At what point did redneck become chic?

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

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 carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


RedEric 2 years, 10 months ago

Why is it Liberals cannot get through anything without a stab at conservatives? You forgot one euphemism for republicans.....productive. Most of the things liberals do, if they do anything, cannot be packaged and sold overseas, movies excepted. liberals run charities, government agencies, save the whale/tree/owl efforts. They inherit money and are ashamed of the way it was made, but they won't give it up. They also like to tell people how to think


waltspecht 2 years, 10 months ago

Funny, wasn't one of the largest and strongest chapters of the Klan in the County of Queens in New York City at one time? I believe it was in the late fifties or early sixties. I do believe that while I was growing up in the North Country I knew just as many Rednecks as I know right now after thirty-two years living here and seven years in Charleston, SC. Many even more prejudiced than those I know around here I might add. As to the shows, whatever folks want, and is cheap to produce and produce high profits. It goes to the overall dumbing down of the American People.


Tonto 2 years, 10 months ago

Great, take issue with an unfair/uniformed sterotype and then slide your own into the story as if that is the one exception to the rule.


whattheheck 2 years, 10 months ago

Carlton, you forgot to mention that most of us also don't have sex with animals anymore! Next we will likely get a show called "Trail of Tears" where folks put in their teeth and get a free trip to see where their mobile home was manufactured.


gotanyfacts 2 years, 10 months ago

Carlton bemoans the entertainment industry's promotion of these negative southern stereotypes and then repeats a negative stereotype, equally inaccurate and dishonest: that "most of the Republicans serving in our country’s Congress" are "minority-hating". I ask Carlton, “Where are your facts to support this accusation?” I don't believe he can, logically, argue for his claim. This picture of republicans and conservatives in general, has been created and promoted by the liberal news media. How else do you argue against people who believe those entering the country should do so legally and not benefit from being here illegally? It would be great if the media supported honest discussion of how to deal with such issues. But, for the most part, ideology trumps honesty and integrity. Carlton?


FryarTuk 2 years, 10 months ago

Fletch, how in the world do you get time to be familiar with all the television and movie garbage? I will say one element that differs in southern middle class and northern middle class cultures is the strong emphasis the north puts on quality education. The further south you travel the less quality and interest within the public at large to educate our people.


agirl_25 2 years, 10 months ago

I was the first of my very large Yankee Clan to ever actually settle in the south and officially become a "redneck" and think I am a very "chic" one...thankyouverymuch. The funniest thing one of my Yankee relatives ever asked me when one of them finally got up the nerve to actually visit me down south was "do you plant the peanut trees every year"...as he was looking out across our acres and acres of peanut fields. I still crack up when I recall that line and still cannot for the life of me recall the answer I gave him. I guess it must have been because I was choking on laughter or had already passed out, who knows. It is something my husband I still laugh about, and wonder to this day how tall Marv thought the "peanut trees" were ever going to grow before the "nuts" were harvested.


waltspecht 2 years, 10 months ago

I have known more than one Redneck point out a Pecan Grove as a Peanut Grove to a non-Southerner.


AnotherMom 2 years, 10 months ago

I was with you until you insulted me with your comment about most Republicans being racist, gunlovers & money lovers. Why do liberals think conservatives are unable to judge a person based on their character rather than their skin color? I am an equal opportunity hater in that I dislike the Clintons & Biden as much as Obama. I do not own a gun & do not want one at the present time but believe we should have the right to own a gun if we so desire. I am a member of the poor working middle class and don't have and have never had enough money to love. I don't know why I waste my time reading your banal editorials.


Cartman 2 years, 10 months ago

"...Beverly Hillbilly-like buffoons you coach on your phony TV shows"

Now you've gone too far, you Jethro Bodine wannabee! I love the Beverly Hillbillies.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 10 months ago

"Fletcher.......you ignorant slut.....!"


stc1993 2 years, 10 months ago

You left out, "hold my beer & watch this." The last line of many Darwin award winners.


Sign in to comment