Of voters and rabbit ears

Charles Warner, who teaches at The New School in New York, and is the Goldenson Chair Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has an explanation at his Media Curmudgeon blog of Hillary Clinton’s wins in West Virginia and Kentucky:  

I can’t imagine the folks in Appalachia grooving to iWilli’s “Yes We Can” video. They are probably watching re-runs of “I Love Lucy” on TV sets with rabbit-ear antennae and listening to “The Grand Ole Opry” on Saturday nights on WSM-AM radio – the king of Appalachia media.

And they more than likely won’t watch Obama’s inauguration speech, which is sure to be a humdinger. But I can imagine that the majority of Obama’s ardent young, post-racial, post-Appalachia supporters watching their president’s inauguration address on their computers – the media of choice of a new, young, educated generation — not the media of choice in Appalachia.

If the moonshine wears off and I can find my shoes, I might respond. Better yet, I extend an invitation to Mr. Warner to visit Knoxville and Appalachia.

Photo: Mountaineers and farmers trading mules and horses on “Jockey St.,” near the Court House, Campton, Wolfe County, Ky. (Library of Congress photo taken by Marion Post Wolcott in 1940.)

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  1. I can’t make a comment for Appalachia outside of TN, but the most extreme examples of rural Appalachians in TN probably don’t vote. The majority however, are fully capable of discussing politics in their community, watching television coverage and even (gasp) reading newspapers. I think they care very much about the future, they are just seeing it through the eyes of their own pasts.

  2. I understand some of them hollers only got dialup, so it takes forever to download YouTube.
    (As a southwesterner, I once had a DC cabbie become surprised at my revelation that Indians can leave their reservations. I guess he figured they were like POW camps, doubtless patrolled by mounted deputies).

  3. Mr. Warner’s attitude is not uncommon or new. It’s a cluster of small-minded, derisive assumptions about a constituency defined by nothing more than where its members live – in other words, classic prejudice. I would say few people in Appalachia care what Mr. Warner thinks, although because most have manners they’d listen politely before shaking their heads at his ignorance and provincialism. It certainly shows his true character – or lack thereof.
    In my experience – and Mr. Warner is clear evidence of this – arrogance and prejudice don’t follow class lines, regional lines, race lines, any kind of “line”. They’re everywhere. I just wish Mr. Warner was as “post-prejudice” as most of the Appalachian folks I know.
    native of kentucky, resident of alabama, former jersey girl

  4. Mr. Charles Warner shows that ignorance and bigotry are the handmaidens of the “right.” No, I do not mean the Right (capital R) as in the political “Left” and “Right.” I mean those enlightened beknighted souls who reject racial or ethnic bigotry – unless it is directed at the “right” people. The same people who would never dare condescend to judge exotic brown-skinned natives of a distant land, but those same people living closer by – and resembling themselves physically? Why those are the “right” people to hate and abhor.
    Fear not Mr. Warner, wink wink – I understand you well. And you will be pleased to know that, come the revolution, your “right-thinking” compatriots have a place for you – just ask Madame Defarge where you are on the list. Naturally I tsk tsk such lists – but then again, I , claro si, am the wrong kind of person.

  5. So what is Mr. Warner showing us? Is he demonstrating “Urban Provincialism”? Or is it “Cosmopolitan Backwardness”? What do you call it when the horse’s behind wants to lead the way?
    Whatever’s going on, it appears the culture in our coastal cities has developed into a new “Appalachia”.

  6. Jed, Jed, fetch me my shotgun!!! We done got some yankee sumbitch what needs a-shootin’. Book learnin’ jist ain’t a-gonna happen fer some folks. Some folks they jist never learn.

  7. Thanks for the picture of Campton. My grandmother was from there. As a former Appalachian who has lived in NYC for 25 years I don’t often get to see bits of home in the media.
    Charles Warner’s comments are not the the least bit surprising, unfortunatley. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard supposedly educated, sophisticated, liberal/lefty (of course) New Yorkers say the most outrageous things about Southerners. It’s always prefaced by something like “but of course you’re not like that.” I used to ignore it but no longer. Now I delight in calling them on their bigotry and I am always careful to use facts and data, not emotion, something that these geniuses are incapable of doing. They’re always completely taken aback that anyone could take offense at their bigotry.

  8. Hmmm. I’ve been to Columbia (the one in Missouri). Did Professor Warner teach there by correspondence? It’s not all that different from Hamilton County, Tenn., where I was born.
    Somethin’s odd ’bout this.

  9. One can clearly see the vaunted “inclusiveness” of the Leftist mindset here. To quote the Red Brigades: “Join the Revolution comrade, or f*** off!”
    Why is it that Brother Obama and his travelling Salvation Show have done so poorly in Appalachia? It ain’t racism. It has to do with the effete,elitist,topdown,and anti-American theme of his campaign. He does well with urban elites because that’s his folks. They like government control (as long as its by them), abhor firearms, can’t understand why someone would chose to join the military, are rootless, have antipathy to religion (especially all strains of anabaptism) and believe that everyone should have a social worker.
    Sorry to tell you this Professor Warren, but these policies and the temperment behind them are not going to sell in a region where the overwhelming majority of residents identify themselves as “American” by census ethnic classification. Recall that this was a region where folks used to have FDR pictures hanging in their modest homes and you see how the “progressive” element has removed the Democratic Party away from Andrew Jackson’s folks to become a much narrower, nastier and blinkered poitical movement.
    Mind you, what do I know. I’m just a bitter Appalachian-American thumping my Bible and cleaning my gun.

  10. WJO, didn’t your mama teach you to clean your gun while you thump your Bible? You must show respect for the Good Book. (And, if you’re like my MIL, you might shoot yourself in the foot if you try to do anything else while cleaning your gun…)
    Good grief, these people need lessons in common courtesy. Whom do they think they are helping when they talk down to us here in Appalachia, anyway?

  11. Myssi:
    Appalachia and Appalachians have been misunderstood for generations. The key virtue inculcated in these mountains is independence. Understanding that my ancestors chose to live in these mountains because no one would be lording over them here, ever. That temperment and spirit just doesn’t mix well with most ideologies, especially, socialism.
    I might add that Obama’s promise of “help” will fall flat here. We have had enough “help” from outsiders, thank you very much (or do I suffer from false consciousness so that I cannot perceive that higher taxes and more state regulation by my alleged betters is good for me).

  12. Why did O’reilly call our President of the United States Mr. Obama? Is he really for our country or not? He embraced our former president George Bush so why not show the same respect for our new leader of our country. PRESIDENT BARACK OBOMA?

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