Sure, you’re the smartest one in the room, but that Southern accent of yours makes you sound like an idiot. At least that’s what workers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee heard when the lab decided to bring in a “a nationally certified speech pathologist and accent reduction trainer” to “help” them “speak with a more neutral American accent.”
“Studies have shown that whether you are from the North or South, a Southern twang pegs the speaker as comparatively dimwitted,” Scientific American helpfully tells us.
More at NPR.
At the London Review of Books, Mike Kirby recalls his time in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as an electronics technician working on nuclear warheads in the U.S. Navy and his evolution into a peacenik.
Before boot camp I had been a street kid for about a year. Boot camp meant I could take a shower and wash my clothes. Putting up your hand and taking the oath got you ten weeks in San Diego, without rights, subject to constant abuse. You’re marched here; you’re marched there. You yell yes sir and no sir and try your damndest to fit in and do everything that is demanded of you. Be clean, stand up straight, roll your socks up into balls so that the stencilled initials show in the little window.
More at the London Review of Books.