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‘Real’ Rednecks, Fake Outrage

pic_giant_122013_SM_Real-Rednecks

The outrage over a “reality” star’s comment smacks of artificiality

Jonah Goldberg writes:  So rednecks need to be politically correct now?

Wait, before the National Association of Rednecked Persons attacks me, let me be clear that I don’t mean “redneck” as an insult. Indeed, Redneck Pride has been on the rise ever since Jeff Foxworthy got rich informing people they “might be a redneck.”

(Some clues: if your school fight song was “Dueling Banjos”; if you’ve ever raked leaves in your kitchen; if your boat hasn’t left your driveway for 15 years; if birds are attracted to your beard, etc.)

Redneck reality shows have been all the rage: Rocket City Rednecks, My Big Redneck Vacation, Hillbilly Handfishin’ and, of course, Swamp People.

But the gold standard is Duck Dynasty, which follows the Robertsons, a family that struck it rich selling duck calls. It’s like a real-life version of The Beverly Hillbillies. All of the men look like they stepped out of the Hatfield–McCoy conflict to smoke a corncob pipe.

What all of these — and countless other — reality shows have in common is their shock value. And guess what? Sometimes the shock is manufactured. If the cameras weren’t on, the silicone life forms on the various Real Housewives shows probably wouldn’t be throwing wine in each other’s faces as much as they do. TLC’s awful reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tries its hardest to turn an uncouth Southern white family with a children’s beauty-pageant fixation into the sort of genetic and cultural horror show that sparked the progressives to advocate eugenics. And everyone everywhere mugs for the camera.

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