Sam Burnham, Curator
I was interviewing James Calamine this afternoon for the upcoming episode of the podcast. Without getting into a lot of the details and ruining that part of the interview, I want to share a basic comment that came up in the conversation.
In The South, everything sort of runs together. Those highest of Southern arts - music, food, and literature, seem very distinct, very different to the casual observer. But in reality, it is hard to ignore the fact that they are helplessly entwined.
You can see it in the Bourdain in Mississippi episode I reviewed. You can see it in the Calemine books as well. If you live in the South, you probably know what I'm talking about. It's all storytelling on some level. It's all an accumulation of the shared history of a diverse people who have struggled to live together for centuries - a history shaped by bondage and injustice but also by the truth few will admit. Southerners are all much more alike than we are different. It's the food, the music, and the literature that connect us. Or perhaps it's that connection that gives us the arts. I'm not sure anyone really knows which is which anymore. Oh some will pretend that they do but that's just hubris at best.
This land has seen poverty, ignorance, famine, war, pestilence. It's also seen riches, peace, safety, wisdom, and abundance. Through it all, good and bad, the people and their arts have been handed down generation to generation, like a song, like a story, like a recipe.
And it all runs together.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire