Jed Barg- Lobster


When you go to New England, specifically Massachusetts or Maine, and you ask anyone what the most popular New England delicatessen is, they will immediately say Lobster. But why? One may think it’s simply because lobsters are abundant in the north Atlantic ocean near the east coast of the United States, which is true. However, wartime is actually what made Lobster the fancy, sought after dish that it is known as today. Because the economy was booming during the war, it allowed wealthy people to eat tons and tons of lobster constantly. Furthermore, this was a time when canned food was very popular and lobster meat was extremely easy to can. This allowed not only wealthy people to consume lobster but also soldiers that were overseas and in the United States. This was what I call the creation of the “lobster gap.” 

When you go to a city like Boston, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine you will notice that there are very fancy lobster restaurants as well as very dive-type restaurants that also sell steamed lobster and lobster rolls. While lobster is overall an expensive treat, it varies in the “fanciness” of consumption because of the split during wartime between canned lobster and extremely fancy lobster. This also led to the creation of the lobster roll, lobster salad, etc. Lobster became so popular that it was being thrown into everything! Just kidding, but a lot of things. These new food creations involving lobster allowed a larger population to consume it which is why it was made so popular. In fact, lobster has become such a staple of New England culture that when you walk into any given New-England-themed, tourist-trap gift shop (you will most likely find these in the bigger cities), it is a guarantee that you will see lobster keychains, lobster shirts, lobster hats, lobster statues, lobster pictures, etc. This is because lobster has, in one way or another, become the face of New England. 

Personally, I have had great experiences with lobster myself. The first time I ever ate lobster was at a restaurant in Cape May, New Jersey (another hotspot for lobster) and I LOVED IT. Not only was it super tasty, but it was also an experience. When one consumes lobster (this depends on the classiness of the restaurant, however, it is the way most people consume it), they are given a plastic bib as well as a “shell cracker” to crack the hard shell that houses the delightful lobster meat. You work your way through each of the claws and then eventually eat the tail (the most meat and the best part of the lobster) all with a side of warm, melted butter to dip it in. By the end of the meal if your face, hands, bib, and possibly pants are not smelling of lobster, you didn’t eat it correctly. I will never forget that day. The first time I went to New England to eat lobster however, was truly an experience. I had a lobster roll every day for lunch and steamed lobster every day for dinner! Never once was I disappointed by the quality. This proves my overall point that lobster is the lifeblood of the food industry in New England.



Study the South- Jed, Ha, Catherine

Study the South is an online journal that was founded in 2014 with the purpose of encouraging interdisciplinary academic thought and discourse on the American South and its vast culture. It was created in Oxford, Mississippi by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Currently, it is edited by James G, Thomas Jr., who is the associate director for publications at the Center. He is also known for editing various works that examine southern history, such as the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Along with Thomas, Study the South also has a ten member editorial board that examines all pieces before they are published. This board includes Ted Ownby, who was once the director of Mississippi’s Center for Study of Southern Culture. 

Study the South describes itself as a peer-reviewed, multimedia, online journal. It was created to encourage the discussion of different aspects of culture in the American South. The online journal features a range of topics in the south, including art, geography, history, literacy, and race studies. Since its main purpose is encouraging discussions on the south, it looks to feature more scholarly or academic works as opposed to popular ones. Anyone is allowed to submit a manuscript to be reviewed and possibly published by the journal, as long as the work had not been previously published elsewhere. Manuscripts are looked over by the editorial staff or board and are chosen to be accepted or rejected. Although it is only six years old, Study the South has been able to grow up to 1000 online readers. Most readers are scholars or students who have an interest in southern culture.

Since the journal is online, its website design is an important factor in keeping readers engaged. Study the South has a clean, simplistic design that uses black and white as its main colors. Most of the attention is given to the articles themselves because of this. Each one has the standard title, author, and publication date, but they are also given a photo to help give readers an idea of what it will be discussing. Each article is put in chronological order according to its publishing date in order to make viewing easier for readers. What makes Study the South unique is its simplicity in web design and its dedication to their original purpose. The website focuses the attention towards the articles which shows they stay true to their hopes of having more meaningful conversations about the American South. Study the South stays true to their origins by ensuring the information is what stays most important.

“Toward Freedom: A Reading of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice” written by Margaret Pless is a recent article published on the many symbols of racism. She focuses on many monuments and statues that honor the Confederates and major slave supporters. The many statues and monuments littered around the south embody white supremacy and many people refuse to see the racial issues that come with them. She emphasizes that “When Confederate monuments exalt white supremacy, they perpetuate our forgetfulness of these historical roots”, and history will repeat if the evil behind these statues are forgotten. The first half of the article focuses on the history of slavery and how many people forget about an important group during the Civil War. Not only did it include the Confederates that fought for their rights to own slaves and the Union that fought to stay unified, but also the enslaved African American that fought for their freedom. The second half of the article focuses on the National Memorial for Peace and Justice grounds situated in Montgomery, Alabama. This place features many monuments that represent the horrors of racism towards African Americans, starting with the transatlantic slave trade. For example, one section focuses on the heart of the memorial, a huge monument dedicated to victims of lynching. To summarize, this article focuses on the meaning behind monuments and the importance of showing history rather than honoring of Confederacy. 

Another recent article that was published to Study the South is called “Vanishing Acts: Civil Rights Reform and Dramatic Inversion in Douglas Turner Ward’s Day of Absence.” This article deals with the African American community and how Martin Luther King Jr.’s words inspired a dramatic play written by Douglas Turner Ward called Day of Absence. The play came out in 1965 in response to the 1964 decision regarding African American equal rights. The article states that “Ward creates a work concerned with figuring the value of Black labor through absenting the Black body” (Avilez). This is an extremely unique way to show the value of black life and labor to the white community at that time. The play “plays” off of the “exploration of civil rights concerns and provides the basis for dramatic inversions that critique social inequities.” (Avilez). This article, in conclusion, is a perfect example of how Study the South is constantly giving the spotlight to Southern related stories that may not have received the recognition they deserve. For example, as someone who has (and have been) performing and studying theatrical productions all of his life, I have never heard of or seen anything related to Days of Absence. That doesn’t change the fact that Days of Absence provides viewers with a wealth of information that is ridiculously important to the development of our world today. Study the South has allowed me (and so many others) to see important stories like this come to fruition. Study the South, in this respect, is NOT as much for the purpose of entertainment but more for the purpose of informing readers. This is why Study the South proves to be extremely important to the preservation and understanding of southern culture. 

Professor Michael Lee (Communication)

Professor Michael Lee is a Communications professor at the College of Charleston with a Ph.D. in Communication studies, an M.A. in Communication, and a B.A. in Political Science. Besides teaching courses that focus on public speaking, argumentation, persuasive managing, political campaigns, and media in politics as well as researching political branding and audience responsiveness in American politics, Professor Lee is also the director of graduate studies at the College of Charleston. As one can see, communications is a wide-range field of study. 

Professor Lee makes clear that Communications “as a field is quite diverse,” offering possibilities in many different types of work including marketing, media, advertising, PR work, and consumer research. So, when asked to define communications, Lee led me to the original definition of rhetoric (a sub-area he studied) explaining it “as the faculty of observing the means of persuasion in any particular case. To drive this point even further, Lee stated that from his teaching, he wants his students “to become better arguers.” He says, “I hope that they’ll be more attuned to making precise arguments with plausible evidence, and I hope they’ll demand precise arguments with plausible evidence from others.”

Through communications, Lee is directly involved in Southern Studies personally and professionally. His personal connection to the south grew strongly in his time at the University of Georgia where he discovered college debate, which was the spark that became a wildfire of interest in communications for Professor Lee. In fact, he went on to write a book called Creating Conservatism: Postwar Worlds that Made an American Movement that deals with the postwar growth of conservatism and conservative politics. When asked what he wants his readers to take away from the book, Lee said, “I hoped that readers would understand that the growth of conservatism as a movement was tied to 10 or so key books all written after World War II.  I wanted readers to understand that the key words and phrases of conservative politics are directly tied to several sacred texts.” Because of the book’s immense success, Lee has spoken about his findings at top-of-the-line Universities such as University of Richmond, MIT, and University of Minnesota (where he earned his Ph.D.).

Becoming a successful communications academic is not only about hard work. Success in all fields comes to those who put in the work AND attempt every day, to the best of their ability, to enjoy life with a fine set of morals. Lee exhibits both of these extremely important factors and attempts to instill them in his students as well. To prove this, I asked Professor Lee what he pushes his students to achieve, and he said, “ I’d like them to enjoy their lives and make the world a little better at the same time.”

As an extra, interesting piece of this blog post, I decided to have Professor Lee choose one of his favorite quotes. He responded with a very timely and telling George Orwell quote: “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”