What are some of the primary "genres" which have defined the South in popular culture, according to Jack Temple Kirby?
In his book titled Media-Made Dixie: The South in the American Imagination, Jack Temple Kirby discusses a number of genres which he says have been taken as characteristic of southern culture. Among those genres are the following:
- Local color fiction: fiction that focuses on the south as a region and emphasizes the distinctive behaviors, habits, and dialects of its people.
- Share-cropper social realism: fiction that tries to depict the actual lives of poor people of the region.
- Gothic novels: fiction that deals with the darker, somewhat bizarre aspects of southern culture.
- Chain gang fiction: writing that presents the darker aspects of the lives of southern prisoners.
- “Thirties documentaries”: writing (and sometimes photographs) that tried to present very realistically the lives of southerners during the Great Depression.
- The “Old South” genre: writings and films that emphasized the antebellum south. At one point, for instance, Kirby writes that
The mass-media managers, especially the moviemakers, experimented as usual with genre, and discovered for themselves the cash power of that grand Old South.
Kirby discusses a number of other genres that he associates with southern culture, but these are among the most prominent.