this afternoon i was talking to debo on the phone, banging on about how our understanding of history is determined by so many more elements than we realized and our writing of it is deeply flawed, when she, in making a point about the civil war and the battle of franklin, said this:
... after the war was lost... or won, depending upon your viewpoint... or, i should say, after the war's end.
there were about three minutes more of conversation before she indirectly circled back to this moment when she admitted, rather defeatedly, the hardest thing is talking about the civil war to a non-southern person.
and i told her, yeah, mummybee, i appreciated that thing you did back there, a few minutes ago.
and she said, wasn't that strange?
we both knew she'd done it. we both knew why she'd done it. and we both knew it was something that feels deeply unnatural in the doing, even though it is also more true.
it's the first time i've been aware of how the language shifts demanded of (liberal? academic? PC?) southerners mirrors the performance of transatlantic english. the mental acrobatics required so that the inappropriate first impulse is bypassed and the appropriate thing said and you can escape without betrayal by own language, which reveals more than you know or want about the world from which you come.