Stop Making Fun of 'Hillbillies'
'Buckwild' and the like only hurt Appalachia: Alexandra Bradner
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2013 1:25 PM CST
This undated image released by MTV shows the cast of the new reality series "Buckwild."   (AP Photo/MTV)

(Newser) – America loves to ogle, and often mock, "rednecks" and "hillbillies." But if we would never dream of treating minorities in the same way, then why is this behavior considered acceptable? Philosophy professor Alexandra Bradner takes on the question in Salon, focusing her ire particularly on MTV's new reality show Buckwild, which follows a group of friends who like to go muddin', huntin', and ATV-ridin' in West Virginia, an area marked by poverty. "Suffering people are so entertaining," writes Bradner. "There’s nothing more humorous than decades and decades of exploitation at the hands of the coal and natural gas industries."

Not to mention the educational challenges people in Appalachia face, their health problems and lack of access to basic health and dental care, and their staggeringly low incomes. But, of course, Buckwild doesn't focus on those aspects of West Virginia life; it just shows us people we can laugh at who "talk differently, have different hairstyles, live in different kinds of homes, and drink and eat different stuff. They ride in excavator shovels and make swimming pools out of dump trucks, as we saw in the series’ debut." Watching these people allows "non-Appalachian" viewers to see themselves "as sophisticated and cosmopolitan—as better." But urban viewers have their own problems, and all this series will accomplish is hurting West Virginia. Click for Bradner's full column.

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Jan 9, 2013 6:04 PM CST
Heck, I gotta think if there's a nuclear apocalypse, the hillbilly folks will be survivors, since they already know how to hunt and skin critters for food and clothes and their homes aren't near any big cities that would be in kill zones.Fallout would be their big issue,but that would be everywhere else too, and worse in the bombed zones.
Jan 9, 2013 5:54 PM CST
There's a huge difference between rednecks & southerners. Here in Florida, I've met people from KY, TN, GA. All nice people (for the most part). They make fun of rednecks, telling me the outrageous stuff they do. I don't know what this country is coming to when you can't make fun of rednecks. What's Jeff Foxworthy gonna do? Make fun of Liberals?
Jan 9, 2013 5:53 PM CST
I know, let's not make fun of anybody.