Vital Signs

The American Redneck

There ain't no shame in a job well done,

from driving a nail to driving a truck.

As a matter of fact, I'd like to set things straight,

A few more people should be pulling their weight.

If you want a cram course in reality,

You get yourself a working man's Ph.D.

—Aaron Tippin, "Working Man's Ph.D."

The hyperactive shopping mall aficionados and franchise restaurant diners who populate the United States fail to understand the subtleties of character that mark the American redneck, a man who, surprisingly, tolerates and even calls himself by the nickname, confounding those who would mock him. And for years Hollywood and New York, through cinema and television, have obscured his true identity by portraying him as a knuckle-dragging misogynist who prowls backroads in search of fawns and members of minority groups to shoot. Informed by media propaganda, the public fears that all over the country, like rustic Caesars hot from Hell, bumpkin male revolutionaries seeking vengeance against the government are poised to murder and plunder. As we look toward a less than promising future, rather than dishonoring this heartlander by accepting the same old caricatures imposed upon us by unenlightened...

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