Saturday, March 24, 2007

I might be a redneck...

I get a good laugh at all the various "redneck" pictures people send me. I do not currently have just one favorite, however these pictures rank among my favorites for sure. You especially have to like the "Redneck Harley".

Several times over the past 5 years my lovely bride has accused me of being a redneck. You see, when we married, she was from rural Kansas and I was from suburban Western New York. She was more familiar, in my opinion, with "rednecks" than I. We now live in Suburban America, albeit in Kansas, but unquestionably the "burbs". Frankly, I like "the country" better, as far as a homestead goes. She is very happy living in a suburb with all you could need within five minutes. Funny how things change. Still, am I really a "redneck"? I kind of like the notion, but not sure exactly. I looked up "redneck" on Wikipedia. An exact definition is elusive, but here's part of what they say:

Redneck, in modern usage, predominantly refers to a particular stereotype of people who may be found in many regions of the United States or Canada. Originally limited to Appalachia and the American South, and later the Ozarks and Rocky Mountains, this stereotype is now widespread in other states and the Canadian provinces. The word can be used either as a pejorative or as a matter of pride, depending on context.

Wow. I might be redneck, I suppose. I know my wife started calling me a redneck when I began attending any Demolition Derby I could find, took up bow hunting, bought a pick-up truck, and talked about moving more out to the country. Maybe that's it. Maybe I am a redneck. Not sure. I don't really like NASCAR and I don't say "Ya'll"...but who knows, I might still be a redneck.

As I have studied this word, "redneck", I found an incredible proof that I might be a redneck. Check out what else Wikipedia reports concerning the possible origin of the term:

Possible Scots-Irish etymology of "redneck"- The National Covenant and The Solemn League and Covenant (a.k.a. Covenanters) signed documents stating that Scotland desired a Presbyterian Church Government, and rejected the Church of England as their official church (no Anglican congregation was ever accepted as the official church in Scotland). What the Covenanters rejected was episcopacy — rule by bishops — the preferred form of church government in England. Many of the Covenanters signed these documents using their own blood, and many in the movement began wearing red pieces of cloth around their neck to signify their position to the public. They were referred to as rednecks. Large numbers of these Scottish Presbyterians migrated from their lowland Scottish home to Ulster (the northern province of Ireland) during the 17th Century and soon settled in considerable numbers in North America across the 18th Century. Some emigrated directly from Scotland to the American colonies in the late 18th and early 19th-centuries as a result of the Lowland Clearances. This etymological theory holds that since many Scots-Irish Americans and Scottish Americans who settled in Appalachia and the South were Presbyterian, the term was bestowed upon them and their descendants.

Can you believe this? My wife might indeed be right about me. I'm not a redneck because of my demo derby, bow-huntin', pick-up riding ways, but rather because of my Presbyterian commitment and heritage! My wife is brilliant! She is right on about me!
I am a redneck! Cool.


M. Jay Bennett said...

Hey . . . theres nothing wrong with being a redneck! Things could be much worse than that. You could be a Yankee transplant. :-)

I think there are different degrees of redneckiness (Is it okay to take a noun, convert it to an adjective, and then back to a noun for the sake of generalizing? It is if you're a redneck.)

I know some folks back home in rural Georgia that have reached the apex of redneckiness. Best folks you'll ever meet, but not much good for conversation.

Others are more cultured, but they're careful not to be uppity about it. They are more than happy to associate with those of the first variety in almost every situation. They are good folks who just want to live life simply, without all the hassles of modern contrivances. They value faith, family, and country over everything else.

Still others have moved to the city and almost completely abandoned the redneck lifestyle. But they are still rednecks at heart. They long for home (the good ole days) every time they hear a Skynard song and wonder whether the sacrifice they've made was worth the cost.

I am of the third variety. But if I'm ever back home for more than three or four days I begin to revert back to my former redneckiness quickly, which was always of the second variety.

Mark Davis said...

I prefer the Foxworthy definition of redneck: [anyone possessing] a glorious lack of sophistication. That opens up any pre-conceived geographical limitations, recognizing that rednecks are common from Bakersfield to Buffalo.

Growing up in Alabama, we understood redneck to be just another name for anyone rural, rustic, working outdoors. Working outdoors tends to leave the back of a man's neck a dark reddish-brown, hence, a redneck.

A lack of sophistication isn't the same as a lack of intelligence, as many falsely assume. If anything, being a redneck is all about freedom: freedom from creative limits, freedom from shame, freedom from man-pleasing, freedom from social climbing, freedom from status obsession.

It isn't just anybody who can make the hard decisions in life with such clarity. Want to live on 40 acres with a pond and pasture? Can't afford to build a house on it? Back up a double-wide, take the wheels off, and you're on the country side before noon. Want something fun to drive, but don't have the coin for a Corvette? Slap a cam and a roots blower on a smallblock, and stick it in anything with good tires and clean seats. If the hood won't fit anymore, just lean it against the shed next to your spare windshield. You might need it later, if your wife wants her car back.

Rednecks have a lot to teach us in fancy-go-to-meeting suburbia. Live like you're dying, drive it like a rental, think big, live small, and for goodness sake, when you hear Sweet Home Alabama, TURN IT UP!

TB said...

I would be more than happy with the motorcycle.

I no longer have to fish from the shore. though I believe I will have to use oars for the time being until I can upgrade to a motor. Thanks for the Idea.

AJF said...

Vintage Davis answer! You're right on man.

Frontier Forest said...

Beien’s the fact that only me and Malcolm is from Oklahoma, don’t know if a yank's got the right to call youren’s a genuene redneck or not?
Have you ever taken Shari and the boys a noodling? Why, there aint’ nothing like diving into them creeks, river and dirty lakes in search of bank-dwelling catfish big enough to put a saddle on em. Getting down, only your head sticking out, just below the waters edge, feelen’ and searchen’ around for a deep hole, till you feel somen a nibbling on ya, and then shoving your hands down the throat of a 60 pound catfish.... well this here, will separate the pick-necks from the real red-ones. After all, a real redneck put down them bows and arrows and takes their entire families a handfishen.

jmalcolm said...

Hate to disagree with Brother Wood, but having spent a lot of time in western NY, may take agrees with Mark. A neck is a neck, they just have different accents. In western NY they are volunteer firemen, know the cheapest Friday fish fry and drink Genessee beer

AJF said...

Don't forget "Old Milwaukee"...on a really special occasion- Molson.

Also, Tim Horton doughnuts and the Erie County Fair.