ABC News, Mountain Dew Addiction and WTF?

It's a cool, quiet morning here at the Asylum. Thelma is off, Bossman is coming in later and PG is home with the hackalicious chest crud. I can use a bit of quiet after the day I had yesterday. Thelma and Lulu damned near came to blows over scheduling, the phone rang off the hook and I had a customer ream me a new one when I told him his order wasn't shipping until today.

Dude thought he was going to intimidate me and tell me how I was going to conduct business. Obviously, this is the first time he's had to deal with me. Don't worry... he will learn.

(I may or may not have uttered the word "dickhead" after hanging up the phone with him.)

There was excitement in the holler yesterday afternoon. While Lulu was making her monthly visit to the Frog Pond Holler Public Library, she wandered in on the newly formed knitting circle. Of course, she knew everyone there, being the social butterfly that she is, causing everyone to stop and gossip for a minute or two. There were only four people in the group, but they all tried to encourage Lulu to get some yarn and join them.

Lulu isn't really what you'd call... crafty.

Anywho, it was soon realized that Lulu's distraction had caused everyone to lose count of their stitches and mayhem ensued. Lulu is now banned from the Thursday evening knitting circle.

Back at the trailer, the Amazon has been on some kinda My Little Pony eBay mission from hell. I wish I could explain further, but honestly, I'm still a little foggy on the details. I think it involves hair extensions, acrylic paint and floor polish.

If I ever figure out what the sam hill she's talking about, I'll let you know.

The Amazon was all in a wad yesterday over tonight's 20/20 special "A Hidden America, Children of the Mountains." We've been hearing about it for a couple of weeks now, supposedly a look in to the hidden hollers, frozen in time, a simpler way of life. They showed a small clip yesterday morning.

Instead of "a simpler way of life" it was a look at how mountain people have less teeth than the national average and it's all because they're addicted to Mountain Dew, which they reported was used as a "mild antidepressant."

Ya know... I mouthed off about the History Channel's cockamamey bullhockey, "Hillbilly, the Real Story," hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus, back last year and as a result, I was bombarded with emails from people from everywhere BUT the mountains of Appalachia, calling me names and questioning my intelligence. I was able to let most of it roll off my back until about a month ago when one of the friggen WRITERS who worked on the "documentary" emailed me, quoting the script to me.

None of them seemed to have actually paid attention to what I said, they all just had their bloomers in a wad because I said bad things about Billy Ray Cyrus.

Anyway, I finally decided it wasn't worth it and I did something I swore I'd never do. I deleted the post. It just wasn't worth the aggravation.

Now, Diane Sawyer, whom I've admired for years, decides to exploit small children with bad teeth. For me, it had the same cringe factor as any run of the mill, poor excuse for television reality show. Gathering up these poor mountain families and parading them in front of the cameras like side show freaks is just the latest example of what passes for entertainment in our country today.

I know I play on popular stereotypes when I write here and I try to do it in a truthful, humorous manner. When I think I may have crossed the line, I let a few choice holler residents read what I've written before posting to ask them if they would be offended by it.. just to play it safe. But I am not here to report the news. I am not here to comment on history. There is a difference.

There are people here with a faith stronger than you will ever witness anywhere else in the world.

I have seen women take a pile of worthless rags that some "city folk" have cast aside as trash and create the most incredibly beautiful quilts.. works of art to rival anything in a museum.

I have watched a man so old he can no longer sit up straight in his rocker take a piece of scrap from the firewood pile and, using the same knife he's carried in his overall pocket since he was a child, forming it into doll for his great grandbaby.

The music is rich and speaks to your soul through the language of banjos, guitars and washboards.

When you witness the cool morning mist hanging over the mountain peaks before the heat of a summer day takes hold, it brings a stirring deep in your chest, a knowing that there is a higher power, the confidence that nothing that beautiful could have happened by chance.

Our faces are carved from many gene pools with hints of Cherokee and Blackfoot, Melungeon and slave, English, Scottish and French and the gently subtleties of accent can be heard changing just by rounding the mountain.

But ABC prefers to focus on the unfortunate souls who don't have jobs, are poor and without insurance and... ultimately... teeth.

The Amazon says we should do our own documentary about REAL mountain people and their accomplishments.

We just might.

Ya'll have a good one.

Later Taters!


MJ said...

I feel the same way when a Yankee asks me if I'm racist. As if every Southerner that ever existed just walks around hating people all the time.

Tori Lennox said...

I didn't see the special myself, but I've heard ABC has gotten A LOT of negative press over it. Hah! Serves 'em right.

Significant Snail said...

The very media that wants to call anyone small-minded who disagrees with them is behaving in a very small-minded way. I guess it's ok to stereotype when they are the ones doing it....

tiff said...

Oh, it's just because people like to have someone to feel BETTER than, and so the hillbillies are trotted out in hard economic times.

Your description of what's RIGHT with your neck of the weoods should be supplied to ABC and any other 'news' outlet that force-feeds us sensationalism and ire-stirring tripe than actual meat and potatoes NEWS. It is lovely, that description.

A Spot of T said...

I thought that was on tonight?? I actually really wanted to watch it. Well darn. Or maybe it IS on tonight...where I am. I think if anyone believes the people in the feature represent 'all' mountain people, well, then there's no hope for society I feel. Good grief people will believe anything won't they. Kinda like all Canadians are so nice. Obviously no one has met me yet :o)

Mahala said...

When I went to Vancouver a few years back to stalk.. um.. I mean.. on vacation.. I met the NICEST bunch of Hell's Angels..

kenju said...

Tiff is right about that portion of your pose - it should be sent to ABC, Diane Sawyer and maybe Oprah. I will watch it tonight, and I'll get akll fired up too, but you can say it better than I can.

rennratt said...

I lived 'up the holler' in WV for 6 years. Appalachian folk are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

It's disgusting that the mainstream media can look at hardcore, hardscrabble, hardworking people and make assumptions based on what the MEDIA considers reality. Not everyone cares what Hollywood thinks and does.

I will confess to watching "Hillbillies" with BRC. But that was only because I had insomnia and needed to sleep.

You aren't alone in your disgust, Mahala. Please send this post to ABC. Then create your own reality show of Real Mountain Folk and prove Hollywood WRONG.

Inanna said...

Crap, I had to work all dang day and night and I missed it.

When you focus on the negative, that is all you will see. I'm all for the positive about Appalachia. Do we have a poverty/healthcare/education/drug etc. crisis in America, of course we do, but it isn't centered around poor Appalachians. That crisis crosses every boundary: sex, race, geography, and age.

Its old Ms. Sawyer. Move on and show how Appalachians pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

Renratt, thanks for your kind words about West Virginians. It gave me the warm fuzzies.

kenju said...

I can't believe I fell asleep and missed the whole show! I hope they repeat it soon.

I should also tell you that mr. kenju, who was born and raised in NYC, said that when he had to travel to WV to deal with the people in the State House, he thought they were some of the best and nicest people with whom he had ever come into contact. He doesn't give out compliments like that unless he really means it.

Wildhair said...

I've never lived in a hilltown, but your affectionate description of what lies beneath the Mt.Dew induced toothlessness brought a tear to my eye.
Something I did witness while living down yonder was the devotion to family and God. They take care of their own, for sure. My son attended a small country school and the discipline was unquestionable. The respect was undeniable. The children were schooled in proper manners. My son, still to this day, addresses adults as "sir" "ma'am".
I think you and Amazon may have just found a niche. With the proper angle, you could definitely expose the richness that lies beneath hills.