Political Animal


January 08, 2013 11:39 AM Smoky Barbecue, Pretty Women, and College Football

By Ed Kilgore

In less serious news, a bit of a Twitter Civil War is heating up over a comment made by Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples in response to the seventh consecutive college football national championship won by a team from the Southeastern Conference:

I’m sorry, folks outside of SEC country, but a few facts are incontrovertible. They smoke better barbecue than you. Their women are prettier than your women. They play football better than your schools play football.

Jon Chait, a Michigan fan, responded:

Our women are better educated and interesting. And we have Zingerman’s.

Lord-a-mercy. Before long, we’ll have people debating the demerits of Real Housewives of New Jersey versus Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

As a native southerner transplanted to California, I would echo Staples’ judgments about barbecue and football. As for “pretty women,” I will note the Beach Boys once had a tune that provided a tribute to the sterling qualities of various American women before trumpeting Golden State chauvinism:

(Hope you enjoy the bonus spectacle of Bob Hope and Jack Benny trying to make surfer jokes.)

But getting back to the New Civil War, surely women have enough problems in this country without having to compete as regional trophies. So let’s leave them out of the bragfest, boys. Eat your barbecue and watch your football.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on January 08, 2013 11:59 AM:

    Like Blue Girl, I am from Kansas City. We don't take a back seat to anybody as far as barbecue is concerned. Ours is simply the best.

  • c u n d gulag on January 08, 2013 12:00 PM:

    We here in the NY Tri-state area don't care much about College Football.

    We know how pretty our women are, and, there a lot more interesting and wonderful things eat, than BBQ!
    Though, we do love us some good BBQ.

  • Alan Tomlinson on January 08, 2013 12:01 PM:

    Southerners are much better at shooting and threatening people, on and off the gridiron, as well.

    Slight contempt,

    Alan Tomlinson

  • scott_m on January 08, 2013 12:07 PM:

    I am a lifelong Southerner and dedicated carnivore, so I can speak from authority when I say this:

    Arthur Bryant's in KC is the way most awesomest BBQ evarr, Amen.

    The Jazz Museum there is pretty great too.

  • T2 on January 08, 2013 12:09 PM:

    having spent 25 years on the beaches of SoCal, and more than 25 in the South.....
    bbq - Texas, football - Texas, girls (pretty) SoCal.

  • Dude on January 08, 2013 12:10 PM:

    Up here in Portland, Ore., if you use a phrase like "our women", you are likely to be spending lots of time not in the company of women.

  • Th on January 08, 2013 12:13 PM:

    Two things: eastern NC has the best B-B-Q and no chance of any college there winning a national championship and if Oregon or Kansas State had not choked, Alabama would not have been in the championship game last night.

  • BillFromPA on January 08, 2013 12:32 PM:

    This goober is far too modest. How about Highest Rate of English Illiteracy and Highest Rate of Teen Pregnancy? Also, I beleive that conference leads the nation in divorce rate, but let's not give them a swelled head.

  • rea on January 08, 2013 12:34 PM:

    And of course, the response to California Girls . . .


  • Mudge on January 08, 2013 12:38 PM:

    SEC states also lead the country in insane Congress people. I must applaud the recent inclusion of Texas A&M, now they have Cruz, and Missouri, where Todd Akin awaits his next chance.

    They are actively seeking to increase their overwhelming lead in loony congressionals.

  • Gandalf on January 08, 2013 12:41 PM:

    As for football we have a team here in Ohio that can compete with all thee cheaten SEC teams. I mean hell were just as good at it as they are. Pretty women are where you find them. As for barbecue if it's good who gives a rat's ass where it's from. And one final thing. If you ever been to Alabama they're damn good at imitating third world countries, in fact they are the best at that.

  • ahoy polloi on January 08, 2013 1:10 PM:

    i'd also put them at top of the list for misplaced priorities: Alabama head coach Saban makes over $5 million per year.

    i am sure that the rest of the Alabama public education system sees NOTHING wrong with that.

  • mudwall jackson on January 08, 2013 1:24 PM:

    give the south all due praise for bbq but arguably the greatest football food of all time comes from the north. the brat. parboil them in beer, grill 'em on an open flame then put 'em on a bun with mustard and kraut. open your favorite beverage and sit back and enjoy the game. mmmmmm.

    oh and the north certainly has its share of crazy in congress, what with michele bachman and steve king still employed as representatives of the people.

  • Eric K on January 08, 2013 1:25 PM:

    All you need to know about Staples judgement is to look at his AP poll. Alabama #1 is a no brainer, but ten he has Texas A&M 2 and Oregon 5, just to pick the biggest Huh? Votes

  • martin on January 08, 2013 1:51 PM:

    I've lived in Alabama for 27 years and all I know about football is they seem to worship it and you can't get a decent pastrami sandwich. Zingerman's, Yummmmmmmmmmm.

  • Steve in the ATL on January 08, 2013 2:22 PM:

    Gandalf: As for football we have a team here in Ohio that can compete with all thee cheaten SEC teams.

    Steve in the ATL: Recent history in the title game shows otherwise.

    Gandalf: If you ever been to Alabama they're damn good at imitating third world countries, in fact they are the best at that.

    Steve in the ATL: Mississippi may disagree, but point taken.

  • Daddy Love on January 08, 2013 2:50 PM:

    We have better-educated and better paid workers.

  • thebewilderness on January 08, 2013 4:21 PM:

    Barbeque, games, and women.
    One of these things is not like the others, One of these things is not a thing.

  • JGH on January 08, 2013 5:30 PM:

    Don't the southern states have by far the highest obesity rates, for both males and females? Just sayin'.

  • mooster on January 08, 2013 7:38 PM:

    Ed, I told you if you ever mentioned Honey Boo Boo again, I'd bail on this site. Apparently you thought I was kidding. Goodbye.

  • Southern refugee on January 08, 2013 8:38 PM:

    College football: focusing the resources of state universities to win semi-professional sports championships is something to be proud of in the same sense as, say, having the most powerful automatic weapons in town.

    Women: southerners are absolutely the best looking if your taste is for conservatively dressed white women with lots of make-up. (I really don't think the person making this claim was talking about southern blacks: there are next to none of them in SEC football stadiums apart from the players).

    Barbecue: probably the thing I miss the most from the south.

  • beejeez on January 09, 2013 8:49 AM:

    "Our women are better educated and interesting?"

    Jeez, thanks a lot, Mr. Chait. I think you forgot to add "have great personalities" and "don't sweat much for fat girls."

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