By Courtney Barbour
I don’t know anything about Alabama. History, of course, but I’ve never actually visited. Hello Alabama makes me want to declare a life goal to avoid it like the plague. The author, Courtney, moved there from North Carolina (hey, another place I know virtually nothing about) to attend grad school and…well, her own words are better than mine: “I regret it most days…this is just one Alabama disaster story.”
Like I said, I’m out of the loop on this one, so I’m not sure how Tuscaloosa compares to the rest of the state as far as culture goes. Regardless, Courtney’s personal accounts of the right wing ignorance and oblivious racism left a very sour taste in my mouth. When you live someplace like San Francisco it’s easy to forget that the progressive ideals we embrace are not universal. Courtney recalls at one point being told by her partner to remove her pro-choice bumper sticker from her car for fear of their personal safety. Another story of a middle-aged man not comprehending (or just playing stupid about) the offensiveness of Uncle Remus was particularly cringe-worthy.
After reading through most of the zine I was left wondering if there was any upside to living in Alabama (Skynyrd couldn’t have it totally wrong, could they?). Luckily she threw in a list of beautiful things on the last page. Hang in there, baby.