Renaissance men

Posted by R. Berg on February 19, 2002

In Reply to: Now that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish posted by Word Camel on February 19, 2002

: : : : : Could anyone help my out with the origin of the word 'Bubba' (American) and what it eaxctly means or under what circumstances is it used.

: : : : Bubba is a variation of the word "bub" which means brother. Bubba is used in the American South where it's used as a familiar form of address. "Hey, bubba, how are you today?". In my experience, it was often used as a term of affection for an older man.

: : : : It's also used by people from the North to refer to Southern men in a derogatory way, "They were just a bunch of bubbas.", meaning they were backwards, parochial, poorly educated and probably racist. When used like this, the meaning is close to "good ole boy."

: : : : Maybe ESC and some of the other Southerners here can help with this.

: : : : Camel

: : : It will probably take a Texan to give the definitive word: Texans like to think of it as their own word, an exemplar of Texas culture. I'm sure Molly Ivans has an essay or two on the subject.

: : BUBBA -- "Bubba, chiefly among blacks in the South, is a term of address meaning 'brother' and is used by friends as well as relatives. But reference works generally fail to note that the word is also commonly used to mean a white Southerner. An essay in the 'New York Times' by Molly Ivins put it this way: 'In theory, the battle for Southern voters revolves around the stereotypical white Southerner, usually known as 'Bubba,' who is partial to country music and conservative politics. But as Presidential politics move into the states of the Confederacy, the biggest question about Bubba may not be how he will vote but how to find him." From Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions by Robert Hendrickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1993).

: : Now, about me being Southern. I'm originally from the mountains of southern West Virginia. But we don't consider ourselves from the South. For one thing, it's too darn cold in the mountains. We don't drink sweet ice tea and we don't cook grits. We do eat biscuits but don't smother them in gravy. West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the Civil War. But there were people in the area fighting for the North and people, loyal to Virginia, fighting for the South. Literally brother against brother. We didn't have many slaveowners in the area. We had big families instead. But the Rebs and the Yankees fought back and forth in our part of the state and we got drug into the action.

: Or possibly a horse of a different colour. Sorry I got it wrong. Renaissance men always throw me - hard to tell where they are from. West Virginia is lovely. I have spent a lot of time just over the border in Eastern Kentucky. Thanks for the "bubba" notes.

: Camel

Now, about ESC being a "Renaissance man"--oh, never mind, I'll let her tell it.