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MadHound

(34,179 posts)
59. I come from a long line of hillbillies, probably one of the first in this country,
Mon Aug 27, 2012, 04:46 PM
Aug 2012

Started out in Virginia, wound its way through Kentucky and Tennessee, with the majority finally winding up in the Ozarks. Branson is named after an ancestor of mine.

When I was a kid, I was embarrassed and ashamed of my heritage, especially the fact that the family tree looked more stump-like than anything else, if you get my drift. But as I grew older, I grew to embrace that heritage, for a number of reasons.

First, these people aren't dumb, just uneducated. Up until about sixty years ago, life was extremely hard in the backwoods hills. Kids were needed to help keep the crops coming in, to keep the family alive. My father was the first in our family to graduate from college, not because he was smarter than others, but because the family finally had enough free time to allow him the opportunity to pursue an education.

In fact, given how hillbillies are notorious for being able to make anything run with baling wire and spit, one would have to see that they have an innate intelligence.

Second, people damn them for their stand offish ways and clannishness, well that attitude developed for a reason, being constantly persecuted by not just the government, but corporations, railroads, and any trickster looking to make a quick buck. It simply became an easier policy to shoot first than get ripped off later.

Third, the culture, the art. I know, musical tastes vary, and I wasn't a big fan of hillbilly music when I was a kid, mainly because it was overplayed in my house, but as I grew older I grew to love it. It is real, it is beautiful in a way that reminds me of music in a brook or the sun coming up over the mountain.

Fourth, the comfort of belonging to a group, a clan, that supports you to the hilt. I know that if I ever got into seriously deep shit, I could make one call and within an half hour have a hundred family members here armed to the teeth, with more on the way, all to protect me, my wife and my property. That's serious familial loyalty there, something that not all families have going for them.

Yes, these people are, for the most part, racist to some degree or another, but that is slowly changing. Yes, they distrust government and virtually every other outside institution, for a good reason, their contacts with them have generally ended badly, very badly. Land seized, people thrown in jail, people killed. It is better in their eyes to keep everybody and everything that isn't family at shotgun's distance than trust that somebody outside of the family will do right by them. And yes, these people are uneducated, but that is changing as well. High school dropout rates are down, graduation rates are up, and starting about forty years ago, a movement began to get their kids to college. My dad used to sponsor these kids coming up from the hills and hollers, poor, scared freshmen who had never been outside their community much less in what they thought of as a "big" town of 50,000. Yeah, they spoke funny, and had poor dental work, but you know what, that would slowly change, and these kids turned out to be some of the best in their classes. They took their degrees in veterinary medicine and agriculture and medicine and education and business back to where they came from and put them to good use.

And now those kids are the leaders now, and though they may still talk with the same twang, they are whip smart, smart enough to sell a millions of city slickers into coming from all over the country to a little town in the Ozarks and spend billions of dollars annually. So who's the fool, the guy selling the hillbilly illusion, or the rube who is buying it?

The first Mountain Dew commercial kentuck Aug 2012 #1
great find LiveNudePolitics Aug 2012 #3
They do proud2BlibKansan Aug 2012 #57
Thanks for another illustration of what I'm talking about. antigone382 Aug 2012 #7
That's as bad as the Frito Bandito add muntrv Aug 2012 #31
I'm from Western Pa LiveNudePolitics Aug 2012 #2
+1 antigone382 Aug 2012 #6
well if it makes you feel better arely staircase Aug 2012 #14
well if it makes you feel better LiveNudePolitics Aug 2012 #23
no problem arely staircase Aug 2012 #24
greenwich village performance art LiveNudePolitics Aug 2012 #62
never been to one arely staircase Sep 2012 #63
I'm a hillbilly (a real one - I'm from East Tennesse where the Fawke Em Aug 2012 #40
It depends on how it's said. antigone382 Aug 2012 #44
but they enjoy white privilege arely staircase Aug 2012 #4
Well, to some degree, I wouldn't necessarily say that they don't. antigone382 Aug 2012 #5
Well, if they voted right maybe we liberals wouldn't be so mean to them cthulu2016 Aug 2012 #8
I point you again to the example of Judy Bonds. antigone382 Aug 2012 #10
I'm sorry, but Pab Sungenis Aug 2012 #9
See post #10. n/t antigone382 Aug 2012 #11
Exactly.... ann--- Aug 2012 #12
Judy Bonds did not revel in ignorance. antigone382 Aug 2012 #13
but her opinions on mt removal are in the minority arely staircase Aug 2012 #16
Well of course they are. antigone382 Aug 2012 #18
thanks, i get where you are coming from arely staircase Aug 2012 #25
lol, I think that might have been a discussion between you and me... antigone382 Aug 2012 #38
Neither does my beloved wife, a sophisticated woman from eastern Tennessee. n/t Bertha Venation Aug 2012 #42
shows like "Bridezilla" target urban/city stereotypes along with the rural stereotypes Liberal_in_LA Aug 2012 #15
To me, shows like that, "The Real Wives of..." "bad girls club" etc. antigone382 Aug 2012 #17
I hear ya. I watched that documentary about Appalachia. It explained the source of one stereotype Liberal_in_LA Aug 2012 #20
True... ohheckyeah Aug 2012 #28
dump's not free. everytime you go you have to pay. HiPointDem Aug 2012 #35
We don't. ohheckyeah Aug 2012 #37
I'm in Maine and we have to pay to drop off certain items at the dump magical thyme Aug 2012 #49
The area I was talking about.... ohheckyeah Aug 2012 #56
we do. depends on jurisdiction & what you're dumping. HiPointDem Aug 2012 #55
Well, not everyone has access to a truck. antigone382 Aug 2012 #39
yep. big difference in poor rural areas and city in transportation availability. Another Liberal_in_LA Aug 2012 #43
Yep...used to catch a ride with friends, but it wasn't very easy... antigone382 Aug 2012 #58
I appreciate the responses to this thread, and will check back in tomorrow. antigone382 Aug 2012 #19
It always baffles me that people here in W.Va. celebrate the continuing Jesco White minstrel show Adenoid_Hynkel Aug 2012 #21
I just watched that mess on Netflix this morning, in fact. Codeine Aug 2012 #46
Great post. Reminds me of a few days ago when listening to a DJ on WDTW FM 106.7 muntrv Aug 2012 #22
Excellent article. Lifelong Protester Aug 2012 #26
For a corrective view, read Joe Bageant's "Deer Hunting with Jesus" Lydia Leftcoast Aug 2012 #27
America handed WV over to the coal industry and said "Here have your way with her." limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #29
For a better understanding...I do suggest everyone read Joe Bageant's books.. riverbendviewgal Aug 2012 #30
thanks for the suggestion limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #32
Exactly. n/t antigone382 Aug 2012 #45
Outstanding post. lumberjack_jeff Aug 2012 #33
Unfortunately, class bigotry is still considered more acceptable than racial bigotry eridani Aug 2012 #34
I get it all the time here in Montana sorefeet Aug 2012 #36
Thanks for all of the supportive responses... antigone382 Aug 2012 #41
Three of my Grandparents were "Hillbillies" who would have sooner eaten bees than vote Republican Burma Jones Aug 2012 #47
The words classy and sophisticated do not describe the Honey Boo Boo family. Initech Aug 2012 #48
The words classy and sophisticated also do not describe amusement based on class-based prejudice. nt antigone382 Aug 2012 #52
True. Initech Aug 2012 #54
No one held a gun to the heads of kurtzapril4 Aug 2012 #50
Well, she's six...so she doesn't really have a say either way. antigone382 Aug 2012 #53
Cute Doggy in the first pic! smirkymonkey Aug 2012 #51
I come from a long line of hillbillies, probably one of the first in this country, MadHound Aug 2012 #59
That photo with the two rednecks and the Rottweiler RebelOne Aug 2012 #60
Thank you for this thoughtful thread. K&R myrna minx Aug 2012 #61
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