Hillary, There Are Few Things More Painful Than a Southern Accent, Done Badly

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 05, 2007 12:41 PM

And, of course, not much more beautiful than a south Georgia drawl, when it comes natural.

There's a Hall of Shame for Bad Southern Accents. I think it's in Pumpkin Patch, N.C., and funded entirely with earmarked funds, but that's beside the point.

Inside its walls resides a commemoration of Demi Moore in "The Butcher's Wife," which might have taken first place had it not been for the relative obscurity of the movie, which prevented most self-respecting Southerners from seeing it.

There's a full wall display featuring Keanu Reeves' costume from "Devil's Advocate" to lend that touch of realism to the remembrance of his grave inflectionary sins. I'm sorry to do this to you, but this is sort of a PSA. We have to remember such horrors so that we can prevent repeating them:

Had Hillary Clinton watched this clip before her trip to Selma this weekend to commemorate Bloody Sunday, she would have known not to do this.

Keanu's gonna be so ticked about losing his crown. Awful. It's like that teacher we all had who tried to be cool with the kids by employing slang terms--always outdated by just enough to be lame but not enough to be retro.  The words clearly aren't comfortable in his mouth, and his audience ends up very uncomfortable with his words.

Same for Hillary. That performance is so transparently panderific, it's embarrassing.

"I don't feel no ways tired." Did she really say that?!? I didn't hear the whole context up until that comment. Was she quoting someone? Someone's grandmomma? I don't even use that phrase. Well, not often. Ha.

Now, I'm from the South, but I don't sound particularly Southern, as most people point out (there are a few who think I sound like a hick, but the more frequent comment is that I don't have much of an accent). However, if I were to go spend a weekend in North Carolina, it would come back a bit. It would settle in.

If I were to speak to a Southern crowd, I'd undoubtedly sound more Southern than I do when I'm on the radio in D.C. or something. But I've got some actual Southernness to fall back on, and I don't think even I'd end up laying it on as thick as Hillary tried to, and everyone knows she's a Wellsley-educated carpetbagger.

It's so bad, and it shows a basic, blatant disrespect for Southerners--particularly black Southerners-- that I've never been able to believe anyone puts up with. She's a Clinton. If she's gonna pander, she could at least hire a good dialect coach. You know they've got the money. Or, she's been living with Bill for 30 years. Surely all that time with him could produce a better fake than that. She sounds utterly ridiculous, and you know everyone in the room with her knew it. I'm sure a shot of the audience would have shown more than a few snickers shielded by church-cough hands.

They clapped because she's a Democrat. She didn't need to fake it up to earn applause, but she did, because Dems have to keep their black support in the 90s to win, and they think handing down money from on federal high while talking like they've "got the Spirit" is good enough to do that.

So lame. On the bright side for Hill, she did earn herself a spot in the Pumpkin Patch museum, so congrats.

Update: Obama, also with the hickin' it up, and bonus historical misrepresentations!

Update: Commenter tdau1997, who was a-O.K. despite being in hurricane territory this weekend (yay!), reminds me of another Hall of Shamer-- "Ahh don't won't your lyyfe" from "Varsity Blues." A classic: