Date: Fri, 29 Jul 1994 15:38:21 CDT From: Mike Picone Subject: Re: Forrest Gump No, I guess I'm not really ready for Tinsel Town isoglosses, though I imagine it could be an interestinng study for anyone who wanted to devote time to it. Interesting to the extent that it reveals how certain varietal features become prominent for indexing purposes and then are imitated in grossly inaccurate ways. Or, conversely, their presence in prestige varieties or in one's one variety is totally ignored. For example, though double modals are ubiquitous down here, I don't ever recall hearing any actor incorporate one into Hollywood Southern. I just think it would be lost on most Yankees who haven't indexed this and would just interpret it to be a mistake or a repetition. Like the time Clinton said "might could" during one of the debates. I'm sure it just flew right by. Well, I guess I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know, so I'll depart from this exchange after one last comment. Something that comes back to mind, what with all these movie titles mentioned with links to the South, are the comments of some drama students that I overheard at a campus play a few months ago. They were comparing notes on relative success in supressing their Alabama speech traits so that they could make it in acting. One had already decided that it was impossible and that she would opt for a career in stage design in order to be able to stay close to the theater. So, my question is (but I already know the answer), why can't some of these people be given a chance to shine when it comes to casting that `Southern' role? It happens so rarely (Sissy Spakek in Coal Miner's Daughter) I'm talking about serious roles, mind you, not Hee Haw foddor. They no longer keep African-Americans confined to minstrel comedy (if it can be dignified with the name comedy) but they let them play themselves. So, though white actors don't dare don black face, non Southern actors think nothing of doing an atrocious parody of Southern speech and behavior. I don't want to take anything away from Robin Wright's performance in Forrest Gump--I think she showed a lot of talent--but I can't help myself from thinking of these aspiring Alabama actresses that I overheard who will likely never have a chance at their day in the sun. Maybe it's no big deal; we'd probably all be a lot better off if we payed less attention, not more, to the Tinsel. But as long as we were on the subject.... Mike Picone (Yankee-born, in case you're wondering) University of Forrest Gump