Regarding the recent hubbub around the stereotyping of mountain people – specifically the Molton cartoon ["Pigdemic," May 6] and the eloquent commentary by Ms. Wallace ["Fighting Back," May 6] on Bill O'Reilly's typically ignorant statements about Appalachian folk: I am a mountain person, born and raised, and I agree with O'Reilly's comment that Appalachian children should move to save themselves.
I (and a large portion of my peers) certainly felt it necessary for survival and continued growth in late adolescence to move away from these hills, as retirees and dot-com nouveau riche descended like strip-mall vultures on this quiet, affordable area. I felt betrayed by those who profited from selling their families' lands and history (especially when some of these folks brayed the loudest about "Yankees ruining our mountains"). [But] I concur with Bill on probably only this point. Appalachian children should leave here, find the world, and experience new people and places. See how much respect and love it rewards you with for this beautiful gift we have here.
The problem with Mr. O'Reilly's statement about Appalachia is that this mountain chain runs essentially the entire Eastern Continental Divide, and represents a huge amount of his constituency. We in WNC are not the only mountain people. I have friends from northern Georgia to southern Maine who are Appalachians. Let him make his comments. It's just Bill O'Reilly.
Truthfully, Molton's "Pigdemic" cartoon personally did not offend me any more than O'Reilly's comments. I believe that most funny jokes are at someone's expense, and playing upon stereotypes has always been an effective, if juvenile, method of humorous commentary. Employed correctly, usually with irony and intelligence, it can be entertaining.
That's where Molton's cartoon goes awry – and not merely in this particular instance. It's just never funny. I don't know anyone who finds Molton's cartoons anything more than an irritant – a bit of sand on the cornea. The true insult is to my intelligence, not my hometown. Opening the Xpress every week and being spat upon by its insularity and impertinence drives me close to anger, especially when I see far funnier work only periodically run in the very back of the paper.
I have been a reader of Mountain X since its inception and find it to be a useful and informative (if sometimes not terribly reliable) source of local news and happenings. It's just a slap in the face to start every Wednesday eyeing a lackluster caricature with a local name/place/event push-pinned to it, and a ham-fisted one-liner plopped on top like a turd on an ice-cream cone. Someone out there (besides Mr. Molton) may actually find them mildly amusing, but they bring a taste of bile to my mouth that is definitely not from the overpriced downtown coffee in my mug.
— Jake Gardner