Challenging the Dumbshit Redneck

Bloggified by Jake on Monday, August 9, 2010

After writing my post about why the smartest people in small towns are almost certainly stupider than even average people in big cities, I realized there were two points I'd neglected.

First is that the experiences that I've had in the past year are not only the result of my desire to try new things and the willingness to embrace the opportunities when they come along, but also the result of surrounding myself with like-minded friends and family who often provide those opportunities. Many of the experiences I listed would not have happened if not for Ryno, Robby, my parents, and others I won't even begin to list because if I miss any of them, I'll have to listen to them bitch.

Second was to expand on the point at the end about the challenges one faces in Wewahitchka versus a city where it's possible to go to the grocery store and pass someone in the aisle that you've never seen before in your life. I was going to drop it, but the next day, Danica McKeller was on Science Friday and made some of the very same points I had considered including. I don't know if I should take it as a sign--this would be the second "Wonder Years" cast member divine intervention I've had in the past two months--but it was enough to get the juices flowing again.

McKeller's most recent book includes a non-math-related essay about spousal abuse written by her sister, who is a lawyer who specializes in that field. While this might seem out of place, McKeller explained that the lessons of the book go beyond numbers and are, in fact, more about learning to make decisions. Just as in a math problem you review the numbers, look for patterns, and find a solution, in life, you collect facts, look for patterns, and decide what is the best course of action. The better you are at recognizing information and patterns, the better you will be at decision making in your life. To that end, the essay about spousal abuse was to explain to teenage girls the importance of being respected by boyfriends and recognizing patterns of abuse.

One of the warning signs she noted was the desire to dumb a girl down. The point of all McKeller's books is to help remove the unfeminine stigma associated with math. Girls are often given the false choice of being smart or being pretty, popular, and desirable to boys. McKeller makes that case that you can be into fashion and know what a quadratic equation is. You can dance to Lady Gaga and understand irrational numbers. Insecure boys will try to keep girls feeling that the only way they can be accepted is by being stupid and deferring all decision making to the male of the species.

You may also recognize this as the definition of the dumbshit redneck's beloved "family values."

McKeller explains that math is a challenge. Math is hard. But that's the very reason it's so important not to give up on it.

The challenges we face in life are what make us great. Furthermore, the challenges we fail to conquer are just as important as the ones we blow through with one arm tied behind our backs.

In talking to "one of the smartest people in Wewahitchka" the other day, I tried to explain this point and the fact that living in a small swamp where no one with half a lick of sense stays more than a week presents one with few challenges, and, therefore, robs one of the opportunities needed to grow into a better person.

"I got challenges," he argued. "I get out of bed every day and go to work!"

Had he been willing to listen to me rather than shouting down every rational point I made because, in the world of the conservative Christian dumbshit redneck, volume is the key to winning an argument, I would have noted that everyone gets out of bed every day. Well, except coma patients, but even some quadriplegics get out of bed with enough help.

Challenges are not simple tasks everyone does. For something to be a challenge, one must be able to fail. On a that note, once one masters a challenge, it ceases to be a challenge and continuing to label it as such only points out the futility of your attempts at self-rationalization. Doing the same things without any thought every day is not a challenge... though I will grant you maintaining one's sanity in such an reality might be. Fortunately, the culture of the small town provides the defense mechanism of preventing anyone from being introspective enough to recognize the ennui of their own sad existence.

When the greatest accomplishment you can hold up is that you got out of bed, you're proving exactly my point. There are no other challenges you must overcome, and thus you have no opportunity to grow. The small town ethic of "getting out of bed in the morning" and "working for ours" and "doing for our families" is all a bunch of bullshit. People in cities get out of bed, go to work, and support families, too. Granted, many of us do intellectual jobs that aren't available in small towns because businesses have rightly determined that the best and brightest candidates for such jobs that require communication and problem solving skills will not be found in places like Wewahitchka, but that doesn't mean we don't "work for ours, son."

Small town shitheads like "one of the smartest people in Wewahitchka" create an delusion in their heads that people who don't live in the backwoods must all lounge in bed all day collecting welfare and sharing organic vegan foods we paid for with the tax dollars of our harder working, morally superior brethren in the sticks with our degenerate homosexual neighbors who teach gay sex to preschoolers. This, they choose to believe, is why they never succeed in life. Rather than accept the fact that living in a shithole like Wewahitchka is a living death sentence and that by living there they damn themselves to such failure, they choose to blame those who accept the challenges of growth, learning, and betterment.

Their inability to understand someone who would pursue intellectual achievements rather than watch a NASCAR race or look for Precious Moments figurines on eBay or double check to make sure all the guns are loaded for when that jiggaboo in the White House comes to take 'em leaves them feeling vulnerable. It's a natural reaction to be nervous when confronted with a culture one doesn't understand--I admit small town dumbshit redneck culture certainly makes me nervous--but, where I have the ability to analyze and try to understand dumbshit rednecks, their only reaction is to see anything different as a direct threat.

When "one of the smartest people in Wewahitchka" tells me why he thinks his town is a good place to raise a kid, I can listen and acknowledge what he says. I may disagree, but I can follow the thought process that led him to his incorrect conclusion. On the other hand, when I try to explain the simple matter of opening a dictionary and looking up "slander" and "libel," he is unable to process the mere possibility that what he believes may not be true. Instead, he will shout and tell me to fuck myself because "he works in the law, son" and "knows his shit." Even after he is given several days to research it and think it over and admit his mistake, he refuses and instead crows to friends about how he took on a smart ass city slicker and won. And if it's that difficult to explain a dictionary definition to "one of the smartest people in Wewahitchka," how well do you think he or any of the rest of the town's residents will grasp the concept of intellectual self-determination?

This is why their most fervent reactions are toward those who dare to leave the bosom of the swampy shithole that is Wewahitchka. As I mentioned in my previous Dumbshit Redneck post, my ex, who managed to escape the Wewa Ignorance Camp, is regularly tempted by her "friends" and family who think she's too smart, too cultured, and has lost touch with her roots. Like the boyfriends Danica McKeller warns readers about, they seek to dumb her down so they won't be as uncomfortable with her obvious intellectual superiority. If that's an indicator of an abusive relationship, what does that say about everyone from Wewahitchka?

The simple point is to repeat that small towns breed ignorance and are at the heart of the dumbing down of our country. Considering the simplest tasks "challenges" and declaring their mindnumbing jobs to be hard work is a way for the dumbshit redneck to avoid the glaringly obvious fact that he is lazy and stupid and has no desire to put forth an effort to be anything but lazy and stupid. Unfortunately, such self-denial can only exist within a bubble, so when outsiders pierce the bubble, their opinions must be drowned out with ignorant shouting before anyone recognizes there's an entire world just down Route 22.

20 sarcastic replies:

Wewahickchick2 said...

well, well, well... I see the dumbass gene has followed you to Phoenix.. you are an idiot my dear friend. Might I suggest you get a hobby, I hear for someone of your ability, knitting might be a great one to start with.. hell, why dont you just get a damn job. How sad and pathetic your lonely life must be that you have so much time on your hands, that you are able to start a website about an entire town?? Dude, I would kill myself if I were so bored & lonely. Seriously:( You can find a website, since your only friend seems to be the computer screen, that will help you find friends..

Jake said...

Dammit, you got me, Wewahickchick2! I actually thought yours was a real comment for about 10 minutes. Then I realized it was trying a little to hard to miss every point I had made and reinforce everything covered in the post. Well done!

KeK1974 said...

I can certainly understand your point. As someone "educated" and "experienced" coming into a small town environment, it had its challenges. I often wondered why so many people were afraid of change. Why could they not open their minds and expand beyond Hwy. 71 and 22. Learn to accept and grasp new things, people, experiences. Who cares that this white girl is dating a black man. And why did my new presence in this town suddenly elevate me to "celebrity status"? I agree that limiting yourself to what a small town has to offer prevents some from seeing, learning, experiencing, and enjoying what this world has to offer.

But after reading both of your columns, there is one common point to this debate. You commented on the "small town" folk stereotyping the "city" folk. They must think in the city you lounge around in bed all day, collecting welfare, buying the organic foods. You forgot to mention that they think "city" folk are rude, always in a hurry, and are all criminals on drugs. But you, in return, are stereotyping small town life with your NASCAR, Precious Moments figurines on eBay, and high school football comments. These are just simply examples. I understand that. In both "city" and "small town" cultures combined, though, you have NASCAR watching, PM figurine hunting, bed lounging, welfare collecting people. And again, these just being examples and not limiting these characteristics, doesn't make any one culture more intelligent or superior then the other.

My point is... in either environment you have your leaders and followers. You have successful people and slackers. In the opportunities that presented themselves to you growing up, it seems you grabbed the bull by it's horns, faced your fears, overcame challenges, and now view yourself as an educated and successful man. There are some from Wewa that I have met that did the same thing. Grew up, got an education, faced their fears, overcame challenges (which may have included seeing past Wewa city limits), and view themselves as successful people. But still chose to remain in a small town where everyone knows your name, people embrace their roots, and where they will know what mischief their children may have gotten into before the kid gets home.

It all goes back to my original post. What you find important in life and what defines you as being successful is different then what I would, my neighbor would, or my good friend in Sydney. It doesn't make us right or wrong. And it doesn't make you or me or the SGiW any more of a dumbass. I require my children to do well in school, think about their future and what they want to do. I try to teach them to treat people the way they want to be treated. If they make a mistake, own up to it and deal with the consequences and learn by it. Very simple values. But from being on both sides... living the "city" life and the "small town" life... what I value the most is having and loving my children and simply appreciating that we have a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in at night, and having food on the table. All the other stuff is just extra. I don't place importance on taking them to concerts, plays, sporting events, restaurants, etc. Not to say we haven't done those things. Because, afterall, I was lucky enough to experience them and I want my children to, also. But those activities, ultimately, will not define me or my children.

KeK1974 said...

Seems I forgot to mention that I am not FROM Wewa, Blountstown, or even the State of Florida, for that matter. But in a nutshell, it sounds like you just have a personal issue with this guy. So why categorize and put everyone else down? And if it's your "ex" involved, why do you even care? Just asking...

Jake said...

Bear in mind that hyperbole is kind of the bread and butter of my writing style here. The site is JakeHatesEverything.com, not JakeIsModeratelyAnnoyedByEverything.com or JakeFindsSeveralThingsBothersome.com, so when I resort to broad statements like "everyone" is a certain way, it has more to do with trying to provoke reaction and/or get a laugh than being 100% journalistically fair. Likewise, given the tame nature of the writing I do for a living, I use this blog as a "steam release valve" to crank up the asshole factor and get it out of my system. In light of that, I do appreciate your respectful and well thought out replies.

I think the most important thing you mentioned in your comment was the phrase "face your fears." Big city, small town, and anywhere else, I believe that's probably the crux of the problem I have with most of society. People embrace their fears and either hide themselves away from them or choose to confront them in ultimately meaningless, sometimes dangerous ways.

Why are gay right so readily accepted in Massachusetts, California, and New York? Because there are lots of gays there, but not because the large number of gays changes the balance of the political views. Rather it's because once you are around gay people you start to realize they aren't scary. They're not going to rape and murder you. They're not going to molest your kids or have sex with five other dudes on their front lawns while the police are powerless to stop them because doing so would be a hate crime.

Likewise, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, and any other group that's out to take over the country isn't really out there to take over the county and doesn't need to be feared. But too many people are too scared to get close enough to that which they don't understand to realize that.

I find it hard to respect someone who chooses to hide him or herself away rather than go out into the world and accept the chance at failure. And moreso, I can't respect those who not only are too cowardly to face those challenges themselves, but look down on someone brave enough to overcome his or her fears and become a better person for it.

Therein lies my beef about my "ex." First off, even if we're not together, we have two children together, so she's still a part of my life and will be for at least another 12 years. Second, my problems with SGiW stem from the time that she and I were merely separated and trying to work things out. Instead, he and other Wewahitchkans tried to make her feel ashamed of how very much she'd improved her life and suggested she'd be better off coming back "home." They should be putting her on a pedestal and praising her name to the heavens. Your kids should be learning about her in class, hearing that it's possible for someone from Wewa to get out and make something of her life, but instead she's treated like a reverse carpetbagger.

Ex though she may be, I haven't stopped caring about her and want what is best for her, especially because it also affects the lives of my children. Watching her talk to her friends from high school is like watching a former heroin addict start hanging out with his old junkie friends. Even if he says he's not going to start using, you can't help but figure it's only a matter of time.

Just like that former junkie's friends giving him some smack, her friends think they're not doing any harm, they think they're helping give her what she wants, but they're being selfish because they don't care what is best for her. They are giving her what they want her to want. They want her to regress from what she has become and go back to being a dumbshit redneck like them. They didn't see how it affected our relationship, they don't see the results is has on our kids, nor do they care. All they care about is that maybe they can recapture a brief flicker of remembrance for 1991.

Jake said...

So, yes, I have a personal beef with someone who claims to be her friend, but clearly has his own selfish interests in mind.

Again, thanks for your reasonability.

Wewahickchick2 said...

... jealousy is a hard pill to swallow, I get that... I also understand it should be easy for you to swallow..you cock sucker.. oh Im sorry, I shouldn't call you that when you're trying to quit..

Jake said...

What? Homophobic insults from someone from Wewa? Who'd have thunk such a thing?

Still pretty sure you are Lou just trying to make me think you're a dumbshit redneck piece of trailer trash. Keep trying, but you pretending to be too stupid to be an actual Wewahitchkan.

wewagirlz said...

So you dont need to hate the player it seems you need to hate the game. but you already do since jake hates everything

Jake said...

True, true. Why should I have to choose between the player or the game when I have more than enough hate to go around?

Jennifer Juniper said...

hahaha I love that you made this website JUST about this town! haha

It's really pretty easy to look back and see there's more than just ragging on this town in this blog...

Frank Stanley said...

all this big talk about alot of people you dont know ........step to me and say that in my face and everybody in this fucking hick town will get to see you spit out a couple thousand dollars worth of your teeth ......and dont think this is a joke !

Duel Christian said...

Ahh, Jake. I used to work in TV in Panama City. I know who you are. Both the folks at WJHG and WMBB think you're a joke. You remained aloof, pompous, and you tried too hard. That's why they STILL talk about you. Isn't it nice to know that you are a legend there?
Wewahitchka? Did you even try to learn who lives there? A former Col. of the NSA lives on Wetappo Creek. Surely he's risen farther than a lowly egomaniacal TV personality? Yes, he has. So has the decorated war vet from the Royal Marines. When was the last time you faced combat and decided to live a quiet life?
Fear and ignorance? You are the example.12

Jake said...

Frank, your threats of violence without understanding of grammar, capitalization, or spelling proves my point perfectly. Thank you for your contribution.

Duel, I'm not going to lie, that's actually kind of awesome. I was always under the impression that no one watched me (my station director certainly tried to make that the case). I am happy to hear that I am still remembered since I figured I'd been forgotten long before I'd even left town.

As for your lone example, no, I have not been in combat and then chosen a quiet life (but I assume you already knew that). However, I can see where that would make sense. If you read all my posts on this topic, you will see I compare living somewhere like Wewa to giving up. I really can't begrudge someone who has accomplished great things from saying, "I'm going to rest on my laurels now. I'm moving to a small, quiet town where I can go fishing every day and I don't have to think about anything but what kind of bait I'm going to use." The fact is that is the exception rather than the rule. The majority of people in Wewa gave up long before they accomplished anything more than graduating third grade.

By no means am I saying there is no one in the world who has accomplished more than I have. I have accomplished many things, but in the grand scheme of things, they don't amount to much. What is important is that I continue to strive--and to "try too hard"--to make a mark, to affect the lives of those around me. And I do all I can to encourage those I love to do the same. These posts were written out of resentment for the many residents of Wewa who do exactly the opposite, discouraging others, dismissing someone who wants to be his or her best as aloof, pompous, or egomaniacal.

Best of luck with the food blog, and your striving to pursue your love of food writing on a grander scale to the greatest of your ability. Like it or not, you're doing exactly what I'm advocating and not settling for "just getting out of bed in the morning" being challenge enough as I've used as an example in this post.

If you run into anyone from the old stations, tell them I said hi.

Fuck with me please said...

Big talk for such a sorry punk ass bitch if you so big and bad step back to me when I step your sorry ass instead of running and pulling a gun I can't believe you can put something like that on there you coward punk ass bitch motherfucker

Fuck with me please said...

You ain't nothing but a punk ass pussy bitch call. My teeth out you sorry mother fucker instead of running like a little bitch and pulling your little gun I can't believe you would write something like that you fuckin coward

Fuck with me please said...

You are a fuckin joke you sorry piece of shit

Fuck with me please said...

you sorry motherfucker I can't believe you would write something like that the way you run and put your gun and shit you ain't nothing but a piece of trash sorry low life scum of the earth mother fucker

Fuck with me please said...

U the biggest pussy in this town you run and pull your gun lol u pussy bitch

Fuck with me please said...

You ant going 2 do shit u pussy

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