I have been in a bickering match with someone over whether a certain person we know is a redneck or not.
Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines “redneck” as “a glorious lack of sophistication,” stating that “we are all guilty of it at one time or another.” You know, this is probably proof of my having lived too long in the south, but I was surprised to see that the dictionary defines it as an offensive term. The thing is, around here, the people I’d call redneck seem pretty darn proud of referring to themselves that way. I can’t say I have ever heard the person in question refer to himself as a redneck, but he sure is proud of all the things that point toward his “redneckiness”.
He only drives pickup trucks. He’s lived the majority of his adult life in trailers. He loves camoflauge and plaid, clothes that don’t match, big baseball caps, cowboy boots and plumbers-crack Wranger jeans. He listens to country music, has always had at least one dog, and despises cats. He sports a scraggly beard and unkempt hair. His hobbies are Nascar, hunting, fishing, and getting new tattoos. He has a thick country accent and openly states his opinion on everything whether he knows anything about the topic or not. He’d rather die than be caught at a ballet, opera, museum or any restaurant that has linen napkins.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that any of that is wrong. It’s who he is and he’s proud of who he is. But this other person I’ve been bickering with insists that this man is not a redneck, and I’m like, HOW do you get to that conclusion? Is anyone we know more “gloriously lacking in sophistication”? Is it because he doesn’t drink beer and chew tobacco?
I know this sounds judgmental but I don’t mean for it to. Heck, half my family tree is 100% pure redneck, born and bred in the hills of northern Alabama. Them’s my people I’m talking about. And as Foxworthy said, we’re all guilty of it at one time or another. For about six months after we moved into this house, we had a toilet sitting on our carport.
It don’t get more redneck than that, y’all.
But if this person in question isn’t a redneck, then what defines one? That is what’s baffling me.