You don't have to read this whole post, but please at least jump to the end.
My husband e-mailed me this video today, and while I usually find stuff that the Onion does to be pretty amusing satire, this pissed me off...excuse the language, but it did. You see, I am from the Appalachian South, that scary black hole of a place that everyone else in the country is afraid to visit for fear of being abducted by banjo playing, overall wearing, moonshining, and (gasp!) conservative rednecks. I know that the video was just trying to play on the overly sentimental patriotism and macho redneckness of some country music, but they took it too far with the stuff about blowing up New York and killing all the Jews and gays. I like New York. I have friends who are Jewish. I have friends who are gay. Even if I didn't, I generally like humans enough not to want them to be killed. We're nice down here, and we are diverse, in culture, in race, in experience, in landscape and worldview. We may not agree with all of our neighbors, but we will sit on the porch and have a glass of sweet tea with them. We can all agree on the goodness of that.
I am willing to admit that Southerners can be judgmental people, but it is the ways that we are often judged that made this video set me off. Think about this for a minute. If a TV show wants to portray someone as stupid or having poor common sense, what do they do? Get an actor with a good, thick Southern accent. It has become such common practice that people with Southern accents are rarely taken seriously on TV or in real life. Watch a little TV and a few films with this in mind, and you'll see what I mean. Of course, all stereotypes have some basis in reality, I suppose. You can make a case that Southerners after the Civil War were historically poorer and less well educated. But we have indoor plumbing now...and even cable TV! Not to mention universities, talented artists and musicians, good cuisine, great weather, Krispy Kreme and Chick-fil-A. Woah! I'd better stop it, or ya'll will want to move down here and take over.
So why am I ranting and raving? There are plenty of bad things I could say about Southern culture's flaws. We certainly have an unsavory history. But we are often taken advantage of and exploited. Residents of the Appalachian South are perhaps treated the worst of all.
Here is where I get to the serious part of this post. The South is beautiful, in all its variety of people and food and music. No part is more beautiful to me than the Appalachian mountains, yet people who do not live in those mountains are ripping them to shreds so that our country can have enough coal to run it's industrial machine. I am not against using natural resources responsibly, but extracting them responsibly is also important. Imagine living in a cabin where you sat on your front porch every morning to watch the sun rise over a mountain. Imagine that same mountain being lopped off at the top so some company could make easy money on coal. The disastrous effects of this are too many to mention here. So check out this website, and please, take a minute to write our government to protest mountaintop removal. Even if you're a Yankee, you have to know this is wrong ;) Leave a comment to let me know if you do!