Annoying Things About Virginia
we're smart and prosperous, but some things still
turn my crank.
a New Old Dominion afoot. As evidence, Barack
Obama is using the state as an economic model for
the rest of the country. Virginians, thanks partly
to federal money and nudges, are smarter, more
prosperous and more productive than ever before.
And, they are becoming politically bluer and more
moderate than ever before.
but there are still some things that really bug
me. For your amusement and just to keep us modest,
here’s a list:
, BBQ isn’t on the level of, say,
Eastern North Carolina
, but it is perfectly OK. The problem is the buns.
They always use these cheap, white hamburger buns
that disintegrate when you pick them up. BBQ slops
all over your lap. If you have an important
meeting after lunch, you end up looking like an
costs. Have you ever given in to temptation
while driving alone in
and gone onto the HOV-3 lanes when it isn’t the
legal time yet? At the roadblock, the State
Policeman cheerfully hands you the ticket as if
you have just won the State Lottery. Of the $120
penalty, most goes to “court costs.” What are
new state capitol building. After all those
millions, the new underground part of Thomas
Jefferson’s masterpiece has all the style of an
airport terminal. The old amenities are gone, such
as Chickens snack bar where you could get
hand-squeezed limeades and good Brunswick stew.
Gone is the Old South ambience where you could
almost hear those seersucker-clad ghosts proclaim
that God has a special place for Negroes and that
Massive Resistance is a great idea.
Risse’s matrixes. If anyone out there
understands them, please give me a call.
water fishing licenses. This shameless money
grab by the General Assembly and the Department of
Game and Inland Fisheries is blasphemous because
salt water fish are beholden to no state.
we’re at it, let’s change the state emblem and
slogan. Instead of a pointless Roman Centurion
(what’s he all about, anyway?) and “Thus Ever
to Tyrants!” how about a rockfish saying “Swim
Free or Die."
Anglophilia. I don’t think I’ve ever been
in a place that is so in love with
even England. If you aren’t of English
descent, as I am not, this becomes annoying. No
other ethnic group (dare I call it that?)
supposedly contributed anywhere near what the
English did, the thinking goes. Forget the French
and Poles who helped save the Revolution, the
Irish, Italian, German and Jewish immigrants who
developed the cities and the African-Americans,
slave or free, who built the plantations and just
about everything else. Forget that the Spanish
a full 44 years before the first indolent English
lawn bowler set foot at
. Forget the more recent immigrants from
who fuel the state’s High Tech boom. If it
isn’t “English,” it doesn’t matter.
print news media. Facing circulation and
advertising slides, newspapers are in a sorry
state. The Washington Post suffers a brain
drain from so many experienced pros taking
buy-outs. The Virginian-Pilot, facing a
possible new owner, is adrift. Once merely
mediocre, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has
morphed into something truly awful.
Speaking of anglophilia and the RTD, I hate
it when its editorial writers ape “British Upper
Class” speech and writing. Doing so is as phony
as a three dollar bill. My real Brit friends and
colleagues here, in the
, and the rest of
don’t talk or write that way. Even my sister,
who likes to remind me that she completed graduate
Oxford, doesn’t talk that way.
fetish. Aren’t you sick of the
I’m going to croak next time I hear some
minor politician cite as his qualifications that
he happened to plop down in Ole Virginny or that
his great-great-great-great grandfather owned a
farm in Augusta or Amelia. You don’t get to
choose where you are born or who your ancestors
were. I was born in
because my Dad, a Navy doctor, happened to be
stationed there at a time. I have no memories of
the place since we were transferred to
18 months later. Does this still make me a
August 25, 2008