Hillbilly

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Hillbilly, What is a Hillbilly, Hillbilly definition, Hillbilly origin, Hillbilly history, Hillbilly term, Hillbilly meaning, Hillbilly slang, Hillbilly jokes, Hillbilly Comedy, Hill Billy

What is a Hillbilly? Hillbilly Definition and Origin

What is a Hillbilly? Hillbilly Definition and Origin
Hillbilly is a term referring to people who dwell in remote, rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia and the Ozarks. Due to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of Ozarkan and Appalachian heritage. However, the term is also used in celebration of their culture by mountain people themselves. Such co-opting and neutralizing use is almost exclusively reserved for Appalachian people themselves.

History of the Hillbilly
The origins of the term "hillbilly" are obscure. According to Anthony Harkins in Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, the term first appeared in print in a 1900 New York Journal article, with the definition: "a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him."

The Appalachian region was largely settled in the 1700s by the Scotch-Irish, the majority of whom originated in the lowlands of Scotland. Harkins believes the most credible theory of the term's origin is that it derives from the linkage of two older Scottish expressions, "hill-folk" and "billie" which was a synonym for "fellow", similar to "guy" or "bloke".

Hillbilly Slang Use
The term hillbilly is commonly used in non-Appalachian areas as a reference in describing socially backward people that fit certain "hillbilly" characteristics. In this context, it is often (though not always) derogatory. Although the described person may not reside in a region that has hills of any kind, it is substituted in place of more disparaging terms like white trash. In urban usage, it is sometimes used interchangeably for terms like Redneck or hick.

References: Hillbilly, A Cultural History of an American Icon, by Anthony Harkins; Hillbillyland: What the Movies Did to the Mountains & What the Mountains Did to the Movies, by J.W. Williamson.

NEW! Highly Recommended Viewing: Hillbilly: The Real Story (2008) (The History Channel). Description: Join host Billy Ray Cyrus on a journey into the hollers and runs of Appalachia to discover the proud legacy of the region's mountain folk. Learn how hillbillies, long misunderstood and maligned as isolated and backward, actually have a 300-year history of achievement and success that has contributed significantly to our national identity. In this two-hour special you'll meet outcast immigrants, war heroes, isolated backwoodsmen, hard working miners, fast moving moon shiners, religious warriors, musicians and statesmen. You will also learn about the dramatic history and origin of the real Redneck as well as the history and founders of NASCAR. Continued below...

You'll learn of their contributions, which include establishing the first labor unions, battling the British, and spawning some of the most popular aspects of American culture today, like NASCAR and country music. And you'll see them in a whole new light. “The numerous candid interviews highlight this outstanding addition. Great gift, must have, welcome addition to the American collection..."

Recommended Reading: The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats. Description: Culture maverick Jim Goad presents a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America's most maligned social group -- the cultural clan variously referred to as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash. As The Redneck Manifesto boldly points out and brilliantly demonstrates, America's dirty little secret isn't racism but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America's widening class rifts, a problem that negatively affects more people of all colors than does racism. With an unmatched ability for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history. Continued below...

In a book that is destined to be praised, reviled, cited, denounced, loved, and hated -- perhaps by the same reader -- culture maverick Jim Goad presents a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America's most maligned social group -- the cultural clan variously referred to as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash (provided they're white trailer trash, of course).

As The Redneck Manifesto boldly points out and brilliantly demonstrates, America's dirty little secret isn't racism, but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America's widening class rifts, a problem which negatively affects more people of all colors than does racism. In a nation obsessed with race, this book switches the focus firmly back toward class, and it warns in a voice loud and clear that America will never learn the true meaning of tolerance until it learns to embrace the redneck.

Until this book, no one has so fully explained why white trash exists in America. Tracing the unique historical diaspora of America's white poor, The Redneck Manifesto offers evidence that mass forceful deportations of white slaves and convict laborers from the British Isles formed the bulk of America's white underclass. Tracing the history of these people, the book probes the hidden cultural meanings behind jokes about inbreeding and bestiality. It gets its hands dirty with blue-collar frustration, recreational desperation, and religious salvation. It discusses the value of Elvis, Bigfoot, and space aliens as objects of spiritual veneration. It offers solid logical defenses of tax protest, gun ownership, and antigovernment "hate speech." And it lists surprising reasons for why rednecks and blacks have more in common with each other than either group does with white liberals.

With an unmatched ability for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history. His own socioeconomic background leads him to prefer crackers over slackers, hillbillies over hipsters, and white trash over white cash. He is certain that the trailer park holds more honest people than the House of Representatives, and he knows from personal experience that truck drivers are more trustworthy than lawyers.

You've not read another book like The Redneck Manifesto because there are no other books like it. It's the sort of book that comes along once in a lifetime, which will be too often for some people. It's a rude awakening for a spazzed-out nation. A fire under the ass of a culturally confused country. A literary laxative for a constipated public. It's destined to prick the conscience of a nation which enjoys feeling guilty, but which doesn't like to do anything about it. You'll laugh, and then you'll hate yourself for laughing. Your mind will be pried open but it'll only hurt a little while. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author: Jim Goad himself a proud member of The White Trash Nation, was the creator and chief writer for ANSWER Me!, a controversial "zine" that he used to publish in Los Angeles. He does not presently live in a trailer park but is thinking about it. The Redneck Manifesto is his first book.

 

Recommended Reading: Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback). Description: In this pioneering work of cultural history, historian Anthony Harkins argues that the hillbilly-in his various guises of "briar hopper," "brush ape," "ridge runner," and "white trash"-has been viewed by mainstream Americans simultaneously as a violent degenerate who threatens the modern order and as a keeper of traditional values of family, home, and physical production, and thus symbolic of a nostalgic past free of the problems of contemporary life. Continued below…

"Hillbilly" signifies both rugged individualism and stubborn backwardness, strong family and kin networks but also inbreeding and bloody feuds. Spanning film, literature, and the entire expanse of American popular culture, from D. W. Griffith to hillbilly music to the Internet, Harkins illustrates how the image of the hillbilly has consistently served as both a marker of social derision and regional pride. He traces the corresponding changes in representations of the hillbilly from late-nineteenth century America, through the great Depression, the mass migrations of Southern Appalachians in the 1940s and 1950s, the War on Poverty in the mid 1960s, and to the present day. Harkins also argues that images of hillbillies have played a critical role in the construction of whiteness and modernity in twentieth century America. Richly illustrated with dozens of photographs, drawings, and film and television stills, this unique book stands as a testament to the enduring place of the hillbilly in the American imagination. About the Author: Anthony Harkins is an Assistant Professor in History at Western Kentucky University.

Reviews

"Anthony Harkins has written a fine book about how misconceptions were perpetuated…he gives us insight into the ways the hillbilly icon has served the 'mainstream' belief system and the reasons the hillbilly icon had and has such power."--Herb E. Smith, Journal of Appalachian Studies

"Beautifully written and well illustrated, this volume builds upon a generation of research on regional images and the politics of culture in the Appalachian South. By setting that literature in the larger context of American cultural history, Harkins not only contributes to a broader understanding of the struggle to define and control national identity; he also points the way to a more critical assessment of the roles of class, gender, and race in regional identity as well."--The Journal of American History

"In the pantheon of American regional icons, none slouches more prominently than the hillbilly....an accessible and thought-provoking analysis of an American icon and its place within the American consciousness."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

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