Welcome to my shanty. Drop by any time. I bet you’ll like my redneck paradise.
— Kid Rock
Dear Hollywood (and points north):
A few facts about the people of the rural South that you obviously are not aware of:
1. We have running water and electricity.
2. We have been well-versed in the art of using indoor plumbing facilities for quite some time now.
3. We do not need subtitles to understand what’s being said when we converse. (That point might be argued, conversely, if you’d listen closely to the folks from, say, Southern California, Boston or Brooklyn.)
4. We are aware that such activities as moonshining, cooking meth and dealing dope — that you seem to revel in and glorify as a form of high entertainment — are illegal. We do not engage in such activities ... at least not openly.
5. The overwhelming majority of us would not willingly consider putting our heads, hands or any other body part anywhere near the mouth of an alligator.
6. Most of us who marry do so in churches by exchanging solemn vows, and we not only dress up and host refined receptions afterward, we go to places like the Caribbean and even New York on our honeymoons.
Just thought someone should point these things out to you, since you’re obviously unaware of such goings-on south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Southerners (and that includes plenty of honest-to-God rednecks, not the Beverly Hillbilly-like buffoons you coach on your phony TV shows)
Not that the entertainment industry would ever exploit a stereotype or anything, but I know I’m not the only Southerner who’s not only offended at the spate of trash “reality” shows set in the South that currently pollutes the airwaves, but I’m one of millions who wouldn’t waste two minutes of my time watching the put-on “redneck” antics by the likes of those zany “Bayou Billionaires” or the sickeningly annoying “Honey Boo Boo” or the brainless brides and grooms getting ready for their “Big Redneck Wedding.”
Used to be “redneck” was a derogatory term, stirring up visions of ignorant laborers working in the hot Southern sun. Now the term is a euphemism for gun-loving, liquor-swilling, ignorant-talking, rebel flag-waving, minority-hating, unclean and uncouth clods the country over. (Of course, throw in the term “money-loving” and double up on the gun-loving and minority-hating and that description also fits most of the Republicans serving in our country’s Congress these days. Hmmm.)
Being among the great Southern unwashed is big business these days. In addition to CMT’s aforementioned “Billionaires” and “Redneck Wedding,” other similarly-themed series polluting America’s cable TV wasteland include “Duck Dynasty” on A&E, “Swamp People” (The History Channel ... huh?!), “Buckwild” (MTV), “Rocket City Rednecks” (National Geographic ... wow!), “Hillbilly Handfishin’” (Animal Planet), “Lady Hoggers” (A&E), “Moonshiners” (Discovery) and perhaps the most egregious one-two punch of embarrassment to Southern pride since the heyday of Two Live Crew: CMT’s “Redneck Island” and TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
At least CMT, which primarily promotes country music, after all, can be given something of a pass. But The History Channel? National Geographic? A&E? The Learning Channel?
Seems what The Learning Channel is teaching these days is that Southerners are a simple lot doing stupid things much to the delight and entertainment of the cultured folks to the north and west. Kinda like watching animals at the zoo, but with subtitles and stuff blowing up.
Non-Southerners, who already suffer from an unjustified superiority complex, revel in the simplicity and stupidity of all those Southern rednecks, secure in the knowledge that their heightened intellect and quaint customs (group swimming in icy waters, finding imaginative ways to hide contraband while serving as a border-crossing drug mule, leaking your own special brand of video anyone?) make them much more refined examples of the human animal.
To which, we might offer a gentle reminder: Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and those dufuses on “Jersey Shore” are all on y’all.
Oh, and to make that plain, subtitles featuring a couple of your made-up catchphrases you enjoy putting in your characters’ mouths: Us Southerners may have to Chute ’em if those Yankees don’t redneckognize.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.