Hypocrisy on hillbillies

Commentator Betty Cloer Wallace opines that “Debilitating hillbilly stereotypes resound internationally and hurt us … both personally and economically” [“Fighting Back,” Commentary, May 6]. Obviously, the Xpress editors were not listening, as the Molton cartoon only two pages before implies that a rural WNC resident named Bubba has conjugal relations with his swine [“Pigdemic,” May 6]. Blatant hypocrisy!

Furthermore, I believe Molton’s cartoons are of the political-satire genre. What politics does this cartoon advance? Certainly not the politics of diversity, empathy or respect. Does this mean we should not be offended by doctored photos of watermelons on the White House lawn? Is the N-word now back in vogue?

I expected better of Mountain Xpress. Respect is a two-way street.

— Alex Long

Cartoonist Randy Molton responds: Your concern for oppressed rural white people in our community is admirable. And I am hopeful that one day, they shall overcome the bigotry of my cartoon to gain the same justice and equality enjoyed by the rest of us.

Managing Editor Jon Elliston and Publisher Jeff Fobes respond: It is never our hope or intention to offend readers. That said, we strive to give our freelance cartoonists and humorists (such as Randy Molton and the producers of the Asheville Disclaimer page) pretty wide latitude in preparing their material, because we’ve found that one person’s searing joke may be another’s blatant insult.

The seemingly poor timing of Wallace’s commentary and Molton’s cartoon may in fact turn out to have been great timing: The contrast and tension between the two viewpoints have generated much passion, empathy and concern for victims of stereotyping.

Living in the midst of Appalachia, we have an intimate sense of the diverse worldviews and values its people embody. If anyone knows that the hillbilly stereotype is a goofy figment, it’s us. And if anyone can make fun of that stereotype in a nondebilitating way, it’s probably folks who live here and know mountain people.

What’s gratifying, in the end, is how concerned and responsive readers are when it comes to questions of taste, humor, bigotry etc. These letters, along with the extensive debate and comment following the cartoon’s online appearance, reminded us yet again that many facets of our community are paying attention and are willing to sound off when something rubs them the wrong way.

Humor can be cutting and vicious; it can also help us grow. Even if you think we failed miserably in this case, Xpress always aims to do the latter.

Thanks much for your letters and online comments; active, thoughtful and empathetic people are what make this a great community.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

171 thoughts on “Hypocrisy on hillbillies

  1. Mysterylogger

    No the reason it was printed is because its in the mindset of the narrowminded that its ok to make fun of the locals that live here and will continue to live here.

    The locals don’t really read the MX and the one time someone did, it was a bad time.

    But what do the local’s know the cartoon is what most smug and snarky people that flock to this area for diversity. And what do the local folks get, a cartoon making them look like a bunch hicks. Thanks MX very classy.

    This prooves that this area is not a diverse as it claims. If it was that cartoon wouldn’t of been printed, nor defended. See the thing is is if that cartoon negatively impacted any other group of people it wouldnt of been drawn, but it was locals that get in the way of things . . . Asheville itself is a true life definition of hypocrisy.

  2. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Molton’s response is no more valid, or humorous, than his “Pigdemic” cartoon. The only difference is in the degree of smugness evident in his continued slur, and the letter writer, Alex Long, deserves better than Molton’s snarky response.

    Molton writes to Long: “Your concern for oppressed rural white people in our community is admirable.” So, exactly where are the “oppressed rural white people in our community”? And who is doing the oppressing? In that backhanded statement Molton continues a century of media stereotype that is trite at best and erroneous at worst, and ultimately debilitating to the people and economy of the region.

    Dating back to the 1850s, when New York cartoonists created the character of Sut Lovingood, the media obsessed over “hillbillies,” as if they had cornered the market on provincialism or racism in America. And now Molton, a century and a half later, continues in the same tired old vein, evidently blind to any historical or economic truths about the Asheville area.

    For Molton’s clichéd cartoon and subsequent limp response to Long, ignorant “hillbillies” (“oppressed rural white people”) once again get trotted out of the woods as the exclusive symbol of the region, the last “acceptable” slur in the country, however tired and trite. Even Saturday Night Live no longer airs such ethnic, racial, or cultural skits about “oppressed” groups. That’s old stuff, passé, and our nation has grown up beyond such base humor—except for a few alleged “humorists” such as Molton who, for lack of better ideas, recycles old stuff.

    Get a grip, Molton. We expect better from you. Apply your creative mind to more creative subject matter, and then we’ll appreciate your work. See if you can make fun of the H-word stereotype “in a nondebilitating way” as Elliston and Fobes suggest. My bet is that you can.

  3. travelah

    Molton’s response is nothing more than an expression of his ragtag disgust for the local people here who do not share his elitist heritage. Yet, he is entitled to it so grow some skin and take comfort in knowing that the local oppressed rural white people have people like Molton to look up to as new role models. How else can they better themselves if they don’t know they are oppressed???

  4. entopticon

    Last week travelah was making trailer trash jokes about me because I live in Candler, and this week he’s reborn as someone who is completely indignant about such humor. Hallelujah, it’s a miracle!

    Would you like to make some more disparaging remarks about the screen door on my supposed trailer again, travelah? It would make such a lovely contrast to your feigned indignation on this thread.

  5. travelah

    I think if you closed your az the cows in candler wouldn’t take such a bad rap. Add something to the topic of the thread or take your clown act elsewhere.

  6. entopticon

    Instead of, “Oh my God, that was astonishingly hypocritical of me. There I was making trailer trash jokes just a few days ago and now I am chastising others for less,” travelah just makes more jokes about country people. The cows here do just fine travelah, but we had to secure some of the fencing so that they wouldn’t get into the Spring crops. Since you were so curious and all.

    By the way, I was adding something to this thread, travelah. I was pointing out that a right-wing extremist such as you, who constantly berates anybody who wasn’t born and raised here despite the fact that this America, is just as guilty of making disparaging trailer trash jokes as the “elitist” cartoonist that you just condemned for it.

    Please travelah, by all means, explain to us all why it is fine for you to make trailer trash jokes about me because I live in Candler, even though you just harshed on Molton for doing the same exact thing.

    You and I both know that there is no excuse for that hypocrisy. The only proper response would be an earnest apology and some serious humility.

  7. travelah

    Well, I suppose we can be thankful that at least one real live hillbilly has responded to the thread. Thanks entoptee.

  8. entopticon

    Actually travelah, I share my land with a farmer from Alabama who is struggling to make ends meet. Right now he is out there with one of my neighbors (a farmer born and raised here) who is helping him tear up the dirt in one of the fields with his tractor. One of my other neighbors, also born and raised here in the mountains, helped us get an old tractor started the other day, like he has a number of times before.

    I guess that means you won’t be apologizing for the astonishing hypocrisy of harshing all over Molton for doing the exact same thing that you were doing just a few short days ago.

    I’ve certainly learned not to expect accountability or integrity from you. Any decent person who have admitted their hypocrisy and apologized; to me for the uncalled for trailer trash jokes, and to Molton for the hypocrisy of condemning him for something that you have been every bit as guilty of.

  9. entopticon

    That should have read “any decent person would have.” (which is certainly true)

  10. entopticon

    And just in case you missed it travelah, my main issue is not with your trailer trash jokes about me, which I think were uncalled for, but hardly a big deal. The real issue is with the hypocrisy of you berating Molton for the exact same thing that you were doing a few short days ago.

  11. john

    Entopticon and travelah, do you two actually have jobs? Work for a living? You sound like a couple of trust-ta-farians with too much time on your hands. I bet you two furiously typed your responses from a street table in downtown Asheville in the middle of the day—when adults are WORKING!

  12. Piffy!

    Sorry, did i miss the part where Molton said
    “All locals” are ignorant hillbillies?

    Or is that just all of you trying to play the victim instead of looking at this non-issue logically?

  13. entopticon

    (TCBY)…. Personally I didn’t think Molton’s cartoon was in the best of taste and I probably wouldn’t have published it, but I also wasn’t that offended by it. It was a joke. With travelah, I’m really just offended by his hypocrisy.

    That said, your argument doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. If a cartoon made fun of black stereotypes, would it have to say “all black people” are that way in order to be offensive? Of course not.

  14. entopticon

    Where did I say I was an expert farmer travelah? Will your head explode if you go five minutes without lying? You are one of the most dishonest people that I have ever encountered. Your lying appears to be some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s like you can’t stop yourself and you are incapable of feeling sorry for what you have done like some kind of sociopath.

    I busted you here for condemning Molton for the exact same thing you were just doing a few days ago. Any rational person would be crushed by embarrassment, but you just keep rambling right along.

    In no way am I an expert farmer. The farmer who farms my land is though, as is the neighbor who was here today doing tractor work.

    Why don’t you share some more of your hilarious trailer trash jokes with us now travelah?

  15. Jeff Fobes

    Travelah and Entopticon:
    It feels to me like you’re hijacking the issue to pursue your personal and private feud. This is a public space, intended for any and many to comment, and not one for one or two people to carry on an ongoing back and forth.

  16. entopticon

    Jeff, I disagree. I think my comments here were entirely relevant. Where did I, or even travelah for that matter, say that nobody else here could say that any or many can’t comment here as well?

    travelah made trailer trash jokes about me several times here on your blogs last week. What more appropriate forum could there be to address that issue than on a thread about the issue of making fun of such people?

    It was your paper that published the offensive cartoon in question. I didn’t make you publish a cartoon making fun of mountain people, essentially calling them pig f**kers. You did that all yourself Jeff. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  17. The Librarian

    As an outsider looking in, both Entopticon and Travelah’s little bicker fest sounds entirely too immature and unnecessary. Take your BS to Topix over at the Citizen Times where you’d fit in better. I appreciate the freedom of speech and all but damn…..grow up. Or go to Thunderdome. Cartoon was funny as hell, by the way.

  18. bobaloo

    If a cartoon made fun of black stereotypes, would it have to say “all black people” are that way in order to be offensive? Of course not.

    Good point. I completely agree.

    Fobes and Elliston:
    if anyone can make fun of that stereotype in a nondebilitating way, it’s probably folks who live here and know mountain people.

    Really? And what makes you qualified to be exempt from scrutiny if you stereotype one class of people as opposed to another? Let’s see a Molton cartoon stereotyping Latinos, then you defend it.

    Your concern for oppressed rural white people in our community is admirable.

    You are aware that not only not-white people are judged and oppressed in everyday life aren’t you?
    No, actually I don’t think you do.
    Your disdain and condescension are more offensive than your cartoon, Trudeau.

  19. travelah

    Jeff, My apologies … I will leave Mr. entopticon to his devices.
    My original post in the thread however was really a criticism of Mr. Molton’s insensitivities. It is not one of your shining moments. … But, well, just look at the attention it is getting and thats what it is all about, right?

  20. From Molton’s comments: “I am hopeful that one day, they shall overcome the bigotry of my cartoon to gain the same justice and equality enjoyed by the rest of us.”

    Imagine George Wallace telling a black person he was hopeful they would overcome his bigotry. WHAT?

    Bigotry is never deserved OR justified. This statement makes it sound like Molton feels just fine about his bigotry, because “they” deserve it. As in, “Maybe I’ll stop being bigoted against rural white people in Appalachia when they get some intelligence and purpose.” Did he even read any of the comments?

    And I’m sure the MX would be “gratified” by the concern and response they would have received from an NAACP lawsuit if this had focused on another group.

  21. entopticon

    Librarian, if you really think that cartoon was funny as hell, it’s you that seriously needs to grow up. And come up with some more original material, because the thunderdome crack was pretty pathetic.

  22. entopticon

    Actually John, I have some illnesses that leave me with a lot of time in front of the computer. What’s your excuse?

  23. entopticon

    Thank you bobaloo. I actually also agree with your point that the XPress is accountable for a measure of hypocrisy, because as you rightly pointed out, they would never have the right-wing equivalent of that cartoon in their paper.

    There are plenty of right-wing cartoons making fun of immigrants, welfare mothers, Obama’s ethnicity, etc, etc, but the XPress would never publish them even though it pretends to be fair and balanced. They seem to want to have their cake and eat it too instead of being honest about their liberal leanings. Apparently, that’s what lead to them firing Asheville’s most beloved reporter, Cecil Bothwell.

    There is a place for offensive humor. It can be a way for people to address their prejudices with levity, rather than hiding them in the darkness.

    The more I consider that particular cartoon, the more offensive I find it, and Molton’s response was certainly snarky and a bit offensive as well, but he was hired to be snarky and provocative. I think the responsibility ultimately rests on Jeff and John’s shoulders, and they blew it. I found their editors’ response to be far less than satisfactory. Personally, I wouldn’t have published a cartoon calling the locals pig f**ckers.

  24. person #1

    The presence of Molton in the Xpress is much, much better than the absence of Molton. He does not need editorial censorship, and I imagine he has taken note that last week’s effort was not well received.

  25. entopticon

    Person #1, I have no major problem with most of Molton’s cartoons, and I certainly don’t expect him to censor himself. He was hired to be snarky, caustic, and provocative.

    That said, if the editors can’t make the judgement call not to disparage the local population as a bunch of ignorant pig f**kers, why even have editors?

    I do find it a bit strange and more than a bit hypocritical that the XPress pretends to be objective, when they have published nothing but left-leaning cartoons. If they published the right-wing equivalent to some of Molton’s cartoons, their readership would be absolutely outraged. Jeff and John need to either correct that disparity and start publishing caustic right-wing cartoons or stop pretending that it is not an overwhelmingly left-leaning alt-weekly, which would be the honest thing to do.

    This situation brings to mind the recent controversy over the NY Post’s cartoon comparing Obama’s stimulus plan to the deranged chimpanzee that tore off a woman’s face. Many were outraged that it was published, including many NY Post employees.

    One difference is that with the post cartoon, which was certainly insensitive considering the long history of portraying black people as apes, there was more than one way to interpret it. With the XPress cartoon that isn’t really the case. No matter how you slice it, it is poking fun at mountain people, calling them ignorant pig f**kers.

    The boycotts of the Post didn’t go too far after the Post’s half-hearted apology. Likewise, the XPress’s half-hearted apology will probably be enough to prevent major problems for them. That and the fact that it wasn’t their primary target audience that was being made fun of.

  26. John

    This is John, not john .. even though I pretty much agree with john. The feud is getting old.

    Everyone who lives here should read, “The French Broad” by Wilma Dykeman. We may talk funny and live simply, but our onion has as many layers as any other culture. Wilma’s award winning book does much to illustrate that fact.

    Another note: Nobody has thick skin any more. Everyone is so ‘sensitive’. What ever happened to ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me’? When Hillbillies get PC, it is a truly a sad state of affairs.

  27. Piffy!

    “””As an outsider looking in, both Entopticon and Travelah’s little bicker fest sounds entirely too immature and unnecessary. Take your BS to Topix over at the Citizen Times where you’d fit in better. I appreciate the freedom of speech and all but damn…..grow up. Or go to Thunderdome. Cartoon was funny as hell, by the way. “””


  28. entopticon

    (C3pO)… Are you really so dense that you can’t just skip over my posts if you don’t want to read them? Amazing.

  29. entopticon

    Oh, and by the way the (R2D2)… do you realize that you go off topic to personally attack me on virtually every thread I post on even though you whine and whine about going off topic? Are you really so dense that the laughable hypocrisy of that is lost on you too?

    The only actual point that you made on this thread was the completely asinine argument that unless a cartoonist specifies that he means every single person of the stereotype that he is making fun of, people shouldn’t be offended. As if a stereotype of a black person portrayed as a chimpanzee eating watermelon wouldn’t be offensive unless the cartoonist said “all black people are represented by this cartoon.”

    Apparently you spend all of your time taking ham-fisted potshots at me because you have nothing of value to offer.

  30. Piffy!

    Jesus Christ, he never quits does he?

    I guess i’ll just ramble on about how much i like carrots.

    Yum, carrots are so tasty.

    Especially out of the garden. MMMMMM-MMMM!

  31. Piffy!

    Yes they are!

    I should know!

    I have 7 master’s degrees in carrot tasting!

    I should know!

  32. Piffy!

    Oh my god!

    What i have to say is SO important and full of value!

    Look at mee!!!!

  33. Piffy!

    entopticon– Are you really so dense that you can’t just skip over my posts if you don’t want to read them? Amazing.

  34. entopticon

    And how many off-topic posts is that now the (RU486)? How exactly to you reconcile that with your whining about going off topic? Be honest, did you eat paint when you were a child? Something has to explain your hysterically funny inability to recognize your own hypocrisy.

    Who said I don’t like to read your posts? I actually find your flailing attempts to be clever very entertaining. You are the one who comes here to attack me and complain about me over and over again. All I do is respond to your idiocy.

  35. Piffy!

    Well, to be fair, entop, there are a lot of people who complain about you and your pompous, self-righteous rambling.

    I really cant let you give me all the credit.

    Thanks for calling me a hypocrite, though, without noticing the irony in that.

  36. Piffy!

    entop-I actually find your flailing attempts to be intelligent very entertaining. You are the one who comes here to ramble on about and complain about me over and over again. All I do is respond to your idiocy.

  37. entopticon

    The (RU486), no one ever complains about your posts, aside from just about everybody.

    Actually, you can’t name a time when I started attacking you personally without provocation, because it never happened. Every single time it has been a matter of you making an unprovoked personal attack against me, and all I have done is not put up with your pathetic insults.

    I proved your hypocrisy. It was ridiculously easy. You whine and whine about me going off topic, when you make off-topic posts over and over and over again (at least 8 times in this thread alone) and I haven’t been the only one to point that out. No matter how you slice it, that is hypocritical. You can’t substantiate your accusation of hypocrisy because as usual, you are just talking out of your ass.

    It really is amusing the way that you have to parrot my words because you can’t even come up with a relevant thought.

  38. shadmarsh

    Also, are you and Trav really need to do something about all that sexual tension you seem to be developing. Just saying.

  39. entopticon

    Only where it applies. If you don’t think it’s hypocritical to whine and whine about going off topic, and then post a litany of off topic posts, I don’t know what to tell you.

  40. entopticon

    Hillbilly’s what? Hillbilly’s synonyms? What do your posts have to do with hillbillies?

  41. entopticon

    I spoke my mind on the subject. As far as I can tell you are just here to talk crap because you haven’t said a relevant word.

  42. entopticon

    Apparently you, chief. That or you don’t know what projecting means. Just scroll up and you will see that I actually said quite a bit on the subject. For example, my posts at 12:05pm and 3:05pm.

    In fact, anything that I said on the topic is 100% more than you have said on the topic. So yes, the incontrovertible answer to your question is you. You are projecting and I just proved it.

  43. post

    The forums are a goober free-for-all, and that’s fine. But how about incorporating a five- or seven-post daily maximum for commenting on MX stories (Hanke excluded).

    That’s plenty enough posts to comment on stories, or engage in a well-thought out debate, and only entop, pfkap and one or two others far exceed this number regularly, to no effect.

    I don’t think the general online reading public would mind if the quality of some of these story-related discussions improved a little.

    All this off-topic, internet rivalry stuff belongs in the goober forums.

  44. shadmarsh

    Dude, you’re the only one that actually reads anything your write.

  45. The Joker

    The PfkAP is a sock puppet named RU486, a distant cousin of R2D2, who constantly projects her own low self esteem onto the esteemed entopticon. Can we have some transparency here?

    Also, it is quite clear that entopticon has an obsessed admirer in the anonymous moniker named travelah. Personally, I think entopticon should give into travelah’s advances, and agree to meet him at travelah’s singlewide in Clyde for a get together. Travelah, entopticon can be swayed by a bottle of Ripple and Chicken of the Sea canned tuna. Haute cuisine to a trailer dweller. :)

  46. Piffy!

    i skim through it to count the times he uses the word “liar” and “hypocrite”.

    so far, the total is 333 and 792, respectively.

    it’s also funny how he thinks he’s everyoe’s savior.

  47. entopticon

    Actually, the shad, I don’t doubt that you don’t read my posts before making your asinine criticisms. Dude. Dudey-dude-dude. Dudina. Dudarealla.

  48. entopticon

    I skimmed through to count the number of times that The (RU486) said carrots, and it’s a lot. I also skimmed through to count how many relevant comments he has made compared to all of his pointless ad hominem attacks. 9 to 1 ratio. Very impressive.

  49. What is the point, MX, of moderating and approving comments before they appear if this is the kind of inane crap that gets published? Take your personal issues elsewhere. No one cares.

  50. entopticon

    Well post, since you haven’t contributed a single relevant thought to the topic, it seems like you have some catching up to do. Would it kill you to at least make one relevant post before going off topic to whine about people going off topic?

    It is certainly ironic that you chose to use the pejorative term goober, a slight against country people, in your sanctimonious rant.

    You choose to speak out against off topic posts by only making off topic posts yourself and you want to raise the quality of a discussion on offensive stereotypes of mountain people by referring to people here as goobers. Amazingly, I am guessing that the absurd hypocrisy of that is completely lost on you.

  51. shadmarsh

    Actually, the shad, I don’t doubt that you don’t read my posts before making your asinine criticisms. Dude. Dudey-dude-dude. Dudina. Dudarealla.

    Write something worth reading and I will read it…and say what you want about me, at least I am smart enough not to get pwned by Travelah.

  52. entopticon

    Sorry the shad, but if you think I have been owned by travelah, you are not smart enough to read.

  53. localvokal

    Here’s my 2 cents. Since living here since 1974 and see so many changes. I have to say that I laugh when I travel to other cities and tell people I’m from Asheville and they respond with…”ohhh, it must be wonderful living there, so liberal and progressive and artsy”
    I think to myself- yes, but only on the outside.
    People come here with all the right words…
    “namaste, blessings to you, eracism”.. wonderful slogans, but unfortunatly that seems to be where it ends.
    I’m liberal politically and socially, but I’ve never seen such hypocrisy in any I’ve ever lived in.
    The people who have come to Asheville over the years,who think they are so supremely enlighted, well they haven’t shown that to me. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated so poorly. I’ve been here long enough to basically be a local and when I tell newcomers that, I see their noses go straight up and a vary clear air of “I know way more than you” eventually comes over them.
    I’m saddened by my fellow liberals and the lack of decency they show. We do move at a slower pace here and we do say “please” and ‘thanks”. We let people in traffic and smile at eachother. It’s not a bad thing, actually kind of makes life a bit more tolerable. I see that way of relating to eachother just about to disappear forever here, and instead I get cut off in traffic by a car with a bumper sticker that says “Namaste”.

  54. travelah

    “Write something worth reading and I will read it…and say what you want about me, at least I am smart enough not to get pwned by Travelah.”

    Thats why you might be mayor someday!

  55. shadmarsh


    So you can tell someone’s political views by the way they drive? That sounds like a superpower. There is a thread in the forums for that.

    and ftw, I have been nearly killed by someone sporting a lovely “Native” tag on their car (not sure about their political leanings tho), tailgated and flicked off by someone proudly displaying the stars and bars, and watched others with all sorts of Righty bumper stickers toss trash out their windows and drive like idiots.

    Im sure there are plenty of lefties out there who do the same thing, I just don’t think ones political views should be considered when deciding whether or not they are a douche.

  56. localvokal

    Political views were used as an example only, it was not the main thrust of my point.

    So your angry post really helps make my point for me, well done.

  57. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Meggitymegs addressed negative stereotypes so well (on the “Fighting Back” thread), and I could not say it better, so I will quote her here: “I think it’s along the same lines of the N-word and the Q-word. You can own it and refer to yourself with it, and others within the community can use it acceptably, but it is still considered offensive if someone from outside those groups uses it—in most cases it is considered hate speech.”

    Mountain “hillbillies” are well aware of this, as are all other minority groups.

  58. Mike Swanson

    I am watching “Deliverance” at the moment. Haven’t screened it in a long time. I forgot the part in the beginning about the fat, yankee, smarty pants city boy, who laughed at the “hillbillys” at the beginning of the movie. He ended up playing the part of the pig from Molton’s cartoon. Sorry about the visual here. But I can’t help but feel satisfied that that smart mouthed city guy certainly changed his tune. :)

    I’ve got an idea. You transplants who look down on the local mountain people here, go back where you came from so you don’t have to breathe the same air. I’m sure New Jersey, Maine, and Connecticutt are much more to your liking. I mean all you’d have to put up with there is people who pronounce car “cah”, bar “bah”, coffee “cwofee”, and call every other guy “Vinnie”. Yes, much better culture up there where middle class people cannot afford to buy a house because of the high property taxes. Brownstone apartment rental in The Bronx. Yes, much superior to living on your own land here in a trailer. Yankee, correct yourself and accept the local culture here, or go back home.

    Are your ears burning Randy? :)

  59. localvokal


    Thank you for writing the article, although I’m sorry that a need to write about this discrimination exsists, but unfortunatly there is a negative stereotype on mountain people.
    I think this misunderstanding is similiar to Americans who travel abroad and refuse to try to adapt or at least respect other cultures, it seems a similiar example of how some who move here treat locals.
    My hope is that newcomers will try to see their lives here as a cultral diversity journey and although it maybe foriegn to them, at least respect the differences.

    My experience with local/mountain people and families over the last thirty years has been an education in a culture that is being lost. Although, I was reluctant when I first moved here to understand the mountain ways, I now look back and see that my life was enriched by keeping my mind open to their cultural ways.

    Mountain people are much smarter than most give them create. We only imagine the determination to survive in these mountains before roads, stores, and electricty? It may not take academic smarts to survive, but it takes an ingenious amount of skill, determination and understanding of nature to have survived here. The mountain people have an intelligence that is not given the kind of respect it deserves and that’s just a pity.

  60. entopticon

    Holy cow… and I thought travelah was a bit nuts. It never would have occurred to me that someone would actually take perverse satisfaction in watching the Ned Beatty character get brutally sodomized in Deliverance. That is some seriously crazy stuff.

    I hate to lessen your enjoyment of that scene Mike, but the character who was raped was not a “yankee.” He was one of a group of Atlanta businessmen on a weekend rafting trip. Hopefully that won’t make it more difficult for you to satisfy yourself the next time you watch Ned Beatty getting sodomized by a mountain man telling him to squeal like a pig.

  61. John

    I think Mike mistook “yankee’ for “fatty”, the term of endearment that Burt Reynolds used all during the film.

  62. Jon Elliston

    meggitymegs made a good point or two:

    “What is the point, MX, of moderating and approving comments before they appear if this is the kind of inane crap that gets published? Take your personal issues elsewhere.”

    I think we’d all do well to steer clear of the inane and insulting diversions that are cropping up in this thread, which is where at least some serious people are providing thoughtful dialog on an important topic.

    ***Please be civil and help us all stay on topic here. Those posters who can’t do so will have to be placed in moderation.***

    Thanks for reading and writing,

    Jon Elliston
    Mountain Xpress

  63. entopticon

    I don’t mean to give you a hard time Jon, but that begs the question which I asked earlier, which has gone unanswered..

    “if the editors can’t make the judgement call not to disparage the local population as a bunch of ignorant pig f**kers, why even have editors?”

    Where is the line drawn? Is there something more offensive than joking that the locals are ignorant hicks that have sex with pigs? If there is, it is beyond me, but I am honestly curious. What would it take?

    Maybe it is just me, but it seems ironic to to talk about civility and avoiding inane and insulting diversions, after you started out the thread with a snarky defense of your uncivil, inane and insulting cartoon that you published, rather than an honest apology.

    Am I wrong? Is calling the local mountain people ignorant pig f**kers not uncivil, insulting, and inane? And that begs the question, why publish something making fun of the local population as ignorant pig f**kers on the one hand, and call for civility on the other? Making fun of people for being ignorant pig fornicators, and then chiding people about civility just seems more than a bit bizarre to me. It’s hard to think of a more obvious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Again, I’m sorry to give you a hard time about it, but I feel it’s the 800lb gorilla in the room.

  64. localvokal

    I not sure Thomas Wolfe was “Hillybilly”.

    Or my friend Scott Cohen, who born and raised in Asheville, he is presently the architect for the new wing of the Museum of Modern Art in NY city.

    Or how about Roberta Flack or Warren Hayes?

    How about some other writers, John Ehle and Charles Frazier.
    Or maybe the painter Kenneth Noland.

    Stereotypes don’t work, they are offensive and show a lack of understanding of a much bigger picture.

  65. shadmarsh

    You are confusing a humorous (in intent and tradition anyway) cartoon that appears in the paper with an editorial stance…or something.

    And, correct me if I am wrong, but are you actually giving someone else a lecture in civility? Now that is comedy!

  66. One thing that I take issue with on some of these threads are the overtones that the cartoon is somehow remotely terrible as racism. The last time I checked none of my “country folk” friends had any relatives that were hung up on a tree or beaten for being a hillbilly. So let’s not forget that. Whether or not the cartoon was good or bad, original or unoriginal, is a matter of opinion and taste. But it did spark discussion. However, the overtones of equating this to the stereotypes attached to black people are offensive to me — as a white person. Also, this cartoon did not single out one particular person either. I’m not even justifying it, but it wasn’t your brother, sister, or mother, unless you know something that we don’t about a secret love of barnyard animals.

  67. localvokal

    Actually, Limabeancounter, I know of an act of direct brutality committed against someone of Appalachian descent. A horrific, physical brutality and terrible verbal abuse,given simply because the person was seen as country/simple/uneducated/not good enough…ring any bells of other cultures treated this way?

    No one is saying it’s equal to the suffering of African Americans, but sterotyping a culture with a sexual act with an animal is pretty sick stuff. It’s offensive…white, black, yellow, green, doesn’t matter. Then, beyond that, the reply given by Randy Molton was almost as insulting.

  68. entopticon

    I am not confusing anything, the shad. There are countless cases of newspapers apologizing for and/or refusing to publish cartoons because of offensive content. It’s not the job of the cartoonist to decide what crosses the line, it’s the job of the editors. Above I cited a recent case in the NY Post that caused a great deal of anger and controversy.

    Of course the editors are responsible for the content of what they choose to publish, and if calling the local ignorant pig f**kers doesn’t cross the line, what does?

    “And, correct me if I am wrong, but are you actually giving someone else a lecture in civility”

    OK, I will correct you, because as usual, you were in fact wrong. No I was not. I was making a perfectly reasonable observation, that it is a bit absurd to call people a bunch of ignorant pig f**kers, and then to get on a high horse about civility. I’ve never pretended that I wasn’t caustic at times.

    The point is, if I called you an ignorant pig f**ker and then turned around and chided you for being uncivil, that would be ridiculously unreasonable, so I am having trouble seeing why Jon thinks it is reasonable for him to do exactly that.

    I’m open to some reasonable explanation, but I don’t see one, so I was making a genuine and entirely reasonable inquiry.

  69. shadmarsh

    the cartoon insinuated the pig fornication, it did not call anyone anything. I think you are doing that thing you keep accusing everyone else of doing…what did you call it again?

    Perhaps nuance is not your forte (I am guessing turning every single issue no matter how trivial or banal into a personal slight is your forte, but that just me) and you just have a hard time seeing the various shades and subtleties behind bestiality jokes…who knows.

    It would seem to me that you are just looking for something to argue about. I don’t think I am far off on that, but feel free to construct some lame attempt at insult somehow involving my name used in a completely uncreative way. That’ll learn me.

    Also, just curious, any plans to issue a fatwah on Moulton?

    Also, on a more general note: Its a freaking cartoon folks, sheesh!

  70. entopticon

    Sorry the shad, but your argument doesn’t hold water. It was in fact stereotyping mountain people as ignorant pig f**kers. That’s what a stereotype is.

    “It would seem to me that you are just looking for something to argue about.”

    That’s because your arrogance far exceeds your perceptiveness. A whole lot of people were offended by this cartoon, not just me. My wife for example, was horrified. The above letter to the editor, and I’m sure many others, are evidence that I am not just randomly look for something to be offended about, despite your asinine claim.

    “Also, just curious, any plans to issue a fatwah on Moulton?”

    If you had read my posts you would know that I believe the blame rests with the editors, not Molton, who was hired to make caustic jokes. It’s not his job to draw the line. His reply certainly could have been more sensitive though.

    “Also, on a more general note: Its a freaking cartoon folks, sheesh!”

    Golly, gee wilikers, sheesh dude, yeah, it’s not like a cartoon could possibly be offensive, what a good argument the shad. Yeah, you are just so right. History is completely devoid of offensive cartoons.

    Sheesh yourself.

  71. entopticon

    Well the shad, I don’t think anyone has ever accused you of being particularly perceptive, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you are wrong about that as well. Yes, I have a stunningly beautiful, amazingly sweet, exceptionally intelligent wife. To be perfectly honest, I think you keep obsessively taking these pathetic personal digs at me to compensate for the vacuousness of your arguments.

  72. entopticon

    Golly the shad, I don’t know. Now you just have me so confused. I was pretty sure she wasn’t a mannequin, but now you made me doubt myself. I always wondered why someone that beautiful and successful would go for me.

    Jon Elliston has also seen my wife around because we have a lot of friends in common. Maybe that means Jon is delusional too. She’s from this area so she knows a lot of people, but maybe they were all fooled as well. They make really good mannequins these days.

    The tripe that you substitute for wit certainly is entertaining. Whatever your motivation is for these obsessive personal attacks, it really is amusing.

  73. entopticon

    I do know how you come off the shad. Do you really think your curiously obsessive, unprovoked, embarrassingly impish personal attacks on me reflect well on you?

  74. entopticon

    “you use the word obsessive a lot…that may be a hint.”

    Seriously, are you in the 8th grade? Do you really think you are being witty? What is your problem?

  75. shadmarsh

    I think you need help. I apologize if you were unable or unwilling to take a little good natured ribbing, but your posts are riddled with personal attacks on pretty much everyone and I simply responded to that. I mean that help thing seriously, its not a joke at your expense.

  76. entopticon

    I need help? My posts are riddled with personal attacks, as opposed to your asinine posts here and on pretty much every other thread? You are a riot. Look in the mirror sometime. Good natured ribbing? Are you on glue? You hypocrisy is laughable, and seriously, that’s not just a joke at your expense.

  77. Piffy!

    “””You really have no idea how you come off do you? “””

    He’s kinda the kanye west of the blogs, form what i can tell.

    total gay fish.

  78. entopticon

    Oooh, the (R2D2), wow, more unprovoked, dimwitted attacks on me. The Kanye West of blogs, total gay fish, wacka-wacka-wacka, what a wild and crazy guy you are. Golly sport, you could be the next Andrew Dice Clay.

    So what’s that now, a 10 to 1 ratio of off-topic posts, from the same guy who loves to rant and whine about off-topic posts? It just gets funnier every time.

  79. Piffy!

    “Is the N-word now back in vogue?”

    First off, to compare the term “hillbilly” to the word “Nigger” is absurd and offensive to the intellect. The two ‘groups’ experiences are ABSOLUTELY not comparable.

    secondly, “the n-word” has been “in vogue” for quite a while.

  80. entopticon

    12 to 2.

    Show me where I ever claimed that I don’t ever use those terms. I can show you whining about going off topic, and that is certainly laughably hypocritical of you (a 12 to to ratio in fact). Look, there goes another time.

    As for your latest argument, what’s offensive to the intellect is your sanctimonious ignorance. Hillbilly may not be as pejorative as the N word, but rural Appalachian people are among the poorest people in the United States. Clay eating and malnutrition are not uncommon.

    It is a well-established fact that they suffer many of the same obstacles as poor black people. They are regularly denied educational and job opportunities. Often factors such as a lack of access to dental care and transportation make them unable to find employment that pays a living wage.

    I have close friends who are social workers that work with both impoverished rural whites and impoverished inner city black people and they feel very differently than you do. If you studied sociology in college, you took very different classes than I did, or you would not be making the argument that you did. There are certainly prejudices that black Americans suffer that whites do not, but to minimize the experiences of rural Appalachian whites is seriously misguided.

  81. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I am truly saddened that an opportunity for serious discussion about a serious century-old problem for many local people has seemingly deteriorated beyond salvation.

    My sensibilities recoiled when I saw Molton’s cartoon alongside my original commentary, but I held out hope that the MX readership would see the cartoon as an example of the inherent problem (which many did). Subsequence response, however, has deteriorated into such off-topic personal bickering that the intent of my commentary has been lost; and my dismay has grown with the refusal of MX and Molton to acknowledge their complicity in allowing the repulsive stereotypes to continue and even to grow more insidious tentacles.

    I think an apology by MX to the targeted people would have been just as futile as Michael Richards (Kramer) trying to apologize for his racial slurs at an LA comedy club, and I neither wanted nor expected that, but I do think MX could have brought an end to the escalating, unfounded insults to local Appalachian people by moderating the posts and by formulating an acceptable response of their own. If MX wants their newspaper to contribute to the growth of themselves and the region, or to expand their readership, then ridiculing local people through insensitive cartoons and unmoderated forums is certainly not the way.

    Ultimately EVERYONE who lives here, native or otherwise, is damaged with such blatant stereotypes that hinder the positive growth and reputation of the region.

    For the past century, companies that have considered WNC for placing new enterprises have looked for local people (“hands”) to do their low-level jobs, while bringing in management and executives (the “brains”) from outside; and now fewer such executives consider Appalachia a place where they would want to bring their own families to live or where intelligent local people with brains might be available for employment. The negative “hillbilly” stereotypes are known far and wide, and are believed as truth. ?

    Further compounding the problem, too many of our local governments are now made up of second-rate pseudo-leaders who are interested primarily in promoting tourism at any cost. But who, we might ask, will own the new hotels and mountaintop second-homes and assorted eateries the appointed tourist boards and self-serving chambers of commerce say we need—and who will be paying increased taxes for infrastructure to support them, and who will be cleaning their rooms and waiting their tables and manicuring their lawns?

    The local “hands,” of course, are expected to do such menial jobs, and to pay more taxes for the opportunity to support the outside opportunists. This expectation is deeply embedded in our history and culture, and it is even embedded in our language. “He/she is a good hand to_____,” people say.

    All of us have perpetuated the stereotype of “ignorant hillbilly” simply by not rising up and fighting it, by picking up our pine knots and declaring war. And the management of MX could help fight it, too, if they wanted to. They could support the diversity in our great region, embrace it to include all people, and maybe even broaden their readership in the meantime.

  82. shadmarsh

    If MX wants their newspaper to contribute to the growth of themselves and the region, or to expand their readership, then ridiculing local people through insensitive cartoons and unmoderated forums is certainly not the way.

    I am a little fuzzy on how one would “contribute to growth” through censorship.

    All of us have perpetuated the stereotype of “ignorant hillbilly” simply by not rising up and fighting it, by picking up our pine knots and declaring war

    What is it with the declaring war on things?
    violence only begets violence.

  83. brebro

    Well, declaring a “feud” would have just perpetuated the stereotype, so at least “war” is preferable in that respect.

  84. brebro

    That reminds me, we need to get a petition going against the producers of “Family Feud” together. Can you imagine an inner-city game show called “Projects Drive-By?” Of course not, but make it about hillbillies and anything goes….

  85. Piffy!

    “Clay eating …(is) not uncommon. ”

    Please do provide some sources for this interesting tidbit. I mean, i’ve eaten a lot fo dumpstered food, but never had to eat clay.

    And anyone who thinks they can make an even comparison between the term “hillbilly” and “Nigger” is an ignorant moron completely unaware of history.

  86. Piffy!

    “violence only begets violence. ”

    My redneck* buddy used to have that painted on the side of his work truck.

    *his term, not mine. I prefer ‘drunken carpenter’.

  87. shadmarsh

    “Clay eating …(is) not uncommon. “

    It’s called geophagy.

  88. Betty Cloer Wallace

    For commenters above and Buzzardbilly on “Fighting Back” thread:

    I do get your reasoned analysis, but I can think of not one single derogatory word/name/slur that has negatively defined any group for centuries by outside elitists that the abused group was ever able to rehabilitate successfully, and such efforts to do so have always ended up causing even more grief and prolonging the abuse.

    I don’t see any future in trying to redefine and give new meaning to slurs such as “chink,” “dago,” “kike,” “nigger,” “coon-ass,” “injun,” “portygee,” or “hillbilly”—and I have not even gotten to the gender-based slurs and sexual-preference slurs and physical-characteristic slurs—words given to groups of people by outsiders for the express purpose of demeaning them.

    Yes, the meaning of both negative and positive words do sometimes change over time (“bitch,” for example), but I don’t see people WORLDWIDE ever coming to think of “hillbilly” as anything but a negative. It’s too widespread internationally with derogatory meaning. It’s too far gone. And unfortunately it has become so integrated with the “redneck” lifestyle in the minds of so many people internationally because of media portrayals that untangling the two is pert nigh impossible.

    Our familiar words for ourselves were traditionally “highlander” and “mountaineer” (in addition to names designating our countries of origin), and those words still carry positive connotations. Why not just beef up our own words to describe ourselves and to convey our message of who we are and how we live?

    I hear President Obama say how proud he is of his cultural and racial heritage, but I don’t hear him saying how “proud” he is to be called a “nigger.” Cherokee Chief Michell Hicks speaks with pride of his heritage and culture, but he does not say how “proud” he is to be called an “injun.” Those words will never be cleaned up, so it is best to excise them from the language and move on. There is something to be said for political correctness when it means avoiding serious rudeness and hurtful insensitivity, especially for children.

    I am supremely proud of my heritage, my culture, my ethics and morals, my inclusiveness toward others, where I live, and how I live, but you will never hear me publicly announce that I am “proud” to be called a “hillbilly” by people who want to demean me or my people. You will also never hear me refer to anyone else with any widely-known cultural, racial, ethnic, or personal slur.

    Even so, having said all this, my family members and I sometimes affectionately call each other “hillbilly” (and worse), but ‘tis fighting words when someone outside our group calls us such things. They have not earned the right.

    Now that I think about it, therein lies the crux of the matter. I do not feel that I have to prove myself or my worth to people who cannot or do not want to see it.

  89. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I agree that violence begets violence, but use of the term “picking up pine knots and going to war” refers to verbal conflict and reasoned argument, not actual head-knocking.

    The Irish and Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots) among us brought the term from Ireland, from the Irish word “shillelagh” (shi-lay-lee) meaning a club or cudgel, a pine knot with a section of limb attached to it for a handle, used in the manner of a hammer. Or, two intersecting limbs can be fashioned into a hammer-shaped shillelagh.

    You still occasionally hear the nickname “Shillelagh” or “Shally” derived from this word.

  90. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Travelah, I have heard of the Cloers in Clyde, but I do not know them or know if we are related. My Cloer family lives in Macon County, first appearing on the 1840 census in the Cowee community and then moving to the Cartoogechaye community.

  91. brebro

    I know a Clifton Clowers that lives on Wolverton Mountain (by the way, the bears and birds tell him If a stranger should wander there, so don’t go up there if you’re lookin’ for a wife).

  92. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Check out these comprehensive resources on Appalachia (available on Amazon and in local bookstores):

    THE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF APPALACHIA: More Than 4,700 Books, Articles, Monographs and Dissertations, Topically Arranged and Indexed (John R. Burch, Jr.)

    DICTIONARY OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN ENGLISH (Michael B. Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall)

  93. localvokal

    My opinion is Randy Molton’s comics aren’t that funny. Comic commentary should be generally funny to most.
    I have to say, I’ve rarely thought Mr. Molton’s comics were funny.
    I get the feeling he tries to be so groovey, that he misses.

  94. localvokal

    I’m just wondering if Edgy Mama would encourage parents to get their kids to read the Xpress?

    It’s bizarre to have articles relating to raising children on one page and then jokes that talk about the culture they have to live within in a negative light and makes references to sexual acts with animals…just doesn’t work in my opinion.
    This magazine needs to decide what audience they are writing for. The two just don’t mix.

    I’m not for censorship, but a publication that incorporates kids art work at Christmas and then lame, perverted jokes,14 year old humor, well it just doesn’t go in the same magazine.

    Mountain Xpress, your a more intelligent publication that the crap you are defending.

    Who are your readers? What’s your goal as a magazine? Edgy, political, commentary is one thing, but sick, really sick jokes aren’t funny.

  95. Piffy!

    “Mountain Xpress, your a more intelligent publication that the crap you are defending. ”

    Your know fun,local vokal.

  96. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I think many of the people with Confederate flags on their vehicles have both North-South heritages but wave that particular flag for effect as a chosen lifestyle. I even know one young Asian man who thinks it looks “tough” to display the Confederate flag alongside his “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. When I asked him what his snake flag represented, he said he got it at the recent Tea Party rally on the town square. He knew it meant the right to protest, but he wasn’t sure what he was protesting. “Taxes, I think,” he said, although he admitted that he had never paid taxes in this country. He was just here going to school.

    Many people in WNC and East Tennessee during the Civil War would have remembered their grandfathers who fought in the Revolution and had moved into these mountains from the coastal cities. Their family war stories were still fresh at that time, and their pride in their new freedom, their new democracy, their new country, contributed to their spirit of independence. The sad part came with the divergence of how they exercised that independence, whether their allegiance was to decisions made in their state capitals or national capital.

    And such split allegiance continues to this day as about twenty states have pending legislation regarding portions of their state seceding from an established state, while a few states are considering seceding from the nation.

    If our state legislature voted now to secede from the United States, I wonder how many WNC people would want to do so.

    If WNC counties joined together and wanted to secede from North Carolina, I wonder how many people would want to do so. That scenario comes up occasionally whenever we are ignored, neglected, or snubbed by Raleigh.

    Our spirit of independence historically has been alive and well in WNC, and still is, and it has taken some surprising twists and turns through the years.

    And, as a nation, we are still so young and flexible.

  97. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Real McCoy:

    In Appalachia, we know who we are, and who we are not, but the media long ago defined us to the rest of the world as ignorant, genetically deformed, incestuous, and immoral “Tobacco Road” and “Deliverance” characters (if you have not read these books or seen these culture-defining films, you should)—as well as lazy Snuffy Smith and Li’l Abner cartoon characters with one-gallused overalls kicking dogs off the porch, hormonally-enhanced Daisy Maes, unworldly Beverly Hills Clampetts, and O Brother convicts without enough sense to get in out of the rain—and now we have sex-with-pigs characters in “Pigdemic” added to our litany of depravity.

    But we are not those cartoon characters as long defined by the entertainment and news media and believed by millions of people worldwide. I am neither a Tobacco Road character nor Mammy Yokum nor Daisy Mae nor Granny Clampett nor any other cartoonish misrepresentation of my culture—and I doubt that you are a person as portrayed in such outlandish media, sodomizing tourists and such, but people worldwide really believe you are that person.

    Millions of people worldwide, upon hearing the word “hillbilly,” do believe these media portrayals, and therein lies the problem with our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Getting rid of the “hillbilly” slur is only the first step in rehabilitating these despicable images and the first step to being represented accurately with some semblance of dignity.

    I want us to be able to be who we really are and to be recognized as such, and to live as we so choose, with a place at the local and national and international table for every one of us, including our children and grandchildren, and the chance for our descendants to be President of the United States or greeters at Wal-Mart or whatever they want to be. But if we just tuck in our tails and shy away from the rest of the world, we are stealing our children’s future and committing them to lives of the same old demeaning stereotypes we have had to suffer, stereotypes that will certainly limit their livelihood economically and personally.

    With a global economy and global communication, e.g. Internet, we can no longer draw a circle around ourselves and shut out the rest of the world; and unless we pick up our pine knots and try to do something about it, we will continue to pick up newspapers and see demeaning portrayals of ourselves having sex with pigs. Our children surely deserve better than that.

  98. Piffy!


    if youve never fornicated with a pig, you just havent lived.

  99. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Since my “hillbilly stereotypes” commentary was published last week, I have received several contacts from gay and other-gendered people who have followed the discussion online and who are interested in why a number of persons commenting are so adamant about continuing the use of the word “hillbilly.” Their original supposition was that a local Asheville-area “billy foundation” or “hill billy clubs” (Hill Billy Clubs) were being formed to compete with the existing Billy Foundation and the growing number of Billy Clubs that are part of the original Billy Foundation in California.

    After I assured them that I knew nothing of their organization and that my commentary was certainly not intended to be representative of or contrary to or competitive with their mission, they began researching the matter and now say they are no longer concerned that their organizational charter is being infringed upon—but that they are concerned that continued use of the historical negative stereotypes for Appalachian “hillbillies” will be detrimental to “the growth and well-being” of their Billy Foundation in the future. Therefore, they say, they are supportive of all efforts to “excise the negative Appalachian ‘hillbilly’ word from the English language” so that the “supporters of the ‘hillbilly’ word with its history of negative connotations will not detract from the mission of the Billy Foundation and cast it in a bad light.”

    As information for MX and to any of you who have participated in this discussion, here is information that one of the aforementioned persons sent me, asking me to pass it on to the MX readership:

    /// The Billy Foundation is a non-profit organization in California with 501(c)3 status, guided by a Board of Directors that meets monthly to steer the growth of the organization. Through this Foundation, we produce six large gatherings each year and administer the Billy Emergency Support Fund for members. The foundation and associated clubs seek to foster the following: compassion, generosity, honesty, and respect for ourselves and for others; responsibility for ourselves, to each other, and to our community, including those in need; personal expression and growth; fun, frolic, and fabulousness; celebration of our sexual and spiritual natures; an environment conducive to our physical, emotional, and sexual health, safety, and well- being; welcoming and active integration of new Billys as well as openness to friends and family who share our values; diversity that embraces differences including race and ethnicity, class, age, body type, HIV status, physical ability, education, and financial circumstances. We welcome gay- identified transmen. the building of bridges to other communities that support our mission and share our values; authenticity; reverence for nature; and commitment to resolving conflict through active engagement. We encourage ourselves to be present and mindful by advocating an environment free of drugs and alcohol at our gatherings. We envision the creation of a world based on principles of nonviolence, sustainability, cooperation, service, and the building of deeper wisdom through shared perspective. Heart Circle is our central ritual and consensus is our process; they embody our values. If anyone wants to form a legitimate club as part of the Billy Foundation, we invite you to contact us online at http://www.billyclub.org/ ///

    My personal feeling about this information and turn of events is simply, “Now ain’t life always a surprise.” (BCW)

  100. John

    I’d like to see if Molton has the stones to make equally intense stereotypical cartoons about other groups. Let’s see him go after the hispanic, gay, black, women, arab, native american, etc groups. I bet he doesn’t have the guts.

  101. Just Me

    I am pretty sure that a good deal of locals/natives read the MountainX. I suppose our lack of emulating the steroetypes makes it harder to spot us…

  102. John

    Be care, Just Me, there are those who don’t think we should be allowed to read MX. Even though its free and probably all we can afford! Be ready to be censored.

  103. Mysterylogger

    I agree John, I doubt he would stereotpye anyone any other of the groups that exist. His excuse he graced us with shows us he doesnt care for the local folk.

  104. John

    The Billy Club is just doing marketing. Partnering with Hillbillies sure is an interesting tactic.

  105. Piffy!

    You all should figure out how to get paid making mountains out of mole-hills. You’re really good at it.

    Edit: *No offense intended towards moles*

  106. Betty Cloer Wallace

    John wrote: “I’d like to see if Molton has the stones to make equally intense stereotypical cartoons about other groups. Let’s see him go after the hispanic, gay, black, women, arab, native american, etc groups.”

    John, Molton’s cartoon was a slap in the face of local people on the same order of the professor saying right to Charles Frazier’s face at a dinner party, “Imagine that, a hillbilly with a PhD!”

    Neither Molton nor the professor would ever blatantly deliver a slap in the face like that to any of those other groups. Only “hillbillies” get that special treatment, since we’re expected to be so dumb as not to even know we’re being demeaned.

    We have all kinds of ways in which people are segregated into their separate little cubicles–sometimes consciously, sometime not. Sometimes it’s obvious, e.g. what kind of uniform one is expected to wear for certain jobs. But other kinds of segregation are far more subtle and insidious: invisible uniforms of sexism, ageism, racism, gender-ism, place-ism, accent-ism, dialect-ism.

    Susan Boyle unexpectedly breaking out of her expected cubicle (middle aged, dowdy) was a joy to see; and even the judges had the good grace to apologize to her for their preconceived low expectations.

  107. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Just Me wrote: “I do agree too, the world could use a lot more compassion all the way around and a lot less pre-judgement on appearence, accent, etc.”

    I remember distinctly about 1950 when I heard my family discussing the book and film, TOBACCO ROAD, with abject sadness that our way of life was being so misrepresented. That was my first inkling that the rest of the country did not see us as we saw ourselves.

    I lived in a safe, rural, wonder-filled world, though, and I could not imagine that it all might change. But in 1962 I graduated from high school and left WNC to go to college in California. Imagine that? California in the 60s? My first time out of WNC? And at a time when protests were being developed into a fine art? I was like a big-eyed girl at a circus, and I loved it.

    I studied English and Art and worked two jobs–at a Sambo’s Pancake House in Eureka (before that stereotyped business was quashed by public pressure and legal action) and at the Sugar n’ Spice Bakery in the McKinleyville Shopping Center.

    I grew really tired, though, of having people call me “hillbilly” and asking, “WHERE are you FROM?” every time I opened my mouth. I became more and more withdrawn and talked only when absolutely necessary, but I silently refused to change the way I talked. Mr. Pettersen, the owner of the bakery, regularly encouraged me to be more outgoing. “Just open up,” he’d say, “let us see the real you.”

    One day he came into the bakery and said, “Betty, there’s a girl out there in the gazebo (in the center of the U-shaped shopping center) singing her heart out, and she’ll be somebody big some day, just you wait and see.” Then he went on, “She talks just like you. Go out there and see her. She needs an audience.” He said her name was Loretta Lynn. I asked, “Loretta Lynn what?” “Just Loretta Lynn, her stage name.”

    So I went out to see her and stood there with about a dozen people, and she did talk like me, a language I had not heard for a long time–and she sang songs I knew–and before long I found myself in tears because I was so homesick.

    I still remembered that day years later after Loretta had become a star in glittery gowns with crowds of thousands–a long way from her white cowgirl outfit in the McKinleyville shopping center.

    I also never forgot Mr. Pettersen encouraging me to talk and open up. “Remember Loretta?” he’d say for months after that, which was his way of saying I should feel good about myself and where I came from. “What do they know,” he’d say about the customers who looked down their noses at me. “They’ve never been out of California.”

  108. chops

    Betty –

    Some will say that the Confederate flag represents independence, yet we all know that many will say it represents racism. Let’s be understanding of those who are offended by the image of the Confederate flag, just as we are willing to accept shame in a cartoon that was in poor taste.

    Would you join with me in demanding an apology from anyone who displays the Confederate flag?

  109. grimatongueworm

    Having solved all of the really important problems (Poverty, Climate change, AVL parking) Asheville’s Bloggerati turn their collective, razor-edged, snark machines to the colossally important issue of cultural stereotypes (that horse is dead).

    /Lifelong WNC resident (grew up in Madison County)
    //Not offended by pig joke.

  110. travelah

    Nobody owes you an apology for flying the Confederate flag any more than you owe them for your offensive speech (assuming they might be offended by your demand).

  111. boatrocker

    Let the spittle and accusations fly I guess.

    I’m not really offended by Molton’s cartoon for one reason- he’s used that stereotype so many times over the years that I cease to regard his cartoons as anything more than a lame attempt to fill space in a local publication. His depictions of just about everybody smack of irritating artwork and tired stereotypes.

    I saw some points raised- yes, inhabitants of this area found themselves so poverty stricken during the periods after the Civil War and the Great Depression that they were forced to eat clay. It’s been well documented.

    As for the word “hillbilly”, I was under the impression that William of Orange (“King Billy”) had something to do with that term being used in the New World.

    Is “hillbilly” an incendary term like the N word? Probably not. Is it a lame thing to do to play the clown for tourists by feeding into stereotypes for a quick buck. Yeah.

    As for the Stars and Bars (aka “Rebel flag”), that was the battle flag and not the flag flown over the CSA capital. Could the “South’s gonna to it again” crowd at least use the correct flag? Especially the ones with Reb flags flown on their cars right next to “United We Stand” stickers? How can you have it both ways?

    I learned a term for a Mountain X article a few years back called “cultural strip mining” aka only get to know as much about an area you move to as you wish to and then denigrate the rest of the local culture.

    I tend to feel outrage at the holier than thou new agey types who actually think Asheville is special because of its high ratio of yoga mats per square foot but couldn’t tell you who Tsali was, don’t know what “breaking up Christmas” is,never had to shoot an animal to eat or otherwise see themselves as better than families who have lived here for generations.

    Why not solve the so called contreversy by getting a better cartoonist with some original ideas? I for one would love to see Molton’s column dropped to make room for more Asheville Disclaimer.

  112. Boatrocker, as someone who the term “hillbilly” could be used to describe given its current definition, I would disagree with your assertion that unlike the N-Word, it is not incendiary. Actually, given the response to Betty’s opinion piece alone, it would be difficult to argue that the word is not an agitator. I am equally offended when someone calls me a hillbilly as when someone calls me a b****, c***, w****, or any number of discriminatory things based on aspects of my existence that I neither have control over nor embody as typifying the stereotype.

    And I agree with you that it is sometimes aggravating when people publicize and promote certain aspects of Asheville’s culture that are not indigenous to the rich heritage that was here already. Then again, if those other things were promoted, we wouldn’t have so many “outsiders” moving in and “buying up all the land.” Which is also part of why Asheville is where it is today.

  113. RonHarvey

    When I saw the odd juxtaposition of the Molton cartoon and Betty Cloer Wallace’s piece in last week’s edition, I felt compelled to write a letter to MountainX griping about this issue. I thought it was either brilliant editing or an incredibly strange/negligent oversight. After seeing the “retraction” I’m now inclined to believe the latter.

    Having read through most of this forum I am now disposed to offer my two cents on the controversy. Take it for what it’s worth.

    I’m not interested in the sniping and personal attacks present here, but such is the nature of Internet forums. Anonymous people can engage in dialog that would not be acceptable in normal conversation and would likely result in a serious beat-down for the offender. This said, I support the right for posters to say what they will without being censored. For the record, I commend “entopticon” for his statements here and making on-topic posts while being attacked by those with lesser character, and apparently wit. Also thanks to Mrs. Wallace for her insightful posts.

    As a student of Appalachian studies at ASU in Boone, I was made all too aware of the negative stereotypes for hillbillies that have been pervasive in the media, and society in general, for several decades. At ASU we were taught that this type of thing was often offensive to native highlanders and at times counter-productive to the advancement of our rich mountain heritage, but at some point we have to embrace our culture, bare feet and all… and “picking up pine knots” when necessary. I feel most “hillbillies” could actually care less about this academic exercise and are more self-aware and often too fiercely proud to let any of this get inside their heads. They are too bust getting by. Water off their backs I would think. You have to be a navel gazer to think like this anyway.

    This is nothing new. If it’s Protestan-Catholic, Arab-Jew, white-black, Republican-Democrat, North-South, city-country, rich-poor, whatever… there will always be differences that are misunderstood, unknown, and basically feared. It just happens to be an oddity in our 21st C. politically correct world that an honorable, admirable, independent, and beautiful culture can still be held up to such ridicule and proclaimed to be bestialists in the MountainX without serious reprisal.

    I don’t know anything about Molton, but from this cartoon and his reply to the letter by Alex Long, I will quote the great Ronnie Van Zandt and say, “Southern Man don’t need him around anyhow!” And from Bocephus, “We say Grace, and we say Ma’am, If you ain’t into that, we don’t give a damn.”

    For a more erudite treatment of the subject check out http://internet.is/artist/writer/scott_POP_culture.htm

    …and to travelah, ARGO

  114. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Chops wrote: “Some will say that the Confederate flag represents independence, yet we all know that many will say it represents racism. Let’s be understanding of those who are offended by the image of the Confederate flag, just as we are willing to accept shame in a cartoon that was in poor taste. Would you join with me in demanding an apology from anyone who displays the Confederate flag?”

    Chops, responses to my “hillbilly stereotypes” commentary have become so intertwined with varied opinions and emotions about the Civil War that I have begun to think a lot about it lately in connection with our heritage.

    I would like give you a more complete and reasoned response to your statement than I can squeeze into this little box, so I think I will ask MX if they would be interested in a future commentary on flags and other symbols and their historical meanings, past and present. I do have some decided opinions.

    Stay tuned.

  115. boatrocker

    Kind of off topic, but megitymegs used some words with *****s to denote words you don’t want to throw around with women. Call me a bit naive, but what did w**** stand for? If it stands for witch, is that an incendary term? I was just curious.

  116. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Megittymegs wrote: “I am as equally offended when someone calls me a hillbilly as when someone calls me a b****, c***, w****, or any number of discriminatory things based on aspects of my existence that I neither have control over nor embody as typifying the stereotype.”

    1. I so agree with you, Megittymegs, and your statement made me start thinking about an even deeper issue here, and a different issue.

    2. I suspect Meggitymegs herself inserted the asterisks in her statement, since MX’s censorship of my comments differed in regard to keystroke, but I do not know.

    3. On the “Fighting Back” thread (for the record), my use of a word for a part of the female anatomy that is used internationally in “Vagina Monologues” discussions (it’s a favorite on college campuses) was censored by MX in this manner: “####”

    4. That’s OK by me, since I don’t go around using that word much anyway. In fact, not at all.

    5. But, I do wonder now why MX allowed my use of the word “vagina” to be printed but not THAT word. Why was it so offensive to MX that they censored it as “####”?

    6. Actually, my underlying questions are even deeper.

    7. Is this a gender issue rather than a hillbilly issue?

    8. Or is it a censorship issue?

    9. Why is it OK for MX to print and defend a cartoon about men fornicating with pigs but words for women that men often use (“XXXX” and “b****, c***, w****”) are so unmentionable as to be worthy of censorship?

    10. Which is worse?

    11. Is one truly worthy of censorship but not the other?

    12. Why?

  117. Betty, I did insert the asterisks myself. I think the answer to your question number 9 goes back to your initial argument about Southern Appalachians being the last group of people it is still acceptable to publicly insult. You won’t see the media using those asterisk words to describe women, even if they are still used in private. But “the media” sees nothing wrong with publicly disparaging Appalachians, because as Molton’s response to the outcry indicates, we’re a group seen as not having progressed to the point of enjoying a bigotry-free existence.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I appreciate you keeping the discourse alive.

  118. Limabeancounter wrote: “The last time I checked none of my ‘country folk’ friends had any relatives that were hung up on a tree or beaten for being a hillbilly.”

    If bigotry doesn’t ultimately end in violence, does that mean it’s any more acceptable? I personally don’t think so. For example, I can’t think of an instance where women were killed for being women. I don’t think that lessens the other forms of discrimination that women have endured throughout history.

  119. Dick Chesney

    “Chops, Nobody owes you an apology for flying the Confederate flag any more than you owe them for your offensive speech (assuming they might be offended by your demand).” – Travelah

    LOl, as if a yankee transplant would know what he is talking about. Mr “travelah” get in your “cah” and drive to a “bah” and have a few. Maybe you will relax your NE yankee brainwashing on Southern culture and start to adopt the customs of your new adopted home. God knows you left your home “up there” for a good reason. Could it be the over-reaching government regulation and confiscatory taxes? If so, at least you have that part right. The other cultural stuff you have been taught about the South is flatout a lie. Look around and accept the superior culture here. Or else, go back “home”.

  120. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Fortunately some “outlanders” do “get it” and are embarrassed by the bigotry of the “Pigdemic” and “Stereotypes” cartoons, but the fact remains that no one outside of an abused group can truly “feel” it without having “felt” it, without having experienced that shameful disregard personally.

    No one without minority physical characteristics or any other personal or cultural differences can truly “feel” that discrimination. No one other than someone with a mountain accent (or any other accent or dialect outside the prevailing norm) can “feel” a job interviewer lose interest when you open your mouth to answer a question.

    Bigotry and discrimination based on media stereotypes affect us on so many levels — personal and economic — and the effects are multigenerational.

  121. travelah

    Dick, I moved here from Louisiana, not Mass. The rest of your commentary seems to have been pulled out of something other than your mind. Did you contemplate what I wrote at all before you stuck your foot in your mouth?
    Have nice ‘lil redneck day, Mr. Dick.

  122. shadmarsh

    Louisiana, Maine…they are basically neighbors so I can see how one would confuse them.

  123. Piffy!

    Betty, To get that worked up over a (admittedly bad) joke would certainly imply you are a little to tightly wound.

    Do you really think you represent everyone in the south?

    Dont like being stereoptyped? Dont be a stereotype.

  124. travelah

    Pluto, I grew up in Maine and left when I was 17. I spent 10 years in Louisiana prior to moving back to WNC. My childhood in Maine was quite some time ago. My children and roots are throughout the south and have been for some time in Baton Rouge, Savannah, WNC and Charleston. My wife and family are from Virginia.
    Has your confusion abated?

  125. Eli Cohen

    No Travelah, my confusion has increased. It seems that there are some folks here who think hillbillies don’t exist. They seem to believe that it’s a regional stereotype. Believe me when I say that there are hillbillies. If you guys would get out of the coffee shops once in a while you might find some. Yes, it’s still possible to have a “deliverance” type experience. Just go out into the hills and have a look. And yo Betty, while I don’t think you are a hillbilly, you’re really not that special, everyone has some sort of heritage. It’s as common as dirt. In fact, you share your precious heritage with every other lowlife, white trash, rebel flag flyin’, trailer park denizen in the area. So dismount the high horse…And by the way, if someone referred to me as a hillbilly, I wouldn’t find it offensive, no more than I would be offended by someone referring to me as a n$%#@*. I’m not black, nor am I a hillbilly.

  126. Eli Cohen

    And one other thing, that cartoon was not funny, it was sad but true.

  127. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Susannah G wrote: ” The most useful response to insult is to ignore it (Pigdemic cartoon), rise above it, and move on- think how many more people have seen this cartoon now that there has been an outcry- if there had been no controversy it would have been forgotten in a day. How many more people have heard the phrase “nappy headed ho” because of controversy in the media, versus the number of people who would actually have listened to Don Imus’ radio program in the first place?”

    Remember, Susannah, that Imus was fired for making that “nappy headed ho” comment, and he will certainly not be so blatantly racist in such a manner again. It will happen again, of course, but his firing did dampen the racism coming out of many mouths. Same thing with Kramer’s racist language in the LA comedy club. Same thing with the closing of the old Sambo’s Pancake Houses.

    Southern Appalachian people have tried to overlook blatant cultural stereotypes for over a century to no avail. Trying to ignore the insult and taking a “step-n-fetchit” response has reinforced it and perpetuated it in the minds of so many people that they think it is all right to continue the insult.

    Simply ignoring it and allowing it to continue in such a blatant manner is an awful legacy of submission to leave to our children and grandchildren.

  128. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Pluto wrote: “As for the legacy being left to your children and grandchildren–I think they will be more concerned with clean air and water (getting more scarce e’rry day) than they will about some words…..now, go fight Mountaintop Removal if your worried about your grandchildren’s legacy.”

    Pluto, you are absolutely correct. Rape of our environment is the main concern of most local people precisely because we are worried about clean air and water, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy for our grandchildren.

    We live in a beautiful place filled with natural resources, but when those resources are exploited, the money goes outside the region and leaves us with less and less of everything.

    No one truly believes the local people in West Virginia and Kentucky are removing their own mountaintops or benefitting in any way from that travesty, and ironically the jobs that went with the old mining methods are even gone now as the mountaintops disappear (sometimes even whole mountains).

    The same thing, but in a less obvious manner, is happening in our own immediate area with paved roads snaking up every peak to luxurious second homes, golf courses and cookie-cutter shopping centers and airports sprouting everywhere, redesign of our communities that changes the patterns of human interaction, and pollution of our water tables and rivers.

    So why is this happening to us?

    For the past 125 years, especially during periods of economic depression, zealous missionaries and opportunistic writers and rapacious industrialists have flocked to our mountains, considering us easy targets as they misrepresent our culture, destroy our environment, and mine our geological resources, all the while defining us as they want to see us, as ignorant and needy—which, of course, justifies their exploitation.

    So, how can we stop it? You tell me.

    When outsiders do not consider our opinions worthwhile (because how could an ignorant hillbilly possibly have something to say), it’s awfully hard to do anything to stop those faceless outside interests with money from sending in those bulldozers.

  129. entopticon

    Betty, I agree with many of your points, but I think you may be oversimplifying things quite a bit. I know multigenerational locals who loath environmentalism, so I can’t agree with your claim that rape of the environment is at the top of their concerns. They are very angry that the government wants to tell them what they can and can’t burn and bury, as well as what chemicals they can and can’t use on their plants. Where I live out in the country, it is a regular occurrence to see McDonald’s bags flying out the windows of beat up old pickup trucks on otherwise pretty country roads. I am not saying they all do that, or that urban people don’t do that as well; I am just saying that you seem to be romanticizing and oversimplifying things a bit. For better or worse, many, if not most of the environmentally concerned people that I have encountered moved here later in life, and many of the mountain people here support right-wing politicians that promote anti-environmentalist policies that darken our skies and pollute our waters. My point is, that I don’t think that it as cut and dry as you have presented it. The picture you have painted of local people concerned about the environment and outsiders who all come to exploit the environment is a vast oversimplification from my vantage point.

  130. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Entopticon, of course it’s an oversimplification. There’s just so much one can write in these little boxes, but at least the issues are being touched upon somewhat among all the chatter by people who really don’t care, and there is far more gray than black and white especially in regard to the environment.

    The latest–Pluto’s mountaintop removal comment–is a bit more important than McDonald’s trash on the roadside. My underlying point was that if the coal veins reached this far south, our mountaintops would be disappearing, just as in West Virginia and Kentucky, and I doubt that any profit would be going into local coffers.

    The major concern of most people, here and elsewhere, is not “environmentalism” per se, but that there is a future for their children, a healthy and economically viable future.

    As Pluto wrote: “As for the legacy being left to your children and grandchildren–I think they will be more concerned with clean air and water (getting more scarce e’rry day)…” I agree with that.

  131. Eli Cohen

    There is no viable economic future for you people. The smart ones left for opportunity elsewhere, the rest stayed behind to service the wealthy or scratch around in the dirt. (god bless you)

  132. entopticon

    I’m not sure that I am following you Betty. First, you said: “Rape of our environment is the main concern of most local people precisely because we are worried about clean air and water, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy for our grandchildren.”

    And then you said: “The major concern of most people, here and elsewhere, is not “environmentalism” per se, but that there is a future for their children, a healthy and economically viable future.”

    I don’t think those two statements are compatible. If the rape of our environment was their major concern, it is safe to say that environmentalism would be as well. Statistics just don’t support your argument. The very same people that you say are mainly concerned about the rape of our environment are overwhelmingly for the “drill baby drill,” pro-coal platforms of the far right.There is clearly a significant disparity between what you are claiming and the reality of the situation.

    Mountaintop removal may well be a more serious issue than litter, but it is an irrefutable fact that the people that you are claiming are against mountaintop removal for coal are in fact overwhelmingly in support of it. That’s not just an opinion. Simply look at the demographics. It is just not reasonable for you to say that a group of people that is overwhelmingly for increased coal mining has the rape of the environment as their number one concern. You are projecting your feelings about mountaintop removal onto a group that overwhelmingly supports it.

  133. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Entopticon, as for the politics of “the Deliverance vote,” as some pundits like to call it, it’s a mixed bag.

    How does one explain that West Virginia overwhelmingly elects liberal Democrat Jay Rockefeller and anti-Iraq war icon Robert Byrd to the Senate? And how does one explain that the United Mine Workers endorsed Obama?

  134. entopticon

    Betty, I do agree that there is room for overlap, and I certainly think there are people on both sides of the fence from virtually any demographic. That said, studies have already shown that there is no question that the rural vote in Buncombe and the surrounding counties overwhelmingly went for the “drill baby drill” party. Unfortunately, that means that local rural people who are against mountaintop removal are the exception, not the rule. As is often the case with such nimby issues, people often change their tune when it occurs in their own back yard, but that is usually too late.

    I am not amazed that some Democrats get elected in places like WV. What’s amazing, or at least disturbing, is that the GOP has consistently been able to get economically disadvantaged rural white people to vote against their own economic interests by exploiting their prejudices and xenophobia with hot-button issues.

    I think environmentalists are certainly to blame for the overwhelming lack of support from rural whites as well. Many, but not all environmentalists forget that concern about the environment is often a luxury. When people are struggling to make ends meet, they don’t like to be told to worry about yet another thing and they don’t always have the time, money, and education to feel like a part of the environmental movement. The environmental movement needs to be a lot more inclusive and a lot less sanctimonious.

    Fortunately there are new trends, such as the slow foods movement, which celebrates and supports local agriculture and seeks to inform the general public of the importance and value of sustainability and localism. Environmentalism shouldn’t be a liberal vs conservative issue. Any true conservative is an environmental conservationist. The crunchy-cons, and a growing number of conservatives get that. Asheville’s unique culture makes this area a prime place to punch a hole in the anti-environmental “drill baby drill baby” mentality that threatens life on our planet.

  135. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Entopticon, I agree with every point you made in your last post (5/25/09 at 02:51 PM) regarding environmentalism and environmentalists, including the politics and economics.

    And, for reference, in an earlier post I wrote: “The major concern of most people, here and elsewhere, is not “environmentalism” per se, but that there is a future for their children, a healthy and economically viable future.”

    I think much of the exploitation that results in people voting against their own economic interests lies in the multifarious meanings of “environmentalism.” Many rural long-time residents of WNC see people labeled “environmentalists” as air-headed tree-huggers who know nothing about sustainable forestry or the inter-relatedness of all living things, including people; and they are amazed that many urban-dwelling environmentalists cannot identify trees beyond oaks and pines, want their eggs fresh off the farm (or out of the back yard) but prefer their boneless hormone-laden chicken breasts plastic-wrapped at Ingles, and know that bacon comes from pigs but don’t know exactly where it grows on a pig’s body.

    Perhaps more discussion and better communication and understanding on many fronts would clarify the issues before even more mountaintops are irreversibly destroyed.

    The huge logging operations of old-growth forests in WNC during the early part of the last century were certainly destructive, but the habitat has slowly regenerated itself to a large degree (minus the paved parts); but the removal of mountains down to bedrock in coal country leaves vast flat plains that will never be able to regenerate the former habitat. The foundation is gone.

  136. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Dear Pluto,

    A friend just called the Mountain X forum and your “What It’s Like to be a Real WNC Local–The Betty Cloer Wallace Thread” to my attention, which I heretofore did not know existed.

    Thank you for trying to start a discussion of significance about real WNC local people in order to learn something of value about us, even though your effort was subsequently hijacked into trivia by the person from Florida. We are used to that. No problem.

    My friend who called this forum and thread to my attention was laughing heartily about the Florida person who wrote: ///My own husband had lived here for two or three years when he made this statement,”we aren’t really in the south here in Asheville.” Well I almost spewed him with a mouthfull of cafe”au lait” from laughter. He was then informed that he was indeed in the south and that anywhere there was grits on the menu for breakfast that place is in the south. That said; I prefer we keep the scary backwoods “Deliverence” stereotype going….don’t want anymore population building McMansions on the slopes or more neighhborhood gentrification. There for a while Asheville looked like it was going the way of Aspen. What’s it like being local? No one ever moved north or west for the food. And the womenfolk are hot in the south.///

    Well, thank you again, Pluto. I think the Florida quote is wrong (and even humorous, albeit lame) on too many levels to address in this little box, so I will clarify only one part of it: grits, a very important subject.

    Grits are a lowland southern dish, and I do love them (or it, however debatable), but they are not a mountain dish, and for me and other mountaineers, loving grits has been an acquired taste. Actually, now that I have acquired that basic taste, I have also come to love cheese-grits casseroles and bacon-bits grits in yummy heaps, and even “spoon bread” in cute little fluted baking dishes, the ultimate in southern lowland cuisine.

    So, as for us native mountaineers, we long ago brought from England and Scotland and Ireland a breakfast dish called “porridge,” aka “oatmeal,” the best breakfast for “sticking to your ribs” before a hard day of work. The closest thing we had to grits was “corn meal mush,” which was a dessert—finely ground flint corn cooked and served with butter and sweetener (sugar, molasses, or honey, preferably sourwood).

    Without the sweetener, corn meal mush (almost) resembled “cream of wheat,” although we never ate it in the same way (with cream and such). Cream of wheat was a northern dish brought down here from up north. We politely ate it if offered, after sneaking in a bit of sweetener. Same as with white rice, a foreign dish we loved, but only after adding a bit of sweetener.

    So, now, if grits is on the menu in Asheville, that is good, really good. And spoon bread is surely on someone’s menu over there. If not, it should be.

    But sweetened rice? No thank you. Pass the soy sauce, I’d now say.


  137. RonHarvey

    Whoever says Asheville isn’t the real South is truly delusional and out of touch. It may not be in the “Heart of Dixie” but I can personally guarantee that it is south of the Mason-Dixon line and indeed full of southern culture. Some lines may have been blurred during the past couple of decades, but one thing has certainly improved over the years; there’re now several direct commercial flights back to true north.

  138. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Davyne_Dial wrote: “If you regularly say “y’all”, “fixin to” or “over yonder”, you’re probably southern…”

    Yes, Davyne, all three of these phrases are southern, but only two are in the Southern Appalachian mountain subset. “Fixin’ to” and “over yonder” are both southern and Southern Appalachian mountain staples, useful words with meanings that vary within a wide range of context.

    “Y’all,” however, is not in the mountaineer’s lexicon. That’s a lowland southern word. You will never hear old-timers here say “y’all” in a serious manner. You’ll hear them say “you’uns” or “youns” (“you ones”), but never “y’all” unless they’re simply obliging the tourists. “Y’all” is a broad southern contraction of “YOU all” (with emphasis on “you”).

    When you hear someone say “y’all” around here, you know he is (1) a lowland southerner transplanted here, (2) a non-southerner who is trying to sound southern, (3) an older mountaineer who is simply obliging outlanders who want to hear it, or (4) a young mountaineer who has adopted broad southern speech and really doesn’t know the difference.

    Southern Appalachian-speak is a subset of southern-speak, but southern is not necessarily Appalachian. Other distinct sub-sets of southern-speak are Cajun and Tex-Mex.

    Davyne, you might like the DICTIONARY OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN ENGLISH collected by Michael B. Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall from extensive recordings and research of language in the WNC-ET region. It’s huge and expensive, but a fascinating reference for anyone who lives here. You can find it at local booksellers, Amazon, etc. (Actually, Smoky Mountain English is a subset of Southern Appalachian, and many linguists think it has retained the oldest usage within the Appalachian range. Some linguists have even spent countless hours finding parallels with and vestiges of Elizabethan English.)

    By the way, the Appalachian Regional Commission defines Appalachia as the spine of the mountain range from New York to Mississippi. West Virginia is the only entire state within the range.

  139. Davyne_Dial

    Ron “Whoever says Asheville isn’t the real South is truly delusional and out of touch. It may not be in the “Heart of Dixie” but I can personally guarantee that it is south of the Mason-Dixon line and indeed full of southern culture.”
    Ron, you still didn’t get the gist of my post. I was attempting to make the point that my husband, who moved here from New Hampshire spent a couple of years in Asheville, before making the statement “we aren’t really in the south here .”

    Why he didn’t connect Asheville with his idea of the south is because he had brought with him preconceived notions, based on bad press and stereotypes in the media and film. And certainly the south has a certain history that has brought shame. But other sections had shameful policies, but just didn’t get as much press as we did. He has since seen the error of his thinking.
    Granted I did use some metaphorical or flowery language in the original post (southerners will lapse into that indulgence occasionally). I’ve tried to eliminate those frivolities here to perhaps make my point more clear.

  140. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Davyne_Dial wrote: “I’ve heard, but haven’t been able to confirm that “old English” is still spoken in some areas….is that true?”
    Davyne, the good thing about the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English is that it is NOT a traditional dictionary. It’s actually a linguistic report of audio recordings made of people in WNC and ET (the Smoky Mountain area) over a long period beginning in the 1930s and usage in regional literature even prior to that. It includes phrases and sentences along with the names of who said them and where recorded and in what context. It gives the etymology from earliest known usages to the present, along with variants and examples in context.

    It’s useful for tracking down remnants and vestiges of mostly-forgotten old English/Scottish/Irish language you can still occasionally hear in certain places around here, although not likely on Pack Square!

    For example, my brother called me recently from California and asked how to spell “rimption.” He said he had used the word while at a buffet dinner with friends: “I think I’ll skip the entree and just eat a whole rimption of salad.”

    His California friends asked what “rimption” meant and how to spell it, and he was not sure. It had just bubbled up in his mind, he said, and came out of his mouth from some long-ago childhood vocabulary, but he did not remember having ever written it, and he had not heard it for at least sixty years.

    Well, I knew what he meant because I’d heard it all my life in our community, albeit not lately. It meant to eat a whole lot of something or a “big bait” of something, such as a whole rimption of (any kind of food). We always preceded it with “whole” or “big,” but I myself had no idea how to spell it. So I looked it up in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English and discovered it has variant spellings and usage throughout the Smoky Mountain region even beyond the way we always used it in our community.

    DSME defines “rimption” as “an abundance” (of food) and says it can be used both singular and plural. (We used it only as singular.) Variant forms are rimption(s), rampshion, rempshion, rimpshion, and rimtion. It can mean food ready to eat or still out there somewhere (“there are rimpshions of squirrels in the woods”).

    The interesting point in all this is that we have layers of “forgotten” language and thought and images in our subconscious that can sometimes just come bubbling up unexpectedly to the conscious mind.

    The root word for “rimption” seems to have been lost in time, but I suspect it is related to filling a container to the rim. The DSME lists it as an Appalachian word with “origin unknown,” but one of the characteristics of SME is that it is extremely flexible, allowing for interchange of parts of speech and grammatical constructions depending on usage and meaning and context.

    Kephart listed “rimption” as early as 1913 in Our Southern Highlanders: ///If the provender be scant the hostess may say, “That’s right at a smidgeon,” meaning little more than a mite; but if plenteous, then there are rimptions.///

  141. welcome2theworld

    Travelah, don’t you have some yard work to do or some home improvement project that needs to be accomplished? Just to let everyone know, this is the land of opportunity. If you don’t like your situation or sterotype, there is always something to be done about it. Look at the 10’s of thousands of immigrants whow come here legally and work hard and live a great life. They couldn’t do that in their home country so they came here. Why can’t Americans do that for themselves. Heck, they have the advantage of being born and raised here.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.