Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Definition of Country

As per usual, this story was triggered by a friend and, in this case, one who lives in Alabama and was raised in Louisiana and also Alabama, out in the country. She is living in a bigger city now and yearns to return to the country which is just a desire to return to her routes. So shortly she will embark on that path in her personal life’s journey.

I think the Hollywood and television stereotypes are largely to blame for corrupting the correct definition of what country truly means. As my friend put it, that is the definition of a “hick”, you know the one with the overalls and the straw in his mouth and “kent hardly spake plain ‘nglish”. So we think that folks who talk with a drawl are all not so bright, and as I have “larned” that is so far from the truth that you might as well be living on the moon, child.
Sign just outside Hicksville

I see country as having the old-fashioned values and living a less stressful life chasing after the next “Bimmer” (aka BMW, a very expensive and show-offy car). True country folks are humanitarians, are warm and kind, friendly, love to have fun and will bite you in the ass if you attack their friends or family. They defend what is valuable to them in the same way that a momma bear protects their young—they will go for your throat if you try to hurt them. That does not mean they all are gun-toting crazy violent people. Every part of society has those. A gun for country folks is a necessary tool used to protect all that is valuable and to hunt for food as well.

I used to be in favour of gun control (for other reasons) but now I have made a complete turnabout on that subject. The Evil Elly’s of this world (crime and gangs) will always find a way to get them no matter how you try to restrict it and gun control laws will only cause friction with those that need those tools for their own self-preservation.

So I have “larned” to have great respect for the values that exist in the culture of being country. For me, an excellent model of that on television is the role that actress Pauley Parrette plays on the immensely successful show, NCIS, named Abby Scuito. Despite the outward trappings of her “Goth” look she is pure country.
The real Tuohy family (well part of them really)
And another terrific example is the portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy by the very believable Sandra Bullock in the movie, The Blind Side (she got an Academy Award for Best Actress for that one). The storyline is a semi-biographical description of the development of Michael Oher from a life of despair as a child to that of a successful team player in the NFL, but the real story is the depiction of how country is and not the incorrect “hick” portrayal. Leigh Anne is one mean momma bear in action in that movie and also the warmest, caring loving person on this earth. Blind side is about protecting the spot that a quarterback cannot see but it is more about protecting those spots that the family cannot see and that is what a momma bear does best. The drawl is toned down for us northern dumb asses.

So do your best to cast off the incorrect assumptions of what the world would like you to believe, as I am doing now. They still love you and they have this great ability to forgive if you show them respect. They are not as dumb as a rubber boot. They possess smarts that you cannot even begin to comprehend since most of us are caught up in the wrong value chasing program.  That’s why most of them drive pickup trucks because that vehicle is more well-suited to sharing. You “kent” move the stuff around that the important folks need as well in a car or mini-van, although the latter does work well. My friend considers a car as a secondary vehicle and she has owned some muscle cars that lots of the boys would die for.

The drawl is nothing more than a local dialect and does make it more difficult to communicate meaningfully at times, as I have found out, but it ain't impossible to figure out, also something I have found out for myself. So all you have to do is ask to repeat something or spell it and explain it and off you go into a whole new world of “wow I never thought of it that way” because we both say that now.

Seems some words get shorter, like "I don't know" is now "I dunno" and others get longer like "mushroom" gets an extra syllable and becomes "musharoom" and others gain a new sound like "of course" becomes "of coorsh". It is called lazy speak by some of these nice country folks and is not really lazy at all it is just more comfortable and softer for them like a big old sofa would be.

And the drawl is something that seems to imply that smarts and a large vocabulary are not present there. Nothing could be further from the truth as I recently experienced in a telephone conversation with one just intelligent southern gal. Her vocabulary includes things like quintessential mentor and connotation since she helped me with my thought process on  a topic we had going on. And yes I needed spellchecker for the "q" word. Not what you would expect from a "redneck" country girl at all.

Country folks have patience for those that really try. If you don't "unnerstand" what is going down well then don't be a dumbass and just ask. They will take the time to explain it to you. Watch a momma bear teach her children and you will see that in action.

Country folks are pretty special people so do your best to show them the respect they so richly deserve. They make the world a better place and “Don’t you forget it or I will tar your behind”. That is not a threat, that just shows they have commitment and care enough to get their point across. They often use stronger words than those but you can use your imagination or tick off a southern belle for a proper example of the two-barrel response they will give you.

Redneck has confused the whole issue since Hollywood makes them out to be “hicks” too. The reality is that a true redneck is one and the same with country. It is just a synonym and nothing more and Jeff Foxworthy is an example of a smart man making lots of money out of us dumb booted northern folks with his portrayals of a redneck. He ain’t no dumbass, but his audience sure has a lot of them in it. Recently saw him on a talk show and his drawl was almost completely gone probably due to his work on quiz shows and travel all over the world.

Maybe I should start a line of books like the for Dummies series but these would be like Country for Dumb Asses and How to Handle Yourself in Public for Dumb Asses and kind of use by Foxworthy/Carlin approach to the subject matter.

Hell I might even read that more than once. Never fear, Dumb Asses are trainable. I know I am one of those in that category.

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