In Defense of Rednecks

As a proud native of Chicago and current resident of Pittsburgh, I hardly qualify as a redneck, and I’m quite the Yankee as far as my life goes. Nonetheless, there is much to respect in Southern culture (I hope it doesn’t get wholly assimilated in the near future), and I do not like this new CBS project to create a “reality” TV version of the Beverly Hillbillies. Yep, pull up a redneck, multi-generational family from its home in Appalachia or the South, and then set them up for a year in Beverly Hills with plenty of funds.

Now, before we commence this new voyeuristic feast, please read the August 30, 2002 entry of Dave Kreitman’s blog and Rob Dreher’s National Review op-ed on this subject.

This manipulative exercise in television seems engineered for the public to get its jollies in mocking a people without feeling dirty–after all, if hillbillies are ignorant and bigoted, aren’t we justified in hating them? I remember hearing a guy in junior high talking about throwing pennies at child beggars in Mexico, and watching them scramble for the money. This new TV project seems to be in a similar spirit, as we put the poor on parade and hopefully get to witness them as they do something dumb. But modern society is more mature than that junior high acquaintance, right?