January 23, 2013

Flagpole Favorites & Jim Cobb, Too

Pub Notes

Vote Now for Athens Favorites

OK, folks, it’s time to vote for your favorite Athens restaurants, stores, bars, services, etc. You can do it right here online at Just click on the colorful “bug” and get started. This is your chance to recognize the places that make up your Athens, and believe me, they appreciate it. It means a lot to a business to be publicly recognized for what they do, and “favorite” plaques are always prominently displayed at the recognized businesses. This is a serious endeavor, but it’s a lot of fun, too, to be reminded of the places you like and to get the opportunity to give them a pat on the back, a leg up, a salute. Flagpole’s Athens Favorites 2013 is your opportunity to give a shout out to the places that make Athens Athens, and all you need to enter is your own opinions, your own tastes, your own favorites. It takes a little time, because the list is long, and there are a lot of categories. But it’s easy, and you’ll find it enjoyable to recall all the places that have given you so much pleasure during the year. Make your voice heard! Vote now. Help award the plaques to your own favorites, but, you know, hurry: the deadline is Feb. 6.

Hear the Ol’ Bloviator


Jim Cobb

Flagpole readers know Jim Cobb as the author of the occasional column and blog, “Cobbloviate,” his humorously, self-deprecatingly titled venue for rants, generally about politics and usually having to do with issues pertinent to the South. Those who make it to the end of “Cobbloviate” have also no doubt noticed in the identifying tag line that Cobb is “The B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in the History of the South at UGA.”

That’s not an empty title. It’s an endowed chair named in honor of the historian and community activist who fought, financed and charmed on behalf of preserving Athens when all of it was in danger of being torn down for “progress.”

Cobb, who is not one of “those” Cobbs, is in many ways the antithesis of Spalding, who was one of “those” Spaldings. Cobb grew up on a one-tractor dirt farm in Hart County, GA, finished the public schools there and then came over here to the university and didn’t leave until he had earned his doctorate. Since then, he has distinguished himself with his publications and his teaching at prominent institutions around the South, including the University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee, before coming back to his alma mater.

Now, you have the opportunity to hear Cobb speak, as the leadoff hitter in the prestigious new Global Georgia Initiative, a series of lectures organized by UGA's Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts (where former Flagpole News Editor Dave Marr is now in charge of public relations). “Its goal is to present global problems in a local context by addressing pressing contemporary questions—including the economy, society and the environment—with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene.”

Cobb is a great choice to start this series, because he is serious as grits about the history of the South and has devoted his life to unremitting hard, lonely, illuminating work, yet he doesn’t take himself too seriously. In other words, though he is the consummate scholar, he is not a pedant, so you should not be scared by his title: “Demystifying Dixie: Southern History and Culture in Global Perspective.” If you show up for this free, inaugural lecture, you are guaranteed to learn something about the South and the world and enjoy doing it, with refreshments afterward.

The fun takes place in the Chapel on campus at 4 p.m. this Tuesday, Jan. 29. Flagpole is a sponsor, and I get to introduce Cobb.