As Southern as a Mid-Priced Rye Whiskey

Published:April 24, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

From the poem “First Families, Move Over!” by Ogden Nash that appeared in the New Yorker on November 16, 1935:

Carry me back to Ole Virginny,
And there I’ll meet a lot of people from New York.
There the Ole Massa of the Hounds is from Smithtown or Peapack of Millbrook,
And the mocking bird makes music in the sunshine accompanied by the rattling shaker and the popping cork.

All up and down the old plantation
Socialites are riding hell-for-leather like witches and warlocks,
And there is only one thing that keeps the squirearchy from being a genuine reproduction,
Which is that the peasantry’s hair is kinky, so they haven’t any forelocks, so they can’t tug their forelocks.

[…]

So please somebody carry me back to Ole Virginny,
Where gentlemen are gentlemen and a lady is known by the product she endorses,
Where the atmosphere is as Southern as an advertisement for a medium-priced rye whiskey,
And where the Virginians from Virginia have to ride automobiles because the Virginians from Long Island are the only ones who can afford to ride horses.

IMAGE: An advertisement for Hunter Baltimore Rye whiskey from the same issue of the New Yorker