Some Americans are so irrational that they fear fellow humans just because they work in blue-collar jobs or like the National Rifle Association. People who don’t think the way they do, embrace the causes they hold dear or even eat at the fancy restaurants they like are “white trash” worthy of scorn.
USA Today columnist Glenn Reynolds shared a few recent anecdotes and quotes to illustrate this phobia, all of them in response to the election of Donald Trump as president:
As Reynolds notes, this kind of class bigotry isn’t new in America. It’s actually older than the country, as documented in great detail last year by historian Nancy Isenberg in the book “White Trash.” It is a dry read at times, but the stories in it are remarkable, in part because they stretch over hundreds of years.
The current angst among America’s elite shows that nothing has changed. Ironically, this new wave of narrow-mindedness started with the political ascension of a billionaire celebrity named Trump.
Filed under: Books and Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and History and News & Politics and People and Rednecks
For years the speech police have been pressuring Washington’s professional football franchise to change the name of its team from Redskins to something that isn’t “offensive” to American Indians. Team owners past and present have ignored the outcry, but back in June a federal judge voided the Redskins trademark.
That led to an interesting legal brief from the Redskins organization this week as it appeals the ruling. The team challenged the notion that the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board can overturn a brand name because it is “disparaging.”
Rednecks get a shout-out in one section of the brief. It rebuts the claim that the government’s continued allowance of the Redskins mark could be interpreted as an endorsement of the term.
The team’s lawyers make their point by listing several other potentially offensive terms the trademark board has approved. “Redneck Army Apparel” is right there in the middle of them.
That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone as enlightened as a big-city lawyer admit that “redneck” is a disparaging word. Granted, the Redskins legal team is arguing that entrepreneurial Americans should be free to use brand their products with a stamp of redneck approval, but at least there is an implication that “redneck” just might be a slur, depending on the context. That’s progress.
On the other hand, “redneck” may be a moneymaker. I entered the word into the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s search system, and it generated 649 results. “Hillbilly” and other similarly disparaging terms make appearances, too.
The takeaway from this stroll through the bureaucracy: Sometimes it pays to be offensive, whether you own a football team or just have a marketing gimmick geared toward rednecks.
Filed under: Business and Government and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and Rednecks and Sports
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Kaitlen Whitt is about as enlightened as they come from an intellectual perspective. She has a degree in English and taught the language in Bulgaria while on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. She has traveled to more than 40 countries. She has contributed to the Traveling 219 multimedia project and Allegheny Mountain Radio. And she makes and sells jewelry.
But Whitt hasn’t always been proud of her redneck roots in West Virginia. By her own admission, she saw it as “a dumping ground full of uncultured, uneducated, unfriendly, and uncouth people” and wanted to “rise above a home that I understood as a prison.”
Thankfully, her success at escaping the state and packing a lifetime of adventures into a few short years has given her fresh perspective. Whether she realizes it yet or not, Whitt’s journey to true enlightenment helped her see that being redneck isn’t so bad after all.
Here’s an excerpt from her “love letter to West Virginia” documenting that journey:
I’ve always been proud to be from West Virginia, and the stereotypes about it simply reinforce my love of it. In that sense I don’t get why Whitt once seemed to resent her roots. But she is now an eloquent spokeswoman for the place we both consider home. I’m glad to have her in the enlightened redneck fold.
Filed under: Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and People and Redneck Humor and Rednecks and West Virginia
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While we’re on the subject of politically correct vengeance against all things supposedly offensive, there is now a satirical petition at Change.org that exposes the ridiculousness of the movement. It calls on the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel to change its name and logo.
“I say all of us European Americans start protesting C****er Barrel,” the petition says. “It uses an offensive slur and it is deeply offensive and mocks our long and proud heritage. The name is offensive, [and] their logo stereotypes European Americans as people who sit on chairs and lean against what appears to be a bourbon barrel, claiming we are all a bunch of alcoholics.”
Although the petition is just a joke, a few years ago there was a more serious movement to “save the redneck” by exposing the frequent attacks on the only class of people still fair game for mockery without outrage in America. Cracker and redneck are just two of the terms of derision for this breed. Bumpkin, hayseed, hick, hillbilly, peckerwood, rube and yokel work, too.
But if you’re really intelligent — in this case a synonym for elitist — you can demean an entire region without using any of those words. All you have to do is disguise your scorn with a catchy headline like “How the South Skews America” and sell it to a sophisticated rag like Politico.
“Minus the South,” liberal propagandist Michael Lind wrote earlier this month, “the rest of the U.S. probably would be more like Canada or Australia or Britain or New Zealand — more secular, more socially liberal, more moderate in the tone of its politics and somewhat more generous in social policy. And it would not be as centralized as France or as social democratic as Sweden.”
A sizable population of Americans, not just those in the South, have no interest in becoming as secular or socially liberal as Canada, Australia or New Zealand, let alone the British we rebelled against. But with wacky insights like that, Lind could well be the brains behind the bigotry in the “C****er Barrel” branding.
Filed under: Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and History and Just For Laughs and Media and News & Politics and Rednecks
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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:
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
I remember the ancient time — back in my high school years — when nerds became the heroes of Hollywood plot lines. Movies and television shows celebrated the geeks who were scorned by the jocks, cheerleaders and other cool kids.
This helps explain why so many people embrace the “nerd” label these days. But as Charles Cooke explains at National Review Online, today’s nerd are pretenders. They have corrupted the word for political purposes, and they are the anti-type of Hollywood’s heroic dweebs, plagued by the very air of superiority the nerds in cinema resisted.
And who are the targets of their bigotry? Rednecks, of course. As Cooke says:
I was fortunate to find a happy medium in my youth. I was a “band baby” for two of my four years at Paden City High School and a “football animal” for one. I was never quite talented enough to get much playing time in any of the official school sports I tried, but I also wasn’t among the last people picked when I joined my peers for backyard football, pickup basketball and the like. I ranked among the top 10 percent of my small class but also opted to study to be an electrician at a vocational school rather than take college prep classes my junior and senior years.
I was part nerd and part jock. I enjoyed intellectual pursuits yet also appreciated the folksy wisdom of those who were educated at the University of Hard Knocks. In other words, I was — and am — an enlightened redneck. And that’s the worst nightmare of the Neil deGrasse Tysons of the world.
Filed under: Culture and Education and Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and Movies and People and Rednecks and Sports and West Virginia
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When elitists want to mock West Virginia, they typically resort to repeating ridiculous hillbilly stereotypes involving a lack of teeth, an affection for in-breeding or the absence of indoor plumbing. That last one is especially laughable in light of the news coming from the presumably prim and proper hallways of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Here’s the straight poop from Government Executive, a publication geared toward top officials in the federal government:
Yep, you read that right. The agency in charge of keeping America’s air clean can’t even keep the air — or the floors — in one of its own hallways fresh.
This disgusting behavior happens in the big city more often than redneck haters would care to admit. A “serial pooper” wreaked stinky havoc at a Washington, D.C., Metro station a few years ago, for instance.
The scatological news at the EPA also reminds me of the sign I saw inside a bathroom stall at U.N. headquarters back in 1999: “Gentlemen dispose of toilet paper properly. Let’s keep the restroom clean.” VIPs in New York shouldn’t need that pointer, but apparently they do.
Laugh all you want about imaginary outhouse aficionados in West Virginia. At least when our ancestors used them ages ago, they had enough sense to relieve themselves in a privy dedicated to that purpose rather than in public corridors.
Filed under: Culture and Government and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and West Virginia
You’ll never read this description of West Virginia (or any like it) in the media because it’s way more fun to mock stereotypical, imaginary rednecks than it is to report the boring reality of enlightened rednecks:
There’s more at the Gateway Connector blog in a post titled “The Real West Virginia,” including a short list of celebrities from the Mountain State such as premier college football coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban.
Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
If you’re an elite journalist, there are apparently only two ways to cover tragedy in West Virginia — ignore it or mock the people who are impacted by it. Both happened over the past few days as more than 100,000 residents of the Mountain State lost easy access to clean water, a resource that too many Americans take for granted.
The tragedy, officially declared a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week, occurred after a chemical plant near Charleston leaked a substance known as MCHM (short for 4-methylcyclohexane methanol) into the Elk River. As a result of the spill, people in nine surrounding counties were told not to drink, cook, bathe or wash clothes with water piped into their homes from that source.
Had this tragedy happened where I live now, in a Virginia suburb outside the nation’s capital, or in another major media center like New York, it would have been the top story in every major news outlet for days. But because it happened in my home state, nothing but a land of “Buckwild” hillbillies and rubes to many journalists in the big cities, it’s an afterthought.
Ironically, it took one big city journalist to make that point before anyone paid attention. Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post mocked the Sunday news shows for ignoring the West Virginia chemical spill.
More irony ensued when Detroit journalist Zlati Meyer decided the chemical spill was a good time to take a page from Jay Leno’s “Big Joke Book of Bigotry”. “#WestVirginia has its tainted water problem under ctrl. Now, it can work on incest,” she tweeted.
Yes, you heard that right. A journalist in Detroit, which these days is far more backward than West Virginia ever has been, albeit in a different way, got on her high horse to look down her nose at all those imaginary kissin’ cousins in the boondocks.
Meyer quickly deleted her tweet, no doubt because she caught so much justifiable heat for it. But it will live online forever as a testament to journalistic bias and ignorance.
Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
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It happened to Lewis Napper when he authored “The Bill of No Rights” back in the 1990s. Now, thanks to ongoing online chatter about the “Duck Dynasty” controversy over what the Bible says about homosexuality, it has happened to mega-church evangelist Rick Warren.
Warren is a celebrity in his own right, but Robertson is the man of faith in the news these days. And thanks to the popularity of an article about Robertson that included a famous Warren quote, a whole bunch of people think Robertson actually spoke these words of Warren’s:
The Christian Post asked Warren, “Why do you think people who call themselves Christians sometimes say the most hateful things about Muslims?” His insight into how Americans have perverted the meaning of the word “hate” was part of this answer to the Post’s question:
So how did Robertson end up being credited with the latter part of that quote? The path toward confusion began when the Christian-to-Muslim context in Warren’s answer faded amid the culture war over gay marriage.
Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and Religion
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