o Preface to Duke Edition
In 1992, two southern Democrats-Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Albert
Gore, Jr. of Tennessee-captured the nation's highest offices. During the
campaign, the "Bubba ticket" sparked a national rediscovery of yet an-
other New South, a dynamic region with a youthful, forward-looking lead-
ership, untainted by the racial hostility and economic backwardness of the
past. Yet at the same time, the candidates carefully nurtured their south-
ern roots-ballyhooing their southern Baptist faith, their fondness for
barbecue, their country lingo. The spectacle prompted cartoonist Doug
Marlette, creator of the comic strip Kudzu, to identifY a new arrival on the
national scene, a class of counterfeit crackers and fake good
01'
boys.
"Due to the homogenization, gentrification and urbanization of their
homeland (into something called the Sun belt) ," Marlette jibed, "the eco-
logical imbalance created by the disappearance of genuine Bubbas has
prompted the emergence of a compensatory form of Good 01' Boy: the
Faux Bubba." Weekend Billybobs like Clinton and Gore claim all the po-
litical capital and accoutrements of a "colorful ethnic identity with none
of the unpleasant cultural downside-like getting laid off your job or cut
in a knife fight." The economic and political forces unleashed by Franklin
D. Roosevelt, all of the "big words ending in 'ization' ," seemed to have
transformed the South of boll weevils, magnolias, juleps, and sharecrop-
pers into a sunbelt of skyscrapers, dealmakers, military bases and air-con-
ditioned comfort.'
Marlette's caricatures evoked the political influence, economic power,
and even the cultural cachet of the contemporary South. For decades a
launching pad of blacks fleeing racism and whites escaping poverty, the
South exerted magnetic power after 1970. Its population swelled by twice
the national growth rate as people poured into the region: white subur-
banites from the Northeast, industrial workers from the Midwest, retirees,
black outmigrants returning to their childhood homes, and, for the first
time in southern history, a substantial number of immigrants from foreign
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