After reading Hillbilly Elegy with its Horatio Alger slant on problem solving (just work hard and it will all work out), I started reading more books dealing with Southern, and mostly Appalachian, people to better understand my heritage. As stories posted on this site indicate, my family tree runs mostly through Appalachian America. I normally read books like Albion’s Seed and have preordered What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte since I follow her blog and respect her opinion.
So when I stumbled upon The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark by Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan, Corey Ryan Forrester, I wasn’t sure I would like it.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Funny, With A Message
Although I’ve never heard the trio, they do comedy and are successful at it. But fairly deep into the book, I knew they were bona fide southern when one of them mentioned chocolate gravy. The (mostly) Appalachian treat was a staple in my childhood home — it is a sweet chocolate sauce with the consistency of gravy that is poured over biscuits for breakfast.
As the trio would say — it hits.
They set the tone early in the book proudly stating their love of their heritage while at the same time expressing extreme dissatisfaction — and at times hate — for the archaic thinking that has hindered Southern progress. They touch all the subjects one would expect — from religion to WIC payments. The strength of the book is it does, albeit with humor and at time ‘rough’ language, give an outsider a glimpse of the southern mindset.
Rewriting The Constitution
An early section of the book deals with the Bill of Rights, which they flip on its head, calling it the Bill of Wrongs. One amendment deals with the anti-government sentiment which runs deep and strong through the South. This sentiment was so strong during last fall’s election that I finally exited Facebook because in the virtual world, just like real life, most of my Friends were family or community members and I grew very tired of the mindset.
But in the book, I found a common spirit with the trio, who had this to say about the hypocrisy of the anti-government movement.
“If you’re gonna be antigovernment, be consistent. The police are the government. Stop pretending like government overreach is a problem everywhere but in the criminal-justice world. Also, Black Lives Matter.”
For students of American history, especially those wanting to understand how we ended up with the Orange Menace, it’s a book that provides insight from an insider — and as a bonus the reader can enjoy some dry, Southern wit.
Rated 4 out of 5. My only complaint with the book is it’s a bit shallow, but I think that’s the intent of the authors. Despite only hitting the surface on some issues, they still make their point: It’s time to grow up South and be part of a diverse society.
Favorite Anti-Trump Comment Of The Week
Colonel Morris Davis, born in North Carolina, is a retired Air Force Officer and Lawyer — and a huge Trump critic on Twitter. Since he is a critic, thin-skinned 45* blocked him. This has not stopped Davis from going after Trump with a vengeance. This week, when 45* engaged in a distraction tactic by arbitrarily Tweeting that transgenders were banned from the military, Davis called him out saying,
“I served for 25 years and never served with a Trump…pathetic for 5-Deferment @realDonaldTrump to ban anyone with patriotism he lacked.”
And commenting on Trump’s campaign stop at the Boys Scouts a day earlier, Davis said,
Aren’t vanity, narcissism, cruelty, vulgarity, bullying and self-aggrandizement @boyscouts core values? @realDonaldTrump.
Spoken like a true patriot.