Mean and strong like liquor and some real fine people: enactments of the progressive white Southern man in the Drive By Truckers' albums Southern rock opera and The dirty south

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University of Alabama Libraries

The lyrics of Drive By Truckers (DBT), a contemporary Southern Rock band, were critiqued to better understand the concepts of current constructions of Southern white masculine identity. The methodologies used as a lens to critique the lyrics were Kenneth Burke's theory of dramatism and Michael Calvin McGee's notion of the ideograph. The critique found that DBT offers a counter-cultural resistance to dominant "Old South" and "New South" ideologies that have traditionally and historically been adhered to the prototypal Southern white man. The band's response - one that challenges typical constructions of a Southern white man as racist, individually-motivated, and imbricated in Southern mores (such as states' rights) - can be considered a part of what the author deems the "Progressive South." Ultimately, the Southern white man, as envisioned in the lyrics of the DBT, protects his family, opposes racist political and ideological positions, views oppression based in class struggles instead of ethnic differences, and problematizes dominant Southern culture through a newly-fashioned rebel figure.

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Speech Communication, Mass Communications