Greeting, Pickers and/or Grinners!
In my humble opinion, one of the worst things you can call someone is a "redneck". Which is kind of a pity because the term began innocently enough as a literal descriptor for poor, hard-working farmers who could easily be identified by their sun-charred necks.
Eventually "redneck" began to take on another, darker meaning. Since many of the people described in this manner weren't exactly the most educated, urbane or open-minded folks, the word soon became synonymous with bigotry, ignorance and rigidity. In turn, it's a label that every single Southerner has been unfairly tarred with; a prejudice that's as myopic and intolerant as any other.
Even though I personally don't understand the appeal of NASCAR, buck hunting, Will Hoge, camouflage bed-sheets and half-ton trucks (especially as a Canadian), I do know that just because people like these things it doesn't automatically make them inbred, Bible-thumping racists. As you might expect, folks get a tad prickly when you call them "redneck" just because they have a fetish for watching cars drive around in a semi-circle.
Which is why you've seen a redneck reclamation effort recently. Hell, Sarah Palin nearly got to within one step of the Presidency on the back of her oblivious, corn-pone "charm". Both Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy have inexplicably managed to parlay the concept into nominal, one-note comedy careers. Tyler Farr had a tryin'-too-hard hit this year called "Redneck Crazy". Daryl Dixon is justifiably the most popular character on The Walking Dead. And although Honey Boo-Boo and her clan aren't exactly rocket scientists, they aren't a bunch of intolerant assholes either.
And then there's the high water mark for redneck chic:
Having never watched a single episode of Duck Dynasty, I can only guess as to why it's so ludicrously popular right now. Here then are my theories:
- "It's got jen-you-wine FAMILY VALUES which is in short supply on the TEE VEE nowadays."
- "If'n you get the right idea and you work hard you can go from RAGS TO RICHES."
- "It's great to see real people on the TEE VEE that'r jus' like us and not like them uppity Kardashians."
- "Even though some members of your family are COLORFUL CHARACTERS that GET ON YER NERVES, you still love 'em anyways."
- "It's also nice to see someone on the TEE VEE openly express their FAITH IN GOD."
- "I jus' love it when Phil, Miss Kay, Si, Willie and the rest of 'em get into all them hi-jinx. IT'S JUS' LIKE MY OWN PACK O' NUTS!"
- "It's nice to see good, honest, God-fearin' people win out for a change instead of all them over-edumacated snobs that Rick Santorum is always talkin' about."
But ever since Duck Dynasty became a cultural phenomenon, I've wondered just how legitimately "rednecky" these guys really are. After all, it doesn't matter how back-woodsy these guys claim to be, if they're multi-millionaires, then they have to posses some gar-run-teed, lee-jit-uh-mit smarts. And sure enough, after a cursory bit of research, you can quickly suss out the real reality behind these counterfeit clodhoppers:
EPIC FUNNY Comedian Patton Oswalt perfectly sums up my own thoughts on gay marriage right here. Not suitable for work, even though it should be.
HUMANITY FAIL If you recognize any portion of yourself in the following GQ Magazine interview then you got some work to do on yourself, son. Phil's insistence that poor, segregated blacks were "Godly...and happy" and no-one was "singing the blues" back then is equally baffling, but that's a blog entry for another time.