MANNERS: Those Good Ole Boys

The term has infiltrated the language, carrying nuances not found in Fowler's Modern English Usage, shadings understood instinctively by Southerners but often baffling to armchair linguists beyond the Mason-Dixon line. TIME Washington Correspondent Bonnie Angela, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., wrote this report on what is—and is not—a good ole boy.

It is Friday night at any of ten thousand watering holes of the small towns and crossroads hamlets of the South. The room is a cacophony of the ping-pong-dingdingding of the pinball machine, the pop-fizz of another round of Pabst, the...

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