22 Reasons BuzzFeed Should Spend More Time in the South

August 21, 2014 | By | Comments (28)

Photo: Getty Images

Presuming the obvious–that all of you are somehow connected to the belles and bourbons of Southern culture, be it through a Facebook feed full of seersucker, a predilection toward fried okra, or a monthly viewing of Fried Green Tomatoes–you’ve probably seen BuzzFeed’s new list: “22 Words That Have a Totally Different Meaning in the South.” It’s hotter than summer in the South, if our newsfeeds are to be believed (Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t mislead us, right?). Much like this paragraph, it’s also stuffed with more stereotypes than there are birds in a turducken!

For those of you who are too busy huntin’ deer or drinking a mint julep while practicing your best rendition of “Bless your heart,” we’ve broken down the article for you. Our impression? BuzzFeed reporters need to spend more time in the South and less time gathering their facts from True Blood. Here’s a look at what they got right and what they got wrong.

What BuzzFeed Wrote vs. What Is True

1) Y’all
BuzzFeed Says: A word you use to address two or more people that’s used in almost every single sentence.
We Say: I got through the intro paragraphs here without using that word! Am I not Southern? I’m having an identity crisis, y’all.

2) Seasons
BuzzFeed Says: Hot, super freaking hot, and cold for a couple of weeks.
We Say: Uhh … It was like 40 degrees once. And remember that time it snowed? Okay, we’ll concede this one.

3) Football
BuzzFeed Says: Religion, and what the South is best at.
We Say: Sure, we love our football. But what we’re best at? Tell that to Johnny Cash. Or Sean Brock. Or the amazing people who helped those affected by tornados. And hurricanes. The South is better at football than the rest of the country–looking at you, Midwest–but the South is best at community. Sappy, but true.

4) Mosquitos
BuzzFeed Says: Bird-sized flying vampires that are the absolute bane of your existence.
We Say: Pretty spot on, but BuzzFeed forgot to mention that way they swarm like termites. Oh yeah, and they forgot termites–the indie rockers of the swarming bug world.

5) Manners
BuzzFeed Says: Always addressing people as ma’am and sir, opening doors, being nice to people, and genuinely meaning it.
We Say: HEY NOW BUZZFEED EVEN RUDE PEOPLE OPEN DOORS … oh, wait. These are actually really good traits, and we’re happy to own it. Thanks, guys! Is this list bad manners?

6) BBQ
BuzzFeed Says: Slow-cooking meat for several hours, and something every part of the South thinks it does the best.
We Say: Sure, The Carolinas and Texas have been battling it out for best BBQ for a while, but Louisiana, Florida? We’ve got other culinary battles to fight.

7) Tailgating
BuzzFeed Says: Drinking and eating in the parking lot until the big game starts, dressed to the NINES, fancy and in school colors.
We Say: Wait, what? I was too busy painting my face purple and gold for my first LSU tailgate of the year to pay attention to this one. +1 Buzzfeed.

8) New Orleans
BuzzFeed Says: The place where you’ve made at least one questionable decision.
We Say: We can’t argue with this one, but we’ve got a feeling that folks make questionable decisions in San Fran … New York … Chicago … other places where people congregate …

9) Fixin’
BuzzFeed Says: When you’re about to do something or getting ready to do something. Also used to talk about food.
We Say: Last time I used the word “fixin'” I was talking about my car. I even remembered my “g.”

10) Humidity
BuzzFeed Says: A swampy hell and the reason you feel dirty and sweaty all the damn time.
We Say: A swampy hell and the reason you feel dirty and sweaty all the damn time. Also, the reason you sometimes wear shorts to work AND ARE TOTALLY FINE WITH THAT.

11) Summer
BuzzFeed Says: A hot, humid, hellscape where you try to stay cool by any means necessary.
We Say: Hey guys, do you think it’s warm down in the South? Hard to figure out where y’all stand on this …

12) AC
BuzzFeed Says: A device sent from God and something you can’t live without.
We Say: /DC

13) Country Music
BuzzFeed Says: What you hear nonstop on almost every single radio station and at almost every social function.
We Say: This is true, if those social functions are Cole Swindell concerts. We do love country, but we also invented Zydeco, Blues, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll …

14) Goober
BuzzFeed Says: An extremely nice way of calling someone a goofball.
We Say: In 2014, calling someone a goofball is an extremely nice way of calling someone a goofball. Anyway, am I an outlier here thinking that this is a goober?

15) SEC
BuzzFeed Says: Where either you, one of your friends, or a member of your family went to school, and the best damn football conference the world has ever known.
We Say: The United States Security and Exchanges Commission. Just kidding! The best damn football conference the world has ever known that also includes four of the top 100 academic colleges in the country.

16) Coke
BuzzFeed Says: What you call any carbonated sugary beverage regardless if it’s actually Coca-Cola or not.
We Say: This is almost true, with one important caveat: PEPSI IS NEVER CONSIDERED COKE. EVER. IT’S CONSIDERED MEDICINE.

17) Camo
BuzzFeed Says: A regular part of your wardrobe rotation.
We Say: So, so true. Remember that famous photo of Rhett Butler and Johnny Cash rocking camo? I hang it in my dedicated camo closet. In fact I was just telling my editor about it, when she appeared in a camo dress this morning. [Editor’s note: J.Crew doesn’t make camo dresses.]

18) Crawfish
BuzzFeed Says: A food that signifies the most wonderful time of the year.
We Say: I’m just happy BuzzFeed didn’t call ’em “crayfish.”

19) Wildlife
BuzzFeed Says: Alligators, nutrias, wild hogs, snakes, raccoons, bats, and anything else that roams the backwoods.
We Say: Too true. We’re as stockpiled with these babies as New York is with ninja turtles.

20) Bless Your Heart
BuzzFeed Says: A very nice way of calling someone an idiot.
We Say: Oh, you BuzzFeed goobers. Bless your hearts.

21) Truck
BuzzFeed Says: The majority of vehicles you see on the road.
We Say: I guess that means Toyota Corollas are now considered trucks?

22) The South
BuzzFeed Says: The best damn place on Earth.
We Say: Well, yeah. Now we feel bad for making this list.


What do YOU think about BuzzFeed’s list? Did it nail the South, or does it belong above the Mason-Dixon? We want to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments below.

Southern Fried Column is a weekly column brought to you by Travis M. Andrews that focuses on the fun, the ridiculous, and the trending in these here Southern United States. Because sometimes home is a little absurd.


  1. Biscuits and Such » Lovely Internet 8.29.14:

    […] 3. Buzzfeed vs Southern Living on southernisms. […]

    August 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm
  2. Amy O.

    Thank you Jennifer P. I would never hang out in a parking lot before a football game! Don’t they do that in Wisconsin? The Grove in Oxford is the modern day BBQ at Twelve Oaks! I have always said “fixin’ to”. And y’all, it does get cold in the winter… of course, anything below 60 degrees warrants a mink coat as far as I’m concerned.

    August 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  3. Jen

    Growing up in Atlanta, all soft drinks were referred to as Coke.
    “What would you like to drink darlin’?”
    “I would like a Coke please”
    “What kind?”
    Atlanta is too international and has too many transplants now so we’ve lost a little bit of this. But this was 100% the norm at any restaurant or with friends growing up here. And I never knew a soul that drank Pepsi…

    August 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm
  4. Sherri

    The South is just too huge to generalize this much, I think. I’m a Texas native with Texan family for generations back (and before that, family from New Orleans, Tennessee and the Carolinas, as well as Georgia).. I have NEVER heard of all soft drinks being called Coke. We call Coke Coke, Dr. Pepper is Dr. Pepper, RC is RC. We say “soda” (as in orange, grape, etc) or as in “Hey do you want a soda?” … soda being any carbonated beverage really.

    We say y’all but never referring to one person only.. just for a group of at least two or more.

    We say “fixin to”.. but I’ve noticed it depends on who you’re talking to and how “country” your environment or even your audience. My son will casually say he’s “fixin to” take a walk, talking to family, but at work would say “I’m about to go take a walk”. Some sort of internal self regulation to avoid sounding a certain way in certain environments I guess.

    “Bless your heart” depends on the person uttering it. My Grandma (Mema) was a meanie and if she said it, she was insulting you. Others don’t use it that way.

    In my part of Texas there are a LOT of Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics on the road but yeah, the trucks still outnumber anything else. I’ve never in my life had a period of time where I didn’t 1) have at least 1 family member with a truck or 2) have at least 1 close friend with a truck if I didn’t own one myself.

    I think one generalization fits though.. I’ll agree that the entire region is hellishly hot for most of the year!

    August 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm
  5. jackie

    I was born and raised in Nashville TN and now live in Sounthern GA. So I am probably a perfect example of a Ktrue Southerner”. I say y’all only when its pleural…meaning more than one. I say “Bless your Heart” to convey my sincerest sympathy or heart felt compassion….I would never say it in reflection of someone being an idiot. TN has the best bar b que. Period. Memphis bar b que is legendary. Cokes refer to anything carbinated except the fruity ones…then we say it by flavor…orange…grape whatever crush. And yes when I am ready to do something…I am fixin’ to do whatever….and yes it snows in Middle TN…even been cursed with the occasional ice storm…now Southern Ga is another story…this my friends is the bowels of hell. Camo is for the woods or river only…ewww….I’m a darlin diva peach and don’t do camo….ever. also….nothing was mentioned about Southern Sweet tea….the house wine of the south. Forget mint juleps! If you want alcohol most Southerner’s prefer Bourbon…or moonshine…rednecks drink Budlight. Anything else you need to know…just ask…. y’all! 😉

    August 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm
  6. joan

    The south is a big place. In New Orleans we have so many neighborhoods in the same city, each being different. This is what makes us interesting. Y’all is short for all of you, not one person. We drink Barqs or coke not soda or pop. I am 76 years old and never heard fixins or fixin to in my life. Travis hit the nail right on the head .

    August 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  7. sherrie

    Well BuzzFeed…..My mama always said “When you don’t know what you’re talking about…Don’t talk!!”

    August 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm
  8. Jamie Welch

    You forgot grits. And peaches. And sweet tea. And The Allman Brothers. No true Georgian would be without them.

    August 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
  9. Jennifer P.

    Ummm… many of us know that you don’t tailgate in a parking lot. Gross. You tailgate in The Grove. Hotty Toddy!!

    August 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm
  10. Tami Zeip

    Bless their pea-pickin’ hearts. However, I do take exception to the fact that Tennessee wasn’t even mentioned in the BBQ comment. Ever heard of a little BBQ contest we have hear in Memphis?!? Don’t worry, I still love y’all ;-p

    August 22, 2014 at 10:41 am
  11. suz

    #2 – uh Hel-LO!? We here in that vast wasteland known as Slightly North of Charleston had not one, but TWO ice storms this past winter! Power off, trees crackling and popping,roads closed, the whole Rhett Butler, ya’know?

    #12 – Lol! That was my first thought exactly! DC!

    August 22, 2014 at 10:28 am
  12. Shannon Foor

    I like their list, except that not all the South is into camo, country, and trucks. I have never owned anything camo, and I’m as southern as they come.

    August 22, 2014 at 7:06 am
  13. CJ

    It gets below zero in this part of the south and we have ice. Lots of ice. That comes after the other seasons of hell’s front porch, hell, and hell’s back porch. And the SEC is not the only conference with teams from the south. Just ask Alabama.

    August 22, 2014 at 12:22 am
  14. Sylvia

    I kind of feel like Buzzfeed was citing what must people’s impressions of Texas are the grand majority of the list, which seeing as I grew up in the fourth largest city in the US and (according to some lists, depending on what the criteria are) the most diverse in the US, I would say is a very poor representation of what Texas actually looks like.

    That said, I do frequently use ya’ll in place of the grammatically correct you because that is what I grew up hearing. And we did have a camo Friday in high school for one of our school’s pep rallies. But unless you’re hunting or showing school spirit, camo is quite offensive to the eye, and I will stand by that claim to the end. And the only person I know who hunts is from Conneticut. And actually, the Armand Bayou part of the greater Houston area does abound with alligators and other wildlife (though this area is anything but backwoods). One actually followed my friends and I in our canoes once, scaring the bejeezus out of me.

    All in all, I don’t think one person’s impression of the South, or Texas, can accurately represent it. It’s a huge area and everyone is different. We share a southern culture, yes, but even this changes depending on your location. The South, and Texas in particular, is extremely awesome, though.

    August 22, 2014 at 12:19 am
  15. michelle

    I don’t think this person is a true southerner. He didn’t get half of his information correct himself, bless his heart! Maybe you should write about something you know about.

    August 21, 2014 at 10:33 pm
  16. Rosalyn Ratchford-Shook

    Travis – you rock- this is delicious!! Consider me your newest fan!

    August 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm
  17. Paige

    Ate chicken and dumplings with fried okra and sweet tea for supper. Banana pudding for dessert. Fixin to watch a football game. Life in the south is pretty dang good..

    August 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm
  18. rita kimmel

    Y’all if you are talking to one person. All y’all if you are talking to more than one person. and that’s regard to word #1. I don’t think I have time for this.

    August 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm
  19. Ashley

    J. Crew may not make camo dresses, but they DO make camo vests:

    I’m from the south, and think camo should obviously only be worn while hunting…not as a fashion statement. Yikes.

    August 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm
  20. Ashley Hoben

    Bless their hearts. Someone fix them something to eat.

    August 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm
  21. Audrey G

    BBQ without mention of the perennial national winner – Big Bob Gibson’s- in Decatur, Alabama? Who ARE you, man???

    August 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm
  22. Mollie McCune

    Yes, I grew up calling any SOFT DRINK a “Coke.” But I sure NEVER called it a “soda” or a “pop.” If you want to laugh about something, that’s a good one!

    August 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm
  23. Tracy King

    Hey y’all, I call my husband a Goober at least once per day. It’s like saying “you’re an idiot, but you’re cute so it’s all good”.

    August 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm
  24. Christie Evans

    Lived in North Carolina most of my life and no one ever referred to all sodas as Coke. I have heard that this is a thing but it must be regional.

    August 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm
  25. Vikki Webb

    Travis doesn’t seem to be a real Southerner. I agree with most of Buzzfeed and am proud to be from the South!

    August 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm
  26. Jenna Curtis

    I agree Thames! Also, “Bless your heart” only means “you’re an idiot” when you’re ticked off but keeping it classy. “Bless your heart” most often means “how pitiful” it’s a blessing/prayer.

    August 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm
  27. Leah S.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. No one retires up North.

    August 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm
  28. Thames Robinson

    Well, Travis. I think you must be from some other South than I am. Here in North Alabama we say “fixin to” about as often as we say y’all and that is pretty darn often.

    August 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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