Leave it to good old South Cackalacky to get spitting mad over a boiled peanut.
The popular Netflix series “House of Cards” recently featured the president serving a bowl of boiled peanuts to a sitting Supreme Court justice.
Of course, it should be served in a small brown bag, but it gets worse. He slips into hot water by telling the justice the boiled peanuts “were shucked in the kitchen, so you don’t even have to get your fingers dirty.”
With that, South Carolina gets its orange overalls in a bunch. You don’t “shuck” boiled peanuts, seethed the finer class of South Carolinians.
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Why, you slurp them. And you spit out what’s left of the soft, salty shells, rinse with a cold beverage and repeat.
I can understand the “slight” to our official state snack food. In the South Carolina food pyramid, boiled peanuts are right up there with grits and hash: Foods you can eat with no teeth.
But the question is: Why would we expect Hollywood to understand the boiled peanut?
Hollywood understands the South like the Dukes of Hazzard understand Richard Wagner.
And we have only ourselves to blame.
I have been to Myrtle Beach. I have ridden the Tweetsie Railroad, shopped at Stuckey’s, cruised Gatlinburg and heard 90,000 adults barking like dogs at a college football game.
We need to acknowledge that we’re a hot mess our own selves. Elvis was not made up, and Graceland is real as deep-fried butter. There’s nothing “country” about country music anymore. Our children think biscuits are a novelty of the drive-thru window.
So what’s Hollywood to believe?
Sometimes, they nail it.
“Hee Haw” was so close to the truth that my life can be summed up with the adventures of the Cullhane family. “The Andy Griffith Show” was dead on, like a rock thrown by Ernest T. Bass. And the 1983 movie “Tender Mercies” written by Horton Foote and starring Robert Duvall got it.
So what if Hollywood misunderstands the boiled peanut? Who cares? It’s probably a good thing. Maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll go away.
Many years ago I asked a young reporter’s question of an elderly Gullah woman on Hilton Head Island. One lesson of journalism I’ve learned over the years is that you don’t want to ask the wrong thing of an elderly Gullah woman, unless you like knots in your head.
So I ask in all the pomposity of a Hollywood director if she lived on Baygall Road or Baygull Road because people were calling it by both names. And she said: “I don’t care what y’all call it.”