Recently the WV division of culture and History began a project to put many of it's public records into a database accessible by anyone from the internet. Cool. This is a great idea and I'm glad they finally decided to do this.
Along comes some nobody writer from an NBC affiliate in Washington D.C. He decides to do a tasteless tongue in cheek column on this idea where he says that if in fact WVians could access the internet they'd be able to find “a listing of all the birth certificates for people named Cletus…and a listing of all the weddings in the state where both the bride and the groom had the last name ‘Smith.’”
He also made such assinine random comments as “…they have to poop in their backyard, running through the cold, fearing that the trap door on their red flannel pajamas should pop open early, exposing their nether regions to the bite of the winds? Why do we have to make fun of them for their misfortune?”
Assinine? Yes. Funny. Well yea, in a rude, weird and sick sorta way and I've always been kinda attracted to rude, weird and sick.
When people make comments like this I tend to just look at them and laugh. You see, I have traveled this great country of ours. I've seen other places. Compared to the ghettos of Washington, D.C., living anywhere in WV is paradise. If you look at things like crime rate and cost of living, where would you rather raise a family of four? In WV we have relatively no crime when you look at the numbers from places like Washington, D.C. In WV I can buy a really nice little house for well under $100k. In fact, I can pick up a perfectly livable 2BR house of 1000sq. ft. for under $50k.
So why should I give a shit what some silly assed fucker from Washington D.C. thinks of my home state?
Not so for many people from WV including the governor and most local bloggers. The governor is demanding more than an apology. I'm not sure what the fuck the bozo expects, but he's told them thar Warshinton folks that they dun better do more than jist apologize! Flash back to the 1980s when the bubba governor's uncle was WV secretary of state. This guy was a backwoods hillbilly who dressed like some sort of traveling flim flam man in oversized pin stipped suits with big ol flowers in his lapels. He was a joke. An embarrassing joke. To make matters worse, every time some out-of-state media would make an insulting remark about WV this buffoon would raise hell with them. At times he could be found and heard in his half drunk hillbilly voice in NYC defending the name of WV. It was shameful. What we're seeing today is shameful. As was said in Shakespear's Hamlet: "The lady dost protest too much, me thinks."
OK, listen up all you indignant hillbilly clueless self-loathers. There is nothing to protest. It's just some bozo blowing smoke. Next week he'll be calling NJ a toxic waste dump or calling all people from NY rude loud mouths. Californians will all be spaced out stoners, Chicagoans will be moronic football fans, Georgians will be the heatland of the KKK, Mississippi will be a hotbed of poor ignorant low landers, etc., etc., etc.
But there is a solution. It won't happen overnight. You see, I believe like Nitzsche said, the macro reflects the micro. I also believe the reverse.
If somebody had some opinion of you that you thought was wrong, how would you go about changing their opinion? About the only way you are going to change other's opinion of you is for you to reflect the opinion you'd like them to have of you. It's very rare that someone's opinion of you does not reflect some level of reality. Maybe when you were young you drank too much and some people think you're a drunk today even though you don't drink at all. The only way you're going to convince them that you're not a drunk is to not drink and act in a sober manner. Of course there are going to be those who think you will always be a drunk and will never change. Well fuck them and their horse. Who care what some moron like that thinks.
If you go knocking on their door and argueing with them in public over whether or not you're a drunk, others are just going to start wondering about the possibility that you might still be a drunk. And guess what, you will give credibility to the moron who you are argueing with.
The guy who wrote the article about WV for NBC has gotten a lot of publicity, and outside of WV that publicity wasn't a bad thing. So all these silly assed hicks who are creating a ruckus over some insignificant remarks by some insignificant little twit are doing nothing but giving that insignificant little twit tons of free publicity. 100 bucks says the guy moves up in the world as a result of all this.
So, listen; maybe if we focus on educating our children. . . all of our children we'd go a long way toward creating a more positive image of WV.
The other fact of this matter is that the majority of people blogging indignantly about this little tiny episode of geographic bigotry live in places like Charleston and Huntington or maybe Martinsburg and have no clue what life is like in the hollers of Southern WV, the mountains of the east, the central WV farms or the rusty cities of the Ohio Valley.
So do everyone in WV a favor and shut the fuck up.