The truth, literally speaking

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Today we will cover a serious topic that is plaguing America.
Children may need to leave the room for this one.
Today's subject is the literally thousands of words in the English language that are being misused everyday.
What brought this up is an absolutely awful car commercial that plays on the radio roughly every 36 seconds. In this commercial the car dealer says, "Our phones are literally ringing off the hook."
That means his phones are bouncing around the office like something from a Poltergeist movie.
What he should have said was, "My phones are figuratively ringing off the hook." Unless, of course, his phones have come alive and are planning some kind of invasion that he is trying to warn us about through his car commercial.
I shouldn't be one to talk. I was born in Illinois and raised in Alabama so I have a northern accent and a southern vocabulary . Half the time I sound like a Yankee tourist in Florida desperately trying to sound like a southerner.
In fact, I could wear flip-flops with black socks at the beach and everyone would assume I was a displaced Yankee.
I can't even use the word "y'all" without receiving looks of pity. Instead of it coming out "yawl" it comes out like one of those bad actors from California that are supposed to play the part of a southern farmer and tried to base their accents on those used by other actors from California.
This brings up another interesting topic which is Hollywood's portrayal of the South. Certain rules should be set down to keep Hollywood from tarnishing the image of the south anymore than it already is.
Here are a few ground rules:
1.) Hire an actor who is actually from the south and make sure that person is somewhat representative of the state. I would not count because of the northern brogue. On the other end of the spectrum that person should not be from the most backwoods hillbilly hole in the state. If that person's version of y'all takes more than a minute to say and sounds as if there are at least four extra vowels in it, they are not representative.
2.) Very few people talk like Scarlet O'Hara, most of those people are Yankees trying to sound Southern.
3.) We are not a bunch of racist rednecks and 99 people out of 100 have not even met any member of the Klan. True fact: The largest clan rally in American history was in Ohio, near Cincinnati.
4.) If a movie is about Alabama, film it in Alabama. Georgia is not Alabama no matter how many movies about Alabama are filmed there.
5.) We don't all live in shacks, trailers, Winnebagos or colonial mansions. There are different types of homes in between.
6.) We dress like everyone else in the country. Mothers don't go around the house dressed like Donna Reed, and fathers don't wear a hat they got with Marlboro points to Church.
7.) Keanu Reeves should never play a southerner. This is not only because of rule No. 1, it is also because he literally couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag. He tried and it wasn't pretty.
Lee Weyhrich is the Managing Editor of The Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.

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