I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta The Dark by Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan

The ball started rolling when Trae Crowder started putting videos online calling himself the "Liberal Redneck" and got a following.  It began a dialogue on what it means to be a redneck and what it means to be liberal and what it means to be Southern.  Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan are friends of his who are stand-up comedians.  They decided to write a book addressed to both the South and how it needs to change and to inform the rest of the country about the great things about the South.  It starts off with The New South Bill of Wrongs:
First Amendment: No one shall give a damn about your religion. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you can say whatever you want about prayer and God and rules, and gays, and everyone has to take it.  
Second Amendment: A "well regulated milita" means regulated by the government.  We need prudent regulation for guns.  Let's all accept that.  We don't need machine guns. We can wait a little while on a background check.
Third Amendment: Soldiers ort be respected, but war won't be.  I'll thank a vet, but that senator has to stop parading them (and especially thier corpses) around like they're trophies.
Fourth Amendment: If you're gonna be anti-government, be consistent.  The police are the government. Stop pretending like goverment overreach is a problem everywhere but in the criminal-justice world.  Also, Black Lives Matter.
Fifth Amendment: Repeat after me: "I want a lawyer,"
Sixth Amendment: Take that shit to trial.  
Seventh Amendment: Women's bodies wil not be used as political fodder or a weapon against them. Just treat everyone like you would want your momma to be treated in any given scenario.
Eighth Amendment: The government shall not "crack down" on drug crimes while taking kickbacks from industries and companies perpetuating addiction and abuse.  You can't fight wars on drugs--only on people.  The drug war kills people, not drugs.
Ninth Amendment: Raise your kids. They're your responsibility, not your parents'. Also, ease up on Planned Parenthood. They help poor mothers. Yes, they perform abortions. We get that many of you hate that, but you have to compormise in life.
Tenth Amendment:  It's time to catch up to the rest of the country. We seem to love states' rights in the South. Education, business, minority-class rights, etc.--we're behind in everything.  No longer.  If we're gonna stand on our own, we have to start taking better car of our own people. We have to do better and stand taller--but near the cooler, of course.  
What exactly is a redneck? They are generally poor, but they can be rich. They are generally white, but they can be of different races.  A redneck "works hard and loves harder. Is fiercely loyal to his people (and his animals). Knows how to have a damn good time. Loves his truck, his ball team, his beer, his guns, and his momma. So do not fuck with a redneck's momma. A redneck neither wants nor needs help from anybody else. He's proud. He just wants to left the hell alone. Which leads us to what is in our opinion the single most defining characteristic of a redneck: a redneck don't give a damn. Not the very first one.  You could fill the Grand Canyon with all the damns a redneck does not give about what you or anybody else thinks." Some of the greatest rednecks of all time: Dale Earnhardt, Brett Favre, Pat Summit, Randy Moss, Billy Bob Thorton, and Andy Griffith. What a redeck is not (necessarily): a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, a xenophobe, an idiot, a cousin fucker, a pig fucker, a methhead, a pillhead, a dumbass, a wife-beater, a Bible-thumper, or just a generally hateful piece of shit. Of course, there are plenty of rednecks that are some of these things but if you look at any group of people you will find that these traits can apply to some of them too.  These things do not define a redneck.

The South is poor. All but one state of the ten poorest states in the United States is in the South.  There are very little job opportunities.  And the way some people in the South deals with that poverty is in three ways: The Draw, or government help (food stamps, Medicaid, etc...), The Bottle, or any kind of substance abuse to escape the reality of their lives, and The Lord, or the balm of religion.  Do they sometimes find ways to use their food stamps to buy non-food items that can sometimes be alcohol of pills? Yes. Do they use their last ten dollars to get drunk? Yes, because it's not going to pay the light bill or any other bill for that matter, but it will make them forget for a while.  This is a poverty that there is no way out of.  The school systems are the worst in the nation so trying to get ahead by education is hard when your school doesn't offer the classes you need to go to a good college, which then perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty.

They go on to include chapters on the great food of the South and how it is going to kill us if we don't use moderation and throw in some vegetables, one on racism in the South which includes alternative flags for the Confederate flag which needs to be retired, music that was created or has a connection to the South including jazz, the blues, country, bluegrass, gospel, southern hip hop, southern rock, and soul, and one chapter on Southern women in their many varieties and how they have sometimes been held back with the use of scripture.  Each of the three has what they call Porch Talks throughout the book where they take an aside to give their personal take on what is being said in the book.  It adds a really neat touch to the book that gives you a better idea of what it's really like on that particular subject.  I'm a liberal Southerner. I'm not sure I quite meet the definition of a redneck, though I come close.  I don't own a truck for one thing or hunt. But the rest pretty much apply.  I really enjoyed this book and took to heart the things written by these three gentlemen.  They told some hard truths that needed to be said and not just to Southerners, though the South does need to get to work on cleaning up its image by investing in the people and trying to raise them out of poverty. And those who are poor need to start voting for those who are looking out for them and not for those who keep supporting the rich. Just because these guys say they're religious or some other superficial reason is not a reason to vote for them.  We need to stop being our own worst enemy.  This book lays out some really good ideas on how to do that. This book is a must read for every Southerner, but also for everyone else so that they can understand how it is down here.

Add to this fact that being poor is expensive as hell. Overdraft fees, late fees, predatory interest rates—the list goes on and on. It costs a lot of money to have no money, and that sure as fuck don’t help none. Conversely, if you have money, they literally just give you more money. Interest rates, dividends, whatever the hell an ROI is, all this shit serves to take rich people’s money and turn it into even more money. And look, there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re just saying: the system is not designed for upward mobility, regardless of that bullshit grown-ups fed you about the “American Dream.”
-Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 59-60)
Another glaring example of fake oppression [of Christians] is the current Alabama Supreme Court judge who has told his state to ignore the US Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling and simply not honor gay marriages. Lord, Alabama, sometimes we think yuns are trying to end up on the wrong side of history so you can be the setting for the climactic scene in all documentaries about civil rights issues. Are y’all, like, counting the tourists money you get out of the civil rights landmarks and thinking, “Why not go for the gay stuff too?”
---Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 94)
Fear and hate are the Hall and Oates of emotions. They have a prolific and long career making music together, and it’s really hard to tell them apart (And also, depending on your mood, they really hit the spot.).
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 95)
Mayonnaise, grease, and sweet tea are the glue that binds the Southern family.
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 105-6)
If sweet tea is the table wine of the South, Mountain Dew is the house vodka.
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 120,22)
Music is one of the best things on the whole damn planet. What else is that much fun and don’t make you wake up hungover or ruin your marriage?
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 158)
Why in the hell does anybody ever put the American flag and the Confederate flag on the same thing at the same time? They were not big fans of each other. Yet most of the hard-core-pro-rebel-flag fellers are the same dudes who scream ‘bout ‘Merica, “You don’t like it, you can leave! It’s my right as an American to fly that flag!” Yeah? Well, buddy, lemme tell ya, screaming about your rights as an American while rockin’ the Confederate flag is like arguing against gay marriage with a dick in your mouth. Make no sense. But, see, rednecks are immune to irony.
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 202-3)
Sexism isn’t just a Southern thing—but we do seem to be pretty good at it. Just like going fast and blowing up shit. Sure, people from the North can do that, but there’s a reason they gave us NASA.
--Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outa the Dark p 240)
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Redneck-Manifesto-Draggin-Dixie-ebook/dp/B01HMXRUBE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490012153&sr=8-1&keywords=liberal+redneck+manifesto

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