Flatuus ante bellum
RANGE: North of the Mason-Dixon line, the Dixie Pixie can invariably be found anywhere the South is being celebrated, or derided; wherever mint juleps are consumed in excess, or utterly scorned; any place com pone and grits are eaten, or regurgitated; any time southern accents are affected for politeness’s sake, or in order to facilitate the telling of a racist joke.
HABITS: The Dixie Pixie is responsible for every Yankee’s twin misperceptions about the South. One fantasy is of the courtly colonel with the snowy goatee laying his coat over the cloaca, lest the flower of Southern womanhood besmirch her cotillion slippers. The other features an inbred sour mash-smashed string-tied cracker lashing the broad backs of cringing slaves with a fishhook-studded flail. The Dixie Pixie conjures up, in the Northern mind, visions of a freshly whitewashed mansion, its porticoed porch festooned with happy banjo thumping indentured servants. Magnolia and honeysuckle mingle scents in the warm evening breeze, which wafts from across the ripening cotton fields the lonesome call of the river boat whistle. Here comes Granny with a tray of hush puppies! Well shut mah mouth! Simultaneously (and with equal vividness, natch), he inspires the infernal image of a dilapidated tar paper lean-to squatting in a fever swamp, with a flea-bitten field hand, clothed only in cast-off handkerchiefs, chained to a post before the door. The sounds of diesel-engined mosquitoes and malarial mud wasps mingle in the musty air, redolent with rotting laundry and decomposing propeller-chopped manatees, while down by the levee an uncaring overseer trolls for ‘gators, his hook baited with dynamite. It is likewise impossible for a Northerner in the Pixie’s thrall to conceive of an honest Southern election, believing either that men are barred from voting at all by local political thugs or encouraged to vote often in exchange for hefty slugs of bourbon.
HISTORY: The Dixie Pixie is of Celtic origin, having long preceded his human counterparts in emigrating from the rural slums of Ireland and Scotland to the southern shores of the New World. He was, and is, very active in creating both pro- and anti-Confederate propaganda, having, for example, ghost written both Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Gone With The Wind. Just now, the Dixie Pixie is exerting his influence on the casting of sit-coms and feature films, lobbying for the employment of only the fattest, most harmless sheriffs, the most charming moonshine-running truckers, and whitest, blondest, busti-est, why, the dumbest Dixie Pixie’s Southern belles.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: When football season comes ’round, why, the Dixie Pixie’s a regular bowlweevil! Yaaa-hoooooo! An unprovoked chorus of rebel yells in Seattle’s Kingdome or the Jersey Giants’ Stadium suggests his presence. He is bound to be near any Volvo with a stars-and-bars bumper sticker, and can be sighted yearly, proudly guzzling bourbon in an ivy league faculty club on Kentucky Derby day. It is the Dixie Pixie who inspires the Long Island house wife to address the cleaning lady as “y’all”. The Dixie Pixie has carpetbagged up North, suh, where the sour mash flows.