Monday, May 09, 2005


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," a blog about words and ideas and the lack thereof in certain segments of American society.

Quick, Princeton: Who has the right to call someone a hillbilly?
A. No one, its a bad cultural epithet.
B. No one, it condones disrespect for people in a certain part of America.
C. No one, especially those making movies and television shows that mold public opinion. That includes you, Bill O'Reilly. Not that you would ever use a bad word, you good ol' boy.
D. Someone who grew up in, or currently lives in, Appalachia, and only when addressing someone who grew up in, or currently lives in Appalachia, who knows that you, too, grew up in, or currently live in, Appalachia.

If you guessed "D," move on to Round Two.

The author of this blog is from Appalachia, and she is sensitive about it. She is so sensitive about Appalachian issues that she has entertained the idea of leading a push for the entire Appalachian region to secede from the United States of America and form its own country. The first thing we'd do is name Robert Byrd emperor. And even our faltering economy would outdo two-thirds of the Third World.

Democracy would not exist in the United Kingdom of Appalachia. We will examine the author's prejudices against democracy another time.

The occasion for this rant is the presence on my computer screen of an offer to watch a trailer for a new "Dukes of Hazzard" movie. What director's nephew pitched, wrote, and produced this rot? And, can we please have him dropped from a helicopter straight into the Allegheny National Forest, liberally doused in mountain lion pheromones? Thank yew kindly.

One hundred years ago, Appalachians were just another ethnic/cultural group deemed ripe for rape and abuse by the bold capitalists of Corporate America (read, robber coal, oil, timber, and natural gas barons). Hillbillies were lumped in with the Irish, the Jews, the Chinese, and the Mexicans as "persons not fit to inhabit wonderful, democratic America." Today you can turn on any t.v. and see fine, positive role models from any of those ethnic groups - except Appalachians. We're still Granny and Jed and Jethro. And especially Ellie Mae. Let's not forget Ellie Mae. City boy, she'll just pull you behind the barn and make you forget all about "turtle dove love."

The difference between Ellie Mae and Daisy Duke? Daisy Duke is alliterative. And her shorts are shorter. Times have changed, after all. She might even have gotten breast implants on her one and only visit to a city.

Um, America? You've practically raped us dry, you're bulldozing whole mountains in Kentucky, you've created a wasteland and called it progress. Enough, already. HOME RULE FOR APPALACHIA.

Hollywood? Oh yeah, lots of brain power out there. They take a tween idol (Orlando Bloom), cast him in an R-rated bloodbath that no self-respecting parent would ever take her Bloom-besotted tween to see, and spend $150 million to create special effects including cleaving people in twain, neglecting any semblance of a coherent plot. Call it "Kingdom of Heaven" and figure the Chippies will go see it because they'll think it's a sequel to "Passion of the Christ."

A "Dukes of Hazzard" movie? Give me thirty minutes with the producer, director, and screenwriter. On my family farm. At night. Please.

Daisy Duke will be the last thing they'll think about. But they might recall another rabidly anti-Appalachian film that ended Ned Beatty's career and gave all of us hillbillies ideas we might never have thought up ourselves, because we're so stupid.