The idea that any ol' d-bag with recording equipment could venture into the South and probably emerge with recordings that are solid gold is hardly new.

In the early part of the 20th century, a guy named Alan Lomax did just that and ended up building one of the all-time great collections of folk music. Wikipedia, which has been proven to be even more accurate than actual print encyclopedias, describes it as "a highly regarded treasure trove of American and international culture."

To think, it might not have existed, if someone wouldn't have thought to go down there and gather it.

These days, as depicted in the brilliant film Hustle and Flow, most southerners are sophisticated enough to record their own music. The quality might not be the best in the world, but the music's usually not that good anyway.

However, as we've seen in the past few weeks, obnoxious music is not all the South has to offer. No, that's far from it. Thanks to newfangled technology such as blogs and YouTube, we're now witnessing a huge increase in documentation of what could very well be the South's true gift to popular culture: for lack of a better term, retard theater.

My favorite example of this so far has been the MC battle, captured on video for posterity, between this guy named Envy and the greatest rapper of all time, Eli Porter.

In the controversial battle, Envy went first and took some low blows at Eli Porter, who clearly suffers from some of physical deformity. (Though obviously it hasn't hindered his ability to come up with some of the greatest raps of all time.) Then Eli Porter, who was obviously caught off guard by this, went into some sort of zone, in which he came up with some rhymes that were so retarded, they were actually kinda brilliant. And I don't mean that in the way that white kids, who obviously resent their place in hip-hop culture, will often purposely refer to awful rap music as brilliant just to spite black people. I mean, actually brilliant.

A few weeks ago, some modern day Alan Lomax thought to upload it to YouTube. And the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, not only has the original clip been viewed upwards of half a million times, it's also spawned several pages worth of remixes and parodies. There's even an Eli Porter mixtape floating around.

Perhaps the most disturbing artifact of retard theater to emerge to date is the video of a bipolar girl, who's since become known as Soulja Girl, going off on an old lady on a train down in Atlanta.

For what it's worth, we don't know what the old lady might have said or done to prompt Soulja Girl to go off like that. As the video begins, she's already begun her tirade. First she ask if anyone like for her to call Young Jeezy to have him assassinate George W. Bush. (Would it be illegal for me to say yes?) Then she does this ridonkulous Soulja Boy freestyle in this poor old lady's face. Then, when she spots some guy who she thinks might have once raped her, she goes over and attacks him, but then he snatches some of her raggedy-ass weave off of her head, which calms her down enough that she can at least get off of the train and go harass someone else.

I would've been tempted to do even worse, but you guys know I possess a fundamental lack of respect for black women.

Similar to the greatest MC battle of all time, the video of the incident eventually found its way to YouTube, where it's become a huge phenomenon and spawned its own subculture, so to speak. However, unlike the mysterious and elusive Eli Porter, someone did eventually end up catching up with Soulja Girl: the motherfucking police.

Also in trouble with the law lately has been what has to be the gulliest seven year-old since the days of Myanmar rebel leaders Johnny and Luther Htoo (I hope they're okay - I know there was an earthquake over there or some shit), perhaps even more so: Latarian "Real Talk" Milton.

The other day, he took his grandmother's SUV on a joyride, in which he ran over several mailboxes and hit several cars in a mall parking lot, before eventually crashing the truck into sign or some such. Fortunately, he's hardbody enough that he was able to walk away unscathed. His grandma's SUV, meanwhile, is fucked the fuck up. (Though fortunately, he's gonna see if he can't get his mom, who may or may not exist, to help pay for it.) Afterwards, a local news crew caught up with Latarian in the parking lot of his grandma's shitty apartment complex, in which he regaled them with heroic tales of his of his joyride and described for them his philosophy on life. Namely, the fact that it's fun to do bad things.

Amen, young brother.

I consulted Google just now, and, wouldn't you know, the news segment on Latarian "Real Talk" Milton has spawned at least one remix video, as well as its own YTMND. What's more, just yesterday, there was another, arguably even more hilarious incident involving young Latarian, in which he beat the shit out of his grandma in a Wal-Mart, because she refused to buy him some chicken wings. I wrote about it just now on my own site. So this could be just the very beginning of huge litany of such incidents.

Keep in mind, the guy's just seven years old. He's not even physically developed to the point where that much real damage. (For example, you could tell his grandma was still reeling from her vicious ass beating, but she wasn't laid the fuck out like Suge Knight.) Also, keep in mind the fact that all three of these hilarious videos have just hit the Internets in the past few weeks. And something tells me this isn't evidence of some wave of idiocy that's just come over the South. No, for all we know, this shit might have always been going on down there, and we're just now learning about it, thanks to the gift of technology.

What do you southern gentlemen think? Is life down South really just one huge episode of Cops, or is it just a coincidence that these hilarious videos keep turning up on YouTube? Speak on it.