I like Oxford American. Lots of people say it’s the New Yorker of the South, which is to say that some of its elegant, long-form pieces brim with Southern hospitality. The voices are polished, engaging. “Come on in,” they seem to say.
Well, hurricane season winding down, and so Katrina and New Orleans are out of the headlines again, but the most recent issue of the magazine offers poignant stories about how the city is coming back.
Check out this lovely account of a first year teacher who uses Lil Wayne songs to connect with his students.
Once I witnessed a group of students huddled around a speaker listening to Lil Wayne. They had heard these songs before, but were nonetheless gushing and guffawing over nearly every line. One of them, bored and quiet in my classroom, was enthusiastically, if vaguely, parsing each lyric for his classmates: “You hear that? Cleaner than a virgin in detergent. Think on that.”
Pulling out the go-to insult of high schoolers everywhere, a girl nearby questioned their sexuality. “Y’all be in to Lil Wayne so much you sound like girls,” she said.
They just kept listening. Then one of the boys was simply overtaken by a lyrical turn. He stood up, threw up his hands, and began hollering. “I don’t care!” he shouted. “No homo, no homo, but that boy is cute!”