Wisconsissippi Revisited

While it may have been an unintended consequence of the Spartan yet over-reaching state budget of defunded mandates and vestigial unions, Wisconsissippi’s transition to a Southern state of mind begins to appear, Bless Betsy, about as natural as nature intended. I don’t just mean the slower pace on the street despite wind chills likely to freeze your boiled peanuts, or even the lingering doorway goodbyes that have all but replaced the abrupt “later’s” once common to these parts, but the very notion that maybe we had been saving at the spigot and letting it run out the bunghole, something a body cannot abide.

The very countryside is changing in America’s Beulahland, from the stately pole-barn manor home on a soybean plantation in Brule, to a once troubled dairy farm in Richland Center, now in cotton, to the sounds of barge totin’ and bale liftin’ from the banks of the mighty Kinnikinnick. The corn that used to go into feed (we still keep a few cows, for ornamental purposes, along the highway) go straight into hominy. It’s no small point of pride that pretty near every dollar saved on teacher and public worker benefits have gone into stocking the catfish farms, which are going pretty good, even if the fish tend to dice when you blow ’em up to the silo. The magnolias may be struggling but the kudzu has pushed all the way up to the UP.

Folks are changing as well, having adopted Southern mannerisms, such as ancestor worship, so that we now tailgate in the graveyard in Ashwaubenon before Packer games, and we hold onto all of our last names on both sides: the Des Peres phone book is filled with John Peterson Hanson Johnson’s and all the permutations. “Wixie” is played at every  game and Nascar event, although we’re not supposed to sing the words due to sensibilities. Priorities have been readjusted in education: at our crown jewel university, Ole Wis, the mission today is less sifting and winnowing and more blocking and tackling.

The benefits have been mutual, we’d like to think, now that our progenitor, the Great State of Mississippi, no longer axiomatically comes in 50th in education, health care and social services. Since the rise of Wisconsissippi, the ejaculation “Thank God for Alabama!” we’re told, has just about disappeared from casual discourse at Bumper’s Drive-In in Yazoo City. For us, of course, the hope is to share in the promised bounty, the day when our workers paradise will attract a Hyundai, or a Kia, or a Ginsu Knife. To date, there’s just the  Payday America and a couple of Waffle Houses (for us, taking your grits the hard way). We firmly believe in the principle “deconstruct it and they will come,” and don’t, for a moment, miss the entitlements of the “Forward” days of thinly-veiled Scandinavian socialism–it’s like Big Daddy says, “Forward depends on which way you’re facing.” And we’re heading South.

Michael Feldman

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2 Comments on “Wisconsissippi”

  1. Linda Says:

    I’m lovin’ the shirt you’ve chosen. Go Gators!


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