‘This Is Target!’
Posted on 12.05.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:04 pm

If you’re a manager at a Target department store and deliver a rousing pep talk to your staff before the store opens on Black Friday …

… you may be an enlightened redneck. The entertaining redneck in this case is Scott Simms, a manager at the Target in Westminster, Md. His colleague Chole Frebertshauser captured the pep talk on film, and it’s making the rounds via YouTube to the tune of nearly 2.5 million views as of now.


Filed under: Business and Holidays and Movies and Social Media and Video
Comments: None

The Truth About ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’
Posted on 12.02.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:13 pm

I penned these words 15 years ago after a national tragedy. I’m sharing them now because they remain relevant, albeit to another tragedy:

When tragedy strikes, the human spirit yearns for comfort, a seed of hope to soothe the shattered soul. When tragedy strikes the young, that yearning is all the more unrelenting in its quest for closure. The spirit will not rest until it can find some good in the evil of this world.

Such was the case after the April 20 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. And in the wake of that inexplicable rampage was born the myth of Cassie Bernall — a myth that today begs the question of whether Americans are capable of telling the truth in the face of tragedy.

Bernall’s name may not be familiar to the masses, but her story certainly is. She is … the 17-year-old girl shot to death when “She Said ‘Yes’” to a gun-toting schoolmate who asked if she believed in God. She is the martyr whose death made some sense of a senseless crime.

This time around, the myth involves a suspected criminal rather than an innocent victim, but it still won’t die. The myth is that Michael Brown was surrendering with his hands up and said “don’t shoot” when Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot him to death. Sensational coverage of the Aug. 9 shooting has fueled that myth ever since, and it is now considered unassailable gospel truth in some quarters.

Those quarters include, most notably, the National Football League stadium in the metropolis where the shooting occurred and Capitol Hill. The hands-up gesture is the rallying cry of Brown’s defenders, be they part of an official group like Hands Up United, talking heads in the media or the outraged masses on Twitter.

Remind them of the truth — that the claim of Brown raising his hands as a show of submission to law enforcement was at best suspect — and they explain it away like this:

It was the players’ way of signaling solidarity with the thousands … who have protested a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. And it was the kind of peaceful statement that should be part of the public discourse after a wrenching, divisive event. (The Boston Globe)

Or, in the words of protester Taylor Gruenloh: “Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry. It’s just a metaphor.”

But eloquent protests to the contrary, the truth does matter. Metaphors that perpetuate lies — whether they involve a young, white girl like Cassie Bernall or a young, black man like Michael Brown — breed cynicism and thus deepen the wounds they aim to heal.

That’s why Charles Barkley, a black man and former professional athlete who can identify with both Brown and five St. Louis Rams who thrust their hands in the air on Sunday, lashed out at irresponsible journalists who help spread deceitful metaphors. “I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore,” he said. “And, that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore because they love this stuff and lead people to jump to conclusions.”

Sports writer John Walters cut to the chase in a Newsweek column: “The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, failed to indict one police officer; the proliferation of hands up, don’t shoot indicts all of them. To get justice, you must start with the truth.”


Filed under: Culture and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports
Comments: None

Redneck Teeth For Sale
Posted on 11.22.14 by Danny Glover @ 6:48 pm

This ad from an 1852 issue of the Wheeling newspaper certainly doesn’t help refute a familiar redneck stereotype about West Virginians.

It’s my first find from the online archive of old newspapers available at the Library of Congress. I foresee many hours of historical reading in my future.


Filed under: History and Media and Redneck Humor and Rednecks and West Virginia
Comments: None

How To Lead Drunken College Students
Posted on 11.21.14 by Danny Glover @ 3:40 pm

West Virginia University has an excellent leader in E. Gordon Gee. He’s currently only on tap to fill the job for a couple of years, but he’s showing himself to be just the kind of administrator the university needs in a challenging time.

I was skeptical earlier this year of WVU’s decision to bring him back to a job he held early in his career. It seemed like WVU was looking backward instead of forward. Gee also has a history of running his mouth in ways that reflect poorly on him and the schools he has led.

But Gee has won me over. He still has the fun-loving character of a young man, as evidenced by his tweet when ESPN’s College Game Day visited Morgantown, W.Va., in October.

Yet he has exercised the kind of wisdom that only comes with age — and perhaps from having learned from his own mistakes. Gee understands that, in the words of King Solomon, there is “a time to tear apart and a time to sew together, a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

His statement today, issued after a WVU student’s recent death in an alcohol-related incident at a fraternity, is an excellent example. I like this message in particular:
(more…)


Filed under: Education and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: None

The National Firearms Anthem
Posted on 10.24.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:01 am

This here is real redneck talent:


Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Music and Video
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The Enlightened OECD vs. Redneck America
Posted on 10.07.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:54 pm

Hey, West Virginia is movin’ up in the world. The Mountain State bested not only Mississippi but also Alabama and Arkansas on a list of worst places to live based on factors such as health, education, jobs, technology and the environment.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development assigned the ratings. West Virginia scored a 52.2 out of 100 overall, putting it fourth from the bottom. Courtesy of a redneck-hating writer at The Washington Post, here’s the breakdown by category and on a 1-10 scale:

  • Politically engaged: 1.3 (50th)
  • Health: 1.8 (48th)
  • Safety: 4.5 (22nd place)
  • Job opportunities: 5.8 (45th)
  • High-speed Internet: 6 (43rd)
  • Clean environment: 6.6 (39th, tied with Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri)
  • Earn a living: 7.6 (43rd, tied with New Mexico and South Carolina)
  • Best educated: 8.6 (39th, tied with North Carolina and Tennessee)
  • Finding a home: 10 (one of 15 states with the top score)

That last one is the only bright spot for we hillbillies, but of course, we could have told you our state is a perfect 10 for places to call home. Now ask any of us whether we care what the elitist snobs at the OECD and the Post think of our state.

All of their brains put together are incapable of comprehending the intangible factors that make the redneck region of America, and especially West Virginia, the best place to live.


Filed under: Business and Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and Technology and West Virginia
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Redneck Marketing
Posted on 09.07.14 by Danny Glover @ 11:07 pm

This sales pitch is on display along Route 7 in West Virginia, a few miles from my home.

Who needs a billboard and fancy graphics when you can keep it simple on the side of a shed? I guess the lease attempt was a bust.


Filed under: Just For Laughs and Photography and Redneck Humor and West Virginia
Comments: None

Ryan Reilly’s Rubber Bullets
Posted on 08.17.14 by Danny Glover @ 3:43 pm

After watching a contentious election season back in 2008, I thought bloggers across the political spectrum might like to blow off some steam, so I tried to organize a friendly but potentially painful round of paintball for bloggers in the Washington, D.C., area. Here’s how I pitched it:

I have this crazy idea for bringing together bloggers of all colors — red, blue and purple — after this tension-filled partisan election season: Give them guns and let them shoot paint at each other!

Don’t like conservatives? Paint ‘em blue. Can’t stand liberals? Paint ‘em red. Just wish everyone would get along? Paint ‘em all purple. Add a mainstream media team with green paintballs (it’s all about the money in the MSM), and it could get really fun!

The response to the invitation was telling. Some conservatives bloggers expressed interest in the idea right away, but there were no takers on the left.

The most amusing feedback came from a liberal journalist who said he wasn’t interested because “I hate violence, even the sublimated kind.” That’s the psychobabble way of saying paintballers don’t just wanna have fun. They’re really expressing a desire to engage in bad behavior “by changing it into a form that is socially acceptable.”

It’s that kind of elitist ignorance of redneck culture that leads to embarrassing incidents like this:

That’s right, a Huffington Post reporter whose beat is to cover the police can’t tell the difference between earplugs like my wife wears to drown out my snoring and the rubber bullets that officers regularly use for riot control.

He rightly became the subject of ridicule on Twitter, where readers sarcastically asked him to confirm the identity of other weapons:
(more…)


Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Media and News & Politics and Photography and Rednecks and Social Media
Comments: None

Busted For Being A Good Driver
Posted on 08.05.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:09 pm

A few weeks ago, a policeman in my home town pulled me over for speeding. He graciously gave me a warning after telling me I had five points on my license and he didn’t want to ding me again.

I appreciated him giving me a break, but his contention that I had a bad driving record bothered me. I haven’t been ticketed in two decades, and the points I had on my license back then (some for speeding and the rest for causing an accident when I made a blind left turn) should have been expunged long ago.

I finally remembered to call the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles today to explore the disconnect between what I knew to be true and what the officer in the speed trap told me. The answer: I have five “safe points” on my license, which the Old Dominion issues each year you go without any traffic infractions. You can’t accumulate any more than five safe points, so in the state of Virginia’s eyes, I’m currently a perfect driver.

Someone needs to alert small-town cops in West Virginia who like to lurk just inside their town borders to bust unsuspecting drivers right after they cross into lower speed zones. I realize that each state handles licensing differently, but it disturbs me that the officer who stopped me couldn’t tell the difference between a driver with a good record and a bad one when he searched the database.

That kind of ignorance could easily fuel an abuse of authority in the wrong circumstances. I’m actually surprised the officer didn’t ticket me once he found out I had what he thought were bad points on my license because before he searched, I told him I hadn’t been ticketed in 20 years. Had I been in his shoes, I might have pegged me as a liar.

In this case, the points worked in my favor. The officer was in a generous mood and gave me a warning because he didn’t want to make life miserable for a presumably nice guy like me. If my record had been blank, he might have decided I could afford a few points — and a fine that would help bolster the department budget.

I suppose I should be grateful and just shut my virtual mouth. But I can’t help but wonder how a policeman in a bad mood or on a power trip could use bad information as an excuse for unjust punishment. Ignorance is a dangerous thing in law enforcement.


Filed under: Government and West Virginia
Comments: 16 Comments

Married In A Barn
Posted on 08.04.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:24 pm

There’s a bit of role reversal happening in the heartland of America. Enlightened city dwellers have discovered all that is right with the country and want a taste of it, but the rednecks who live there want none of their trendy attention.

The rednecks are so determined to keep the interlopers out that they’re turning on their own. Many people gravitate toward rural lives in part because they don’t want nib-nose neighbors setting limits on what they do with their own property. Now the folks down the road are the busybodies.

Ironically, all this conflict revolves around what should be one of the happiest events in life — a couple’s wedding. Here are excerpts from a New York Times piece about barn weddings:

For legions of young couples, there is no wedding venue more desirable than a barn in the country, with its unfussy vibe, picturesque setting and rural authenticity. For neighbors of the wedding barns, it is a summer-long agony.

… In rural areas across the country, residents have protested that some barn owners flout zoning rules requiring that they operate only as agricultural enterprises. Unlike other businesses, the barns are often not inspected to ensure that they are up to code, and many lack proper sanitation, fire doors and sprinklers, accommodations for people with disabilities and licenses to serve liquor.

I find the hullabaloo all rather amusing. Odds are good that at least some of the people who can afford to pay thousands of dollars for a barn wedding are among the ranks of elitists who look down their noses at the rubes who call flyover country home.

My favorite part of the story is this: “Grooms and brides say the barns are part of a cultural shift away from traditional weddings. At a typical barn wedding, formal china and glassware are out, in favor of carefully mismatched plates and Mason jars for sipping cocktails. Guests nibble casual fare like grilled corn on the cob and barbecued pork. If the weather cooperates, the evening often ends with people gathering around a bonfire and toasting s’mores under the stars.”

It reminds me of a 1986 hit by Huey Lewis & the News but with a redneck twist: It’s hip to be hick. Just beware that don’t stay long enough to get country cooties all over you.


Filed under: Culture and Human Interest and Rednecks
Comments: None

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