Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Alabama image problem

Slurs fell on Alabama this week.

Birmingham's namesake - Birmingham- has launched a new tourism ad campaign - featuring a Birmingham, Alabamian called Wilbur, Sr. And Wilbur is a redneck - and Wilbur does look like this:

Go the Birmingham council website to view the ad

Now, normally I would holler and protest about the prejudicial depiction of Southerners in the media. But this is Alabama week, and I do hate Bama. So instead of ranting about Birmingham, England's city council's cultural insensitivity - I'll just pile in.

I will however, point out some factual inaccuracies in the campaign. Look at Wilbur, Sr's smile. Can you see what's wrong? Yep, Wilbur has all his teeth.

But Wilbur is not just fronting ad campaigns. No - he's got hisself a column in the Birmingham Post as well. And here's what he writes (or rather dictates)

Howdy. First of all, I'd like to thank you folks for all the letters you bin sending me. Only wish I could read 'em.

Fact is, I never had much in the way of education after Momma died. What with working in the cotton fields in the summer and cleaning the abattoir in the winter, there never was much time for book learning.


Still cain't believe I got this high-profile job explaining to you good people 'bout all the great things Birmingham has to offer, courtesy of Mayor Mike Whitby, the most wonderful an' humble man that ever did tread this earth. I ain't joking here, by the way

And some highlights from his column from a couple of weeks ago:

Howdy. Well, so much has happened to me since I last shot the breeze with you folks that my head's buzzing like a nest of hornets in an Alabama farmyard. And that ain't no exaggeration.

Apparently, the real folks from Birmingham, Alabama are none too pleased. Tourism boss Jim Smither said (as reported in today's Metro - which I can't link to)

I've lived in Birmingham, Alabama for 13 years and never seen anyone wearing a stetson. People in Britain tend to assume small US communities are either cowboys or hillbillies. I'd invite whoever invented Wilbur to visit us and see how different real-life US Brummies are.

Yes - let's look at some real Alabamians:

Crazy headgear? Not a stetson in sight.

I know it's hard to look past the back - but this guy is wearing a hat and sure enough - it's not a stetson.

UPDATE: For all you Bammers, here's a link to Birmingham City Council's "contact us" page, just in case you want to complain about the ethnic stereotypes and lack of diversity awareness. If you actually watch the ad, you may wish to do more than complain. Myself - I won't be complaining until after Bama leaves the field in defeat this 3rd Saturday in October. It'll be the least I can do.


Paul Chenoweth said...

I was soooo hoping this was a joke

St. Caffeine said...

Okay, Vol, do you REALLY want to make fun of Bama football fans and their sartorial choices? I don't know if you know this, but blaze orange is NOT a flattering color. Evidence will follow once I have time to browse a bit.

Vol Abroad said...

It's not blaze orange - and Vol Orange is indeed a flattering color.

Besides - I was merely pointing out what Birmingham, AL officials raised themselves - not a stetson in sight.

St. Caffeine said...

Oh, Vol, you know Vol Orange is the same as deer hunting orange. I found a pic from the K-ville News I was going to send you, but it'd probably just inspire you.

Okay, I take your point about the Stetson, but be careful. It almost seems as if you are being blasphemous about the Houndstooth Hat. You know you can't do that!

Rex L. Camino said...

I always thought it was more of a "prison jumpsuit" orange.

(cough) Which is fitting. (cough)