August 31, 2002

ROD DREHER IS MAD about the “Beverly Hillbillies” reality show, and Andrew Cline tends to agree with him. But David Kreitman isn’t so sure it’s bad:

I know that what Dreher and Jeff are saying about the attitudes among the Hollywood elite and others toward Southern culture is indisputable. I know how parochial and embarrassingly narrow minded these people can be when discussing American subcultures outside of the bubbles they inhabit in LA or New York. I also know how many Americans use the caricature of the Southern yokel as the mental template for High Ignorance and Stupidity. But that does not overrule certain unavoidable facts about Southern rednecks, hicks, hillbillies, yokels, yahoos, hayseeds, rubes, or whatever you want to call them, that will never fail to make them fascinating, extremely compelling, hilarious and attractive objects for examination by those living in the South as well as on the outside.

You simply do not have, remaining in the land, a more real group of people who don’t really give a damn what others think. The true Southerner knows well how others view him, and yet he never sets about looking for “leaders” and apologists to run onto TV and shame everyone for their mean-spiritedness. It has always been a sign of confidence and pride, or so I’ve taken it, that the Southerner lets the Northerner, or other elite types, pummel him repeatedly without recourse to the tiresome props of the victim. And thank God for that.

Jed Clampett was the true hero of the original Beverly Hillbillies. Will CBS have the guts to follow his example?