Saturday, August 11, 2012

As someone who writes a lot of stories that take place in the south, I can no longer stay silent on the horror that is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  I've never watched the show or it's former monstrostity, Future Jon Benet Ramsey and Tiaras, because if I did, I surely would have consumed a nice strong cocktail of Allen's Coffee Brandy and Drain-O, neat.

For starters, her mother makes Divine look like Kate Moss.  She's a strawberry jello mold in a bridesmaid's dress.  She's a Hutt wearing lipstick.  She is the single most disgusting person I've ever seen, and I used to go to the Sunshine Fair, so I'm kind of an expert on ugly people.

It's not about the horrificness of TLC exploiting a family who really needs to have CPS called in.  It's not my smug, over-educated feminist outlook on beauty pageants.  It's the fact that this show continues to perpetuate the myth that the South is made up entirely of trailer parks and populated by rednecks who fornicate with gay pigs while gumming grits.  And I am so fucking sick of that version of the south because it's just not true anymore.

The south has made huge strides in culture.  Great bands like REM and the B-52's came out of Atlanta, Georgia.  High-end restaurants in North Carolina are fusing Korean  cuisine with grits and pork belly.  The Oxford fucking American, people!  It's in the middle of a renaissance, and it's garbage like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo that continue holding it back.

I remember watching The Blue Collar Comedy Tour with my then-boyfriend, his brother and his brother's wife.  She, being from Queens, thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen.  She couldn't understand why the three of us, being from Cobleskill, weren't laughing.  It wasn't that the jokes weren't funny, it was that we knew those kind of people.  It wasn't anything new or shocking to us.  But to her, the thought that someone might have sex in a satellite dish was so far out of her imaginative grasp that we might as well have said "You might be a redneck if you've got three heads, all named Billy Bob."

There are hicks everywhere.  If you ever want to see white trash at it's absolute finest, visit beautiful Cobleskill, NY, fantastically far north of the Mason-Dixon.  They just held the Redneck Blank in parts of Maine that might as well be Canada.  Rural America exists beyond Alabama and Georgia.  It's in PA and WI and CA.

I couldn't even read William Gay's Provinces of Night because it took place in the 1950's despite being published in 2000.  It just seemed like such a cliche, and damn it, I LOVED the film version of "That Evening Son."

PLEASE, people, enough with the old South.  MOVE ON.  It's one of the reasons I love Ray McKinnon so much--in the "Making of" featurette on Randy and the Mob, he says that he wanted to write a story set in the south he knew--the modern south, where people drive Kias and work in offices and wear khakis and occasionally have mob dealings.

We need to start embracing the south as a real place with real people, not some deep-fried Brigadoon that exists solely so Northerners can laugh at while they cram another organic Chipotle burrito into their gaping maw.  Find some other poor people to write a story about from your grant-funded beach house.

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