It's Like Y'all Don't Get What a Redneck Is


Let’s us here talk about Duck
, but first, let’s ask ourselves why any of us were surprised, much
less outraged, that a bunch of sketchoid Christian duck hunters in Louisiana
who could pass as ZZ Top stand-ins have homophobic or deeply ignorant racist
views. I mean really, it’s like you’ve never seen rednecks before, shirtless on a tractor, drinking a six-pack
of Busch and eating potted possum. What’s that, you say? It’s opossum? Well I’ll be dipped in shit and
rolled in breadcrumbs.

Sorry to burst your outrage bubble, but there’s a place in
this country called “The South.” It’s where I was born and raised. Ever been there? I mean, ever really been there? I don’t mean, did you
go to New Orleans for a week once, or have you delighted in Charleston’s great
foodie scene, or don’t you just love shopping in Atlanta? I mean, have you ever
seen the rednecks go muddin’ on four-wheelers in the sticks while pounding
wine coolers and wearing hats that say “Yer Damn Straight”
in places where teen pregnancy is just what happens to you, where graduating high school is still a huge fuckin’ deal
and literally nothing is cooked without lard?

These are my people. That place is the South, such as
Louisiana, where Duck Dynasty reigns.
It is teeming with rednecks. You know, country people? Not much educatin’, not
much city sense? You know, white, Southern, rural, politically reactionary
people you might also call yokels? Totes provincial? You know, if your main course is
roadkill and more than one relative is named after a Southern Civil War general

yadda yadda? To know them is to love/hate them, and to love/hate them is to
move to the nearest city as quickly as possible.

Rednecks may be a dying breed, but trust, they are stubborn
one. And all the progress in the rest of the country and even the South doesn’t
much change the fact that they are part of the geography all the way back to
the Scots-Irish
they revere (when they know what an ancestor is/have read books).
The region is historically remote thanks to the Appalachians, and that
geographical remoteness produced an identity of remoteness, of
“independence,” of separatism, that still stands. The South also lost
the Civil War as you might recall? Some people are still mad about it.

As regions go, it is a pretty homogenous one. It’s poorer,
and super
Christian/religious, has much lower rates of education, and more acute poverty

— a trend that has been going strong for two whole centuries! These things have
certainly been noted, on occasion, to produce fear-based thinking, the sort that leads to
hating/questioning/condemning everything that isn’t like you, that is to say,
everything that isn’t white, Christian, and heteronormative, or what rednecks
might call “normal.”

And, given the chance, it often leads to saying
dumb dumb shit about
a man’s anus
and revisionist-as-fuck blather about black
. The thing about being from a not-diverse culture that outsiders
tend to overlook is that, not only do people not care about the lack of
homogeneity all up in that piece, they’d LIKE IT TO STAY THAT WAY.

But even when you make a shitload of money and rise well
above the appearance of white-trash redneckery as Phil Robertson has, this success in many ways just
reinforces your superior-to-you, already not-the-least-bit-shockingly narrow
stereotypical views about Others. In other words, yes, you can be a rich
redneck who has read some books and still hate the gays and the blacks. Especially
when you’re on a TV show glorifying everything about your lifestyle.

Robertson, the “Patriarch” of the Duck Dynasty bunch, who gave up football
to pursue his love for hunting, even has a master’s degree in education from
Louisiana Tech. But clearly, those night classes didn’t expose him to tolerance
or large-mindedness, much less the concept that anal sex could be pleasurable.
He seems like a really cool guy, for one of those people who thinks they are
literally the only kind of people going to heaven. Speaking back in March of
2012 about being approached by A&E, Robertson said
his family could be a game-changer for reality TV:

face it,” said Robertson, “the bar has been set pret-ty low for you to get on
American television these days. I think they said, ‘Why don’t we try a functional
family,’ and somebody said well, that’s a novel idea. Round here, you know,
there’s no outbursts, belligerence, cursing, gettin’ drunk, dope, no, we’re all
Godly people, so maybe it’s a little switch for a change. We’re not actually
rednecks, but we probably could be called goodoleboys.”

Nope, still rednecks. Good ol’ boys tend to be the nicer,
gentler, less loutish versions of rednecks, the kind that are a product of their
environment but ostensibly mannered enough to interact with civilization. Sorry
to judge a redneck by his official uniform, but when white, Christian, Southern
huntin’ dudes in beards and camo say homophobic and racist things — overtly or otherwise —
I am not even sorta surprised. What DOES surprise me is when they don’t.

And you don’t have to be a former Southerner like I am to
feel that way. Take this argument from the New
York Post
, which

And what I find ridiculous is the
shock that an avatar of the redneck renaissance might actually have politically
incorrect or just plain religiously orthodox views on homosexuality. Seriously,
who called for the fainting couch when they read his interview in GQ?
“Duck Dynasty” has been a huge ratings success, receiving
fawning coverage from the elite media. Much of the coverage has also been
incredibly condescending. Everyone says, “Look at the funny rednecks,” until
Robertson says something that you would absolutely expect to hear from a guy
who plays a redneck on TV. Then suddenly everyone is scandalized? Please. Isn’t
the whole point of these shows to demonstrate that there are lots of different
kinds of people out there? Lord knows there’s no lack of reality shows about

But what we still don’t have is a show about gay rednecks.

I will now answer your imaginary questions.

Are you actually
arguing that rednecks should get a free pass on being racist/homophobic because
we should be inured to their backwoods views?

Of course not. I think we should totally shame them and that
A&E has done the “right thing” by taking a stand. Rednecks, like
everyone else who make such thoughts known, must be slowly forced out into the cold
light of public scrutiny and be made to state in complete sentences that the
world is changing and they are on the losing team.

So why this outrage,
and why now?

It’s an easy finger point, he did say anus, after all, and
we should care on some level (about
anuses). That guy should be challenged to defend his views and forced to admit
they are antiquated, bigoted, and not actually Christian. And as Jezebel writer
Callie Beusman points
, this isn’t the first time those duck fucks have said anti-gay remarks,
so maybe A&E is only taking a stand now because they have to, seeing as how
it’s highly likely they’ve been editing out some pretty choice cuts of filming
for a hot minute now.

Fine, it’s nothing
worth being all that outraged about, but what about the condescension? Aren’t
you guilty of that too, right here, not to mention stereotyping?

Excellent point! Yes, on some level, that’s absolutely true.
Calling rednecks anti-intellectual hill people who don’t know Vienna from a
Vienna sausage is just as stereotypical as Robertson’s thoughts on gays. The difference
between me and him is that in spite of how I feel about rednecks from having had
to smell their chaw and enjoy their potted
meats, I can also humanize them.

Watch this: Some rednecks are just good hearted people born
into deep poverty in remote rural areas with little or no access to decent
education, basic dental care, or anything like diversity or broad-minded thinking. As such, they come by
their ignorance honestly. What’s more, they are admirably, extremely
resourceful, often “wilderness smart” and learn to live entirely off
the land, building and fixing things with their own hands, devising more
sustainable (and often eco-conscious) methods for living than your most
progressive Whole Foods shoppin’ liberal toting a BPA-free lunchbox. Rednecks
often have a fierce pride in this resourcefulness, are deeply loyal to each
other, and ultimately stand as symbols of a long-gone, surely slower, but
arguably better way of living in harmony with the land than we will probably
ever see again in this country.

SEE WHAT I JUST DID THERE? That was more effort understanding something I am totally opposed to than Phil
Robertson, backwoods millionaire entrepreneur, noted redneck, has ever put into
thinking about what he hates. But hey, he put his thinkin’ into duck calls instead. ‘Murica!

IN conclusion, let’s all fry somethin’ real deep this
Christmas holiday. You do celebrate CHRISTMAS dontcha?

Image via A&E.

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