

1. Presupposing the school offers conventional baccalaureate degrees, no distribution requirements, but a core curriculum. This is the core:

a. Metaphysics
b. Logic
c. Epistemology
d. Aesthetics
e. Ethics
f. Philosophy of Science
g. Calculus I
h. Calculus II
i. Calculus III
j. Research Methods and Applied Statistics (7-8 credits)
k. Survey of Civilizations (14 credits)
--Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean
--The Jews
--Greece and Rome
--Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
--High Middle Ages
--Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance
--Early Modern Europe &c.
--The Long 18th century (1648-1789)
--The Long 19th century (1789-1914)
--Now (1914- )
--Parallel: Byzantium
--Parallel: Islam
--Parallel: India
--Parallel: China
l. Doctrinal Theology
m. Moral Theology
n. Church history and ecclesiology
o. Apologetics

2. The core courses are taught as follows: three lectures a week with hundreds of students present; one seminar a week with about twenty students a piece. Ergo, the course has a lecturer and a board of seminar leaders. The seminars have male students or female students. Never both.

3. The dormitories have male residents or have female residents, never both at the same time; shared water closets, but tiny private cells with washbasins and a window for each student; housemasters on staff, preferably vigorous (Catholic) elderly; a curfew. Permissible fraternities and sororities have no houses and do not have an institutional ethos in conflict with Catholic life.


4. The student medical center does not sell or prescribe contraceptives.


5. The psychiatrist on staff runs a spare operation, mainly to do screenings and evaluations.


6. The Dean of Students in concerned with disciplinary matters and academic standing, and that is it.


7. Study abroad programs are sparing and carefully screened. You are only dispatched to foreign institutions which have you study a year's worth of a single subject.


8. No humbug programs are tolerated either for students studying domestically or for those studying abroad. If you cannot get an accreditation without humbug courses, drop the program and pension off the faculty. (So much for your teacher training program). N.B. interdisciplinary programs are humbug.


9. The trustees are elected by the alumni in a postal ballot, appointed by the bishop, or appointed by the religious superior. Lay trustees require a reference from their parish priest before they can stand as candidates.


10. Contract renewals for faculty are derived from recommendations offered by departments, recommendations by the provost, recommendations by the college president, and recommendations by an elected faculty committee. However, the decision is the trustees'.


11. There is no tenure. Lecturers and instructors are on renewable contracts ranging from one semester to 6 semesters in duration. Professors are on renewable six year contracts. Professors are expected to turn emeritus at age 66 or after 33 years on the faculty, whichever arrives later (depending on participation in TIAA CREF).


12. The college president, the provost, any faculty serving on the general review committee, any faculty teaching core courses, the dean of students, and the college psychiatrist are all Catholics.


13. Despisers of religion are not hired, and if hired, are dismissed. Marxists are debarred as well. Advocates of sexual anarchy are not welcome either. Neither are social revanchists, whether their shtick be girrrl power, black power, or La Raza.


14. Institutional employees who fornicate with students are fired. Employees who stop short of fornication are disciplined and perhaps fired. Employees who make a public point of their homosexuality are fired (with some dispensations if this be involuntary). Employees who engage in unorthodox sexual practices are fired. Employees who are the party to a divorce action are subject to investigation by the provost.


15. Crisis pregnancy centers operate on campus or near campus.


16. Extracurricular activities, including invitations to outside speakers, are subject to vetting by the chaplain or by committees of the faculty to exclude vulgarity and fraud. No 'gay weekends', no speeches by Bilge Clinton, no speeches by P.Z. Myers, no speeches by Patricia Ireland, no performances of the music of Marty Haugen.


17. No honorary degrees are offered to anyone. There are no commencement speakers. The college president has 11 minutes to chuffer before they hand out the diplomas. The center of graduation ceremonies is a Mass held earlier that day.

18. There is a Catholic chapel on campus and perhaps side chapels for the eastern rites. Student organizations with their own funding can provide for Kosher dining and prayer services in club facilities proximate to campus. Strongly recommended: anyone who suggests the spewage of Oregon Catholic Press be used on campus will be pilloried or birched.

19. There is no student council. Student groups register with the chaplain or some conciliar body and raise their own funds.

20. Academic and vocational guidance is provided by a dedicated staff with consultation with faculty. Students are awarded an associates after completing the core and then subject to screening assessments to recommend a program going forward. Such a program may be on campus, abroad, or require transfer to another school. Students are encouraged to experiment some to allay uncertainties, but to spend as much time with their chosen program once a decision has been made. Placement services are offered.

21. Augustine and Aquinas are a must in the core curriculum.

22. Literature faculties are chartered and the charter carries rude language reminding them that the study of literature is not an excuse to undertake thrift shop sociology.

23. The history faculty will be chartered and the charter will remind the those therein that social revanchists are not welcome.

24. All required courses within a particular academic or vocational program must be offered every year with gateway courses offered every semester.

25. Academic departments and arts faculties with fewer than a dozen f/t instructors offer no graduate degrees.

26. Vocational faculties with fewer than a dozen f/t instructors offer no graduate degrees unless such is necessary for occupational certifications.

27. Parking on campus is metered. Employees get an increment they can cash out. Shuttle services are offered to various points o'er town.

28. There are no athletic scholarships. Sports are intramural, as a rule.

29. Medical benefits offered do not include reimbursement for contraception, abortion, fertility treatments, or cosmetic surgery. They certainly do not include sex reassignment surgery or hormonal treatments. They do not include psychotherapy; consultations for people with a discrete range of problems are it.

30. Edible and well balanced fare at meal times. The student's rooms should be tiny and spartan, but you do not have to feed them swill. Also, no rathskellar on campus, just a coffee shop, and no tavern.

Quite a manifesto you've got there. I'd be surprised if there's a school that meets all your specs.

"...we benefit from transparency in the market for higher education."

Do you mean we would benefit from it if we had it? Because we certainly don't.

No, we have nothing like it.

My guess would be that Christendom College meets most specs. What's depressing about it is that most of the specs are commonsensical.

Commonsensical if your object is education, pure and simple, and of a traditional liberal arts kind. Not at all if a major component of your object is institutional survival. I doubt the country could support more than a handful of colleges like that. Higher ed is a buyer's market now, has been since the baby boomers passed out of the system. And there's a lot of pressure to simply give people what they want. Everybody complains about the rising cost of college, and although there are a number of reasons reasons for that, one of them is that the students and their parents expect and demand things that raise the cost steadily.

The point is to substitute the inane distribution requirements with a serious core curriculum, not liberal education in and of itself. The baccalaureate degree (a suboptimal practice) is assumed. The upper division students might follow a academic program, an arts program, or a vocational program. (Where I am from, and I imagine elsewhere, programs in business, teacher training, and nursing would be the standard fare, supplemented (and on occasion supplanted) with a couple of local options).

Actually, I doubt if they were given the option the bulk of college students would select contemporary practice. Again, the distribution requirements are an expensive and time-consuming nuisance and programs of study are unnecessarily elongated because crucial courses are offered too infrequently. Campuses are often absurdly overbuilt. Academic advising is a joke. They accept it because they fancy they need that credential and that's the Brussels sprouts on the plate. While we are at it, I do not think there is much of a student constituency for most of the trumpery of academic life today. The faculty and administration do those things to please themselves (with the excuse that public policy requires it).

The things on the list which would truly discourage students would be spartan housing and the ordering of student housing and amenities to minimize ill-thought out sexual encounters and heavy drinking. You are building a niche service. Your clientele does not want those things to begin with.

Core curriculum is a good example of what I mean about these things not being binary. The college where I work has a pretty solid core curriculum. Not as complete as the one you outline, but significantly better than some I'm aware of. I think it's being chipped away at for various reasons, but I don't really know, not being involved in academics.

"I doubt if they were given the option the bulk of college students would select contemporary practice."

Depends on what part of contemporary practice you mean. Diversity propaganda and mavens? Dispensible to say the least. Physical amenities of all sorts? Very important. Schools are in competition with each other on that score. That probably includes what you're describing as "overbuilt." Sports (intercollegiate)? Also important. Physical amenities and sports are quite expensive, too.

I'm hazy about what exactly "distribution requirements" means. I thought it was educationese for a sort of updated (or "updated") core concept.

The school I know best requires students devote 30% of their time to distribution requirements. That includes 12.5% devoted to synthetic courses and 6% to a foreign language selected, and 12.5% to courses outside the division of your major. The synthetic courses are designed by faculty as a function of their avocational interests. Some of them are a scandal. The best example was a course on 'The Atomic Bomb' taught by a geology professor (whose research speciality was volcanology). No aspect of the manufacture and deployment of atomic weapons has anything to do with vocanology bar that atomic and thermonuclear weapons release a great deal of energy and volcanos do as well.

In short, the core program there is designed for the convenience of the faculty and people who write promotional brochures, who can incorporate phrases like 'critically-acclaimed core curriculum' or 'rigorous core curriculum'. It is a waste of students' time.

Where I went to school many years ago, you were required to take six credits outside your division. They increased that to 12 credits in 1982. The virtue of that system is that it impinged on students relatively little. Still, the definition of a degree as comprising 120 credits while allowing one to declare a major with as few as 42 credits (many years later reduced to 27 credits) is indicative of the amount of padding that is incorporated into the baccalaureate degree. In British universities, a degree is three years in one subject with few electives with blindly marked examinations to pass a course.

Familiar as I am with the sort of people employed in the higher education apparat, I would be very skeptical that they were consulting any rigorous research into what sells a campus, or would have much idea about how to interpret that research if they were consulting it. Higher education in my experience is fad driven.

So "distribution requirements" are a sort of helter-skelter stand-in for a common core, in the sense that it's stuff they think everybody should study, regardless of major? What is a "synthetic course"?

I only have experience with one school, but the people I know who do the kind of research you're talking about--what sells a campus--are pretty sharp. As for higher ed being fad-driven, that's certainly an influential factor, as is witnessed by the reverent attention given to "diversity." If you want an example of something that the average student really doesn't care about but seems right up there with paying the bills for educators, there's a good candidate.

By 'over built', I mean the wretched excess of classroom space. Thomas Sowell explained this several years ago as a consequence of tenure. Schools are run for the convenience of the faculty and the faculty prefer to teach between 10 and 2.

I suspect that kind of over-building may be more often found in state schools and the larger and wealthier private ones, where empire-builders have scope for their efforts. The smaller ones of the type I'm acquainted with don't do this. I think the range of most heavily used start times for classes here is more like 9 till 3, but it is true that many classrooms are empty for a big part of what would be considered the work day in other environments. Our faculty would certainly be outraged by the claim that the school is run for their convenience. Which wouldn't mean it isn't true, of course, but I don't think it is.

No, the capacity of faculty members to experience subjective discontent is pretty well unlimited.

I am talking astonishing overbuilding. I recall at work about 10 years ago listening to a professor's wife complaining about the dearth of office space in her husband's building and how that made it necessary that a particular building project on that campus add office space to their plans. I knew the building well and could have escorted her over there at that very moment for a tour of their idle classroom space. It's called renovation, m'dear... (she was on most issues the most sensible person on the scene; that was really out of character for her).

On that same quad were two academic buildings. One (dedicated to humanities departments) had classroom space, a small theatre, a computing center, and office space for more than fifty faculty. The one next door was precisely the same exterior dimensions, had some basement labs, an ampetheatre, office space for 14 faculty, and what else I do not know. They then emptied it because a mega donor financed the building of an 'interdisciplinary science center' for them. No clue what they did with the original. The custodians working in the building told me they had to get the thing up before the cancer-stricken donor died, so there were all manner of minor defects with the building that it was embarrassing to encounter. (Yeah, I would wager the interdisciplinary business is fad-humbug. The professor put in charge of it is a deeply disconcerting organization man with a history of administrative negligence).

You should have seen the old Rathskellar at that place. The original had been constructed in 1937 and then they had renovated it in such a peculiar way that you could not walk from one end to the other or figure much out unless you worked there. They had a tavern in it that seemed (after a certain date) never open. They had office space for the student affairs apparat, later vacated. The place was a tomb and barely usable because of the bollix of internal construction.

Did I mention the art building that went up in 1998? One of the studio art faculty crowed about his wonderful new facilities and how he had spent 20 years of his professional life in a structure (constructed in 1968) which had all manner of condensation problems and such. As for the previous structure, meeting one of the math faculty for the first time, he points it out and says you know its the art building because it's the ugliest on campus. Left in that hideous building were the theatre faculty, the music department, and college art gallery. You heard me, the college's handsome collection of 19th century art was housed in a building in which the studio art faculty did not want to work due to environmental concerns. They hired a new curator in 2005 and one thing she had to do was an emergency closure of the gallery to fix crisis problems.

Are you keeping track? You have three buildings next to each other and a bridge building connecting two of them. They house between them two departments, a fragment of a third department, and a modest art collection. One building is nearly empty. The three academic programs in question have between them 16 professors and produce about 34 graduates in a given year. Cannot say anything disagreeable about the art history students, but the studio art students produced a seemingly unending cavalcade of junk. I seriously doubt they arrived with that level of skill. That was taught by the purveyors of certified experiences of art.

You want to know the irony of all this? The director of physical plant at that place was impressive. I can't judge him as an engineer, but you met him and you knew you were in the presence of a man of character. The construction manager seemed a fairly level-headed fellow too. But, you have your superiors, you have donors, and you have constituencies all over town.

It was all nucking futs.

You're describing a very different world from mine. Is this a public or private school? In any case, the contrast illuminates the situation that a lot of small private colleges face: the facilities and amenities arms race. Just to pick an instance of immediate concern to me: fifteen-plus years ago, with the web becoming a major part of life, colleges that could afford to do so raced to provide free (make that "free") high-speed internet in the dorms. Trade journals were abuzz with talk of the competitive advantage that this was giving those who did it. In due course I heard that from an administrator. I said that big and/or rich schools would always be the only ones to benefit from such advantages, because they could afford to stay ahead, whereas for schools like ours it would simply become one more necessary part of doing business. It was a very expensive undertaking, and we could get no competitive advantage. We could only prevent ourselves from being put at a significant disadvantage. So it has proven. Now it's not enough to be wired, not enough to be high-speed, but students expect wireless access everywhere. We can't not do it, but it contributes to the rise of tuition, because we don't have very deep pockets.

My tales above have little to do with attracting students. These initiatives are donor driven or arise from esoteric places within the administration. That same institution did put some money into new housing in the last twenty years, but they have also seen some increases in enrollment.

There are north of 10 million students enrolled in (predominantly) baccalaureate granting institutions. IIRC, the breakdown looks about like this.

State Universities = 47%
State Colleges = 20%
Private Universities &c = 8%
Private Colleges, &c = 25%

Cannot say about other parts of the country, but in my world, I think about 75% of the private college enrollment is to be found in institutions like Marist or Canisius which do not have a whole lot of cachet. If my impressionistic census is correct, about 45% of private university enrollments are in institutions that do not carry much cachet either. I could be way off, but I doubt that state universities are at a serious disadvantage to these places on this particular scale.

In any case, a comfortable share of youth (~73%) attend colleges and universities at home, not out of state. What's the prestige school in your part of the country? The Deep South has three private universities - Tulane, Emory, and Clark Atlanta - that together enroll fewer students than just one of the University of Alabama's campuses.

Prestige education is a niche product. Not your heat.

I believe you're describing the syndrome known as "more money than sense." Not a problem here.

I don't know that there is a single prestige school. Emory's pretty big, Vanderbilt, Sewanee. The two Jesuit schools, Spring Hill and Loyola New Orleans, are reasonably well regarded though not as prestigious as Sewanee, which is comparable in size and also religiously (albeit Episcopal), affiliated. We don't have the profusion of small Catholic colleges that the northeast and midwest seem to. But then we don't have the profusion of Catholics, either.

? Sewanee and Vanderbilt are not in the Deep South. Tennessee ain't yours to take.

I believe you're describing the syndrome known as "more money than sense." Not a problem here.

Oh yeah. But the whole industry has some of that problem due to the postwar subsidy regime and the wretched padding of degree programs.

Pres. MomJeans would like 'college for everyone' - which is just wild given current conditions.

I do not wish to identify the institution explicitly, but, yes, there was a bidding war between four donors dropping eight figure sums.

Thomas Golisano builds children's hospitals with his billions. I am not sure that is the optimal use of those billions, but his interests seem very grounded in a particular time, place, and culture. I doubt the man's really broken faith with his upbringing, which is an appealing thing about him.

Sewanee and Vanderbilt both being within a couple hours' drive from my home, and in a culturally identical zone, I count them as Deep South.

"...the postwar subsidy regime and the wretched padding of degree programs."

A while back I had a post about the possibility of the college bubble bursting. I'm sure you're familiar with that idea--that the cost of college relative to its value in the job market is way out of whack, that the bubble is going to burst, schools are going to close, etc. I was thinking the other day about a followup to that, which I may or may not write, but the gist of which would be that it probably is not going to happen, because the government is probably going to continue to prop it up via financial aid. If that money were turned off overnight, a whole lot of schools would soon disappear with it.

The logic according to which everyone needs a college degree is in part an admission that you can get a high school diploma and still remain very ignorant. Unfortunately you can also get a college degree and be only somewhat less so.


Mapquest has it that Mobile to Nashville approaches 7 hours and Mobile to Sewanee 6.5 hours. That's not nearby.


Tennessee is still Upper South.

Waal, we might work on improving the quality of high school. The only problems are the constituencies that would offend:

The extant corps of administrators
The extant corps of teachers
The teachers' colleges (!)
Union stooges

So, know, Pres. MomJeans would never approve of improvments in high school.

I was speaking of my original home, which is about 25 miles south of the Tennessee-Alabama line, more or less due south of Nashville. Sewanee and Nashville are both about 100 miles away. I realize people mark out regions like "Deep South" and "Upper South" by state borders, but they're arbitrary constructs that don't necessarily reflect cultural realities, so I consider the terms to be more loosely defined. A more accurate demarcation between "upper" and "deep" would be roughly the latitude of Birmingham. You can make a plausible argument that north Alabama is in the Upper South, but not that it has more in common with southern Alabama than with much of Tennessee.

Waal, your physiographic and soil maps differentiate the northeasterly part of the state from the rest:


This dialect map here differentiates the Southern accent from the "inland Southern" accent, with the area around Huntsville an exclave.


Your demographic statistics say that blacks make up 27% of the population of Alabama, but not evenly distributed. North of Birmingham, you see the sort of shares you find up north, with a quasi Appalachian zone in the northeast with few if any blacks. Appended to that is a hook of counties state running just southeast of Birmingham, which has similar percentages. You have an exclave around Huntsville where the black share is about the statewide average.

The only person I have ever known from Huntsville was a philosophy professor without a trace of the South about him. Evidently, his father worked at some federal facility which employed a great many engineers and there was a large and concentrated settlement of families such as his, rather like Ithaca, N.Y.

You still can't have Tennessee.

I give my permission for anyone who wants to use "Deep South" to refer to political boundaries, thus putting Elkmont, Alabama, and Pulaski, Tennessee, in different regions, to do so. I'll use "deep South" to refer to the cultural region.

Huntsville has been somewhat anomalous since the end of WWII, when the army began doing missile research there. That eventually turned into one of NASA's major installations. In addition to northerners, there were some prominent German scientists whose past was probably not something anyone wanted to examine very closely.

Actually, their past was examined and broadcast on PBS, the better part of a generation ago. The complaint about them was that they had worked in facilities which used slave labor and did not request transfers to other facilities. I do not think anyone demonstrated any personal responsibility for criminal conduct on the part of these fellows.

Yeah, I meant anyone local. The space program was a huge source of pride, not to mention the thing that, along with the military installation, more or less created the city that existed by 1960 or so. Wehrner Von Braun was a highly regarded member of the community. Nobody wanted to think of him as a Nazi. I had a blog post about that a while back...let's

As to their personal responsibility...I don't know. Might be a tough call, even if one had all the facts, which we probably don't. There's a link at that blog post to von Braun's Wikipedia bio which discusses his case.

Something Fr. Paul Shaughnessy said a decade ago about corrupt religious orders: in any human organization, you might have 5 men who are heroes, 5 who are scoundrels, and the other 90 keeping their heads down trying to do their jobs. When an organization is healthy, it disciplines its errant members and the heroes set the overall tone. When it is not, by a strange institutional alchemy, the focus comes to be on covering up malfeasance.

I will wager that W. von Braun was one of the 90%, and a contingent supporter of the regime. Others in the 90% would have been silent opponents. Very few people are heroes. They adapt to their circumstances.

You know, you have to wonder how the distinction between the Upper South and the Deep South came about.

1. You look at a map of biomes, and there is no such distinction. The distinction is one between the coast and the Mississippi Valley and the inland and Upland areas.

2. That dialect map distinguishes the South from the 'inland South' (west Texas, the north half of Arkansas, East and West Tennessee (but not Middle Tennessee), northerly Alabama, and some (not all) upland areas in the other states.

3. The nasty metric, lynchings per man-year, would suggest that the Deepest of the Deep South is...Florida. It also suggests that the fuzzy boundary between the Deep South and the Upper South runs through South Carolina and Tennessee, follows the Arkansas-Missouri border, then the Oklahoma-Kansas border, then turns south and runs through Texas.

That 90-5-5 breakdown seems pretty accurate to me.

I'm having trouble getting a good view of that dialect map, so am not studying it closely, but one thing that immediately strikes me is that my native region stretches up into southern Indiana. I have direct experience of that, in the form of a co-worker who had grown up on a farm there. I would never have been able to distinguish her accent and vocabulary and just general culture from that of the people I grew up with in rural north Alabama. I heard little figures of speech from her that I hadn't heard since I was in high school. (I'm trying unsuccessfully right now to retrieve some examples.)

Your suggested fuzzy Deep-Upper boundary conforms to my impressions. though I don't know those areas very well.

Another surprise, though as it's a movie I can't be sure it's accurate, was the people in Winter's Bone. They're very upper-south-redneck in my perception, but the movie is set in Missouri.

The portion of Indiana which is in the Southern region is the bloc of territory adjacent to Louisville, Ky. The portion of Missouri in question is just a strip along the border including the bootheel. That would be in tmilhe Ozarks.

One thing I discover that I did not know. Until 1940 or thereabouts, Florida was the least populous Southern state. Florida's population has increased 10-fold since 1940. That includes greater Miami, which in 1950 had about a half-million residents. It has north of 5 million today. It has not had the sort of organic evolution other parts of the country have had.

One account has it that the term "Deep South" is of mid-20th century origin.

Other differentiators might be political: states carried by Strom Thurmond in 1948, Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, 'uncommitted' slates in 1960, Barry Goldwater in 1964, and George Wallace in 1968. Note also that political violence over the period running from 1954 to 1970 was concentrated in Alabama and Mississippi, with some bleed into adjacent areas. You would exclude Tennessee from the Deep South on that basis because negro disfranchisement was not much of a problem there.

Winter's Bone was set in the Ozarks, so presumably that strip along the border that you're talking about.

I'm a little surprised at that Florida number, too. I would have guessed 1920, perhaps even as early as 1910, as the point where its population really began to grow. Apart from the coast and a couple of cities, I think northern Florida is still not very densely populated. It certainly doesn't appear to be when you drive through it.

"Deep South" as a political classification drawn on state boundaries makes some sense. However, I think you're mistaken in saying that "negro disenfranchisement was not much of a problem" in Tennessee. I think segregation was as much of an institution there as in the Deep South, but I can think of two reasons why there was less violence: one, that much of Tennessee had not been as dependent on the slave economy as more southern regions of the more southern states, and had a correspondingly lower black population, and so less opportunity for friction, and less sense by whites of being outnumbered and potentially threatened. And two, Tennesseeans were not as stupid and/or unfortunate in their leaders as Alabama and Mississippi. If Alabama ever lives down George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Selma, it will take another century or so.

My own high school, btw, was integrated without fanfare or trouble in 1966, albeit with only a handful of black students initially.

Many years ago, I saw a television interview with the sociologist Ann Wortham on PBS. She offered some reminiscences of her college days. She attended a black college (I do not recall which) and she said there was a real difference in dispositions between those, such as herself, who had grown up in Tennessee and other more peripheral areas and those who had grown up in Alabama et al. She said relations across the color bar in Tennessee ca. 1955 were 'very complex'. She could understand the anger that her classmates from farther south felt, but she could not feel that anger herself; she had grown up in a different situation.

After the mess in Little Rock in 1957, there was much less trouble with school integration down south than up north. You have county school districts down south. In northern cities, districts encompass fragments of metropolitan settlements and busing programs amounted to sending impecunious working class whites to schools either demographically dominated by blacks or socially dominated due to characteristics of the way blacks and whites interact in northern urban centers.

"very complex" would have described the situation across the whole South, I think. Which doesn't contradict the idea that Tennessee was at least somewhat less oppressive.

Southerners took a certain amount of malicious pleasure in the troubles about busing up north, since they had been treated as the only evil people in the country. One amusing sidelight of it to me was that we had always had busing. There was a black school about a mile from my house. All through elementary and junior high school I rode the bus six or seven miles to the white school.

Southerners took a certain amount of malicious pleasure in the troubles about busing up north, since they had been treated as the only evil people in the country.

Did they understand the significance of these conflicts, of how bad a man Arthur Garrity really was? You had the haut bourgeois - power drunk judges and members of the public interest bar - who were insulated by geography and tuition payments from the consequences of the decisions they were making. You had the petty bourgeois - teachers and school administrators - who were terribly twisted into knots by their own social ideology (masked as 'professional standards') and constrained by the regulatory injunctions of the haut bourgeois; they could not and would not maintain academic or behavioral standards in the institutions they ran. Then you had working people, half black and half white. The blacks did not gain much of value, just more opportunities for socially sanctioned aggression; the whites lose out all over the place. Then you have another group of bourgeois, the newspapers, who write it all up to avoid blaming the two parties most responsible for the whole debacle - the lawyers and the hoodlums.

I am aware that segregation was practiced in Tennessee. Negro disfanchisement was not. Tennessee's congressional delegation, to take one example, was composed largely of Republicans and vaguely liberal Democrats like Estes Kefauver and Albert Gore, Sr. Blacks were a big part of the Crump machine in Memphis back in the day.

"Did they understand the significance of these conflicts...?"

Their main interest and pleasure was in the public revelation that the region which had been so sanctimonious about southern racism had its own problems in that vein. To the extent that they had any interest in the details, they might have asked Boston if it would be willing to admit that race relations were a rather more complicated situation than the simple good vs. evil picture cherished by those contemplating it from a comfortable distance.

Alas, your picture of the progress of desegregation is broadly applicable all over the place.

This would indicate that Tennessee in general was not all that much less keen on keeping the vote from blacks than the more southern states.

That video is hilarious.

they might have asked Boston if it would be willing to admit that race relations were a rather more complicated situation than the simple good vs. evil picture cherished by those contemplating it from a comfortable distance.

I will wager you everyone outside the word merchant sector would have admitted that. Unfortunately, the word merchant sector were making all the important decisions.

You see the problem we had up in our part of the world was a breakdown in public order inside and outside school walls. The responsible parties could not and would not deal, often because they had a vocational or ideological interest in not dealing. You had problems down South, as well, it is just that you had a set of issues which could be dealt with in isolation from the decay in public order and a set of issues inextricable from the question of public order. In our neck of the woods, you could not separate the two at all.

Also unfortunately, the word merchant sector was our only source of data as to what the rest of the country, especially the northeast, thought of us.

Not entirely sure I understand your second paragraph. The "set of issued that could be dealt with in isolation" is the legal infrastructure of segregation?

Commercial and sanitary law which required caste regulations and education law which prohibited open enrollment or geographic assignment. Also, federal law on interstate shipping and transportation was not subject to systematic disregard outside the South.

You had hinky elections administration in New York, but its purposes were to benefit bosses like Carmine deSapio over and against factional antagonists; had nothing to do with negro disfranchisement. It was manifest not in registration procedure but in the petition process. There were restrictive convenants on real estate in northern cities, but they weren't universal and they were legally unenforceable after a certain date (1950, I believe).

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