Rednecks V Chavs

Seal of Oklahoma.

Image via Wikipedia

Just enjoying a Redneck moment is a thing that appears to be a more regular occurrence these days; maybe its something to do with the time I’ve spent in Oklahoma in recent years? I’ve obviously titled this post Rednecks V Chavs for a reason but let me try to explain more…

It’s funny but I was always one of those British people who never really had a lot of interest in America, the Country as a whole, or the people who actually live there. Like many others, I suppose much of that disdain was as a result of a mental picture, one which was probably often generated by the media. That and personal experience of American tourists visiting this Country in the late 1970’s.

Up until relatively recently in my life, the only Americans I’d met personally were loud mouthed, wore loud trousers and were big-headed and egotistical. The kind that believed, everything outside the USA had little actual worth but was, “kinda cute”. The only others I had knowledge of were (Rock) musicians, or some actor portraying a cowboy, cop or Green Beret; and we all know the Americans won the war… They said so!

Why therefore would I ever want to visit The Land of The Free or even, try to gain some personal experience of The American Dream? After all, I grew up in an era where female elders amongst family and friends, still relayed the old (stereotypical) war-time adage about Americans… “Yanks? Over paid, over sexed & Over Here!”

Previously I’ve done the Florida thing, I’ve been to New York and I’ve played golf in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. Florida was barely bearable and a bit but too intense, NY was a short but relatively expensive shopping trip and NC for the golf, well that was a once in a lifetime golfing experience that I just had to do. Don’t get me wrong, the golf trip was great, the courses were fantastic but really showed up my lack of golf skills… A love of golf is one area of the American psyche that I can actually live with and yes, in general their courses are usually bigger, better, longer and, a lot bloody harder than ours!

In a thread entitled Southern US states similarities to the Third World on the Irish based US Politics web forum one member said…

Isn’t it funny that the prosperous, successful, socially stable states are those where “liberal/progressives” are more numerous, and that it is the God-fearing, conservative red-neck states where incomes are lower, social services are poorer and abortion and divorce are more common?

Take from that comment what you will and, it probably won’t be the same as me however; it highlights the fact; the USA is actually a Nation of many countries in many respects. Visiting north, south, east or west, you can easily feel as if you are in a totally different nation. Hardly surprising I suppose, given the size of the particular nation to which I refer. Although we have a perceived north/south social and economic divide in the UK, the American divide is even more pronounced and transcends all four points of the compass.

So you could be forgiven for thinking I don’t like America… How wrong you are and, probably thanks to Oklahoma and the people I have met there, I simply can’t get enough of it. 🙂

I’ve buried the stereotypical images of Americans I don’t like, never to be endured again and I’m hardly ever likely to purchase an airline ticket to any East or West Coast destination, save for connecting flights to OK. I just love the genuine friendly, family orientated nature of the Okie people. I admire their work ethic, they don’t sit and moan about how crap their life is or expect welfare handouts. Yes they drink (or some of them do), despite OK being one of the last dry states of the union however, they don’t get totally shit faced and cause trouble. They just have a good time, get a bit drunk and then go home!

I can totally understand the attraction of many a redneck women; they work hard, play hard, love their families and their man (both the one at home AND the higher one) and have absolutely no airs and graces or pretentiousness. What you see is what you get… Pleasant, simple, honest fun people to be with.

My wife must have cottoned on to my adoration of the species as she gets to be more redneck day by day! It’s not that she needed to change in any way and, she isn’t jealous in any way or has any reason to be. I think it’s simply she also admires many of the Okie female traits, ones which put a lot of our daily life issues into perspective. In addition, an OK lifestyle would be a darn site cheaper than a UK one!

Life aint like a bowl of cherries, there’s too little laughter and too much sorrow. It’s more like a jar of jalapenos, cause what you do and say today, It don’t go away and stay It‘ll just come back and burn your ass tomorrow! (Bellamy Brothers)

How about that for a maxim and ethos for life?

The term Redneck was originally a derogatory description (like ‘Chav’ in the UK) for the poorer farming inhabitants of the Southern agricultural farming belt states of the USA. Today the term is used just as often in a complementary manner as it is used for insulting someone. Also, Oklahoma isn’t usually officially classified as a ‘Southern State’ per se but it does posses a lot of the relevant criteria and the term Redneck is in common use.

Obviously there will be some people in Oklahoma that don’t fit this description however, I wouldn’t want to meet any of them, it would only shatter my vision of some great people.

Which would I sooner have, Rednecks or Chavs? No freekin contest bro!  🙂

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 28-08-2010, in Society Babble and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Well, this is a nice change from most of the comments I get about what a nowhere place Oklahoma is! I think you ‘get’ the US more than most people – it is widely diverse in culture and politics (though perhaps altogether further right than most of the UK, but I can’t claim to have much politic nous at all, having avoided the subject for most of my life. My experience is that political discussions back home get ugly pretty quick, so best stick to talking about the weather…). I agree that a lot of the people from the US who can afford to travel to Europe are far too impressed with themselves and I warn folks to remember they are each ambassadors of a sort, but I can’t tell if it does much good. I have the sense that ‘redneck’ has become a point of view as much as a class descriptor and whilst I admire a straightforward nature, I don’t share all of the redneck opinions. I’ve always said that unless someone has visited the midwest, they’ve not really see the US, they’ve just been to Florida/ New York/ where ever; no more has one visit to London shown someone much about Britain. Sadly, time and money are both limited commodities. I write in part to share what I can of my experiences, for which I feel very blessed, with friends and family who won’t ever likely make the journey over here. Thanks for dropping by my blog; hope you’ll visit again sometime!

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  2. Dear Mr G:

    Reading about the soul of my homeland was not only validating but put a smile on my redneck face this morning. Thanks for your comment about our Oklahoma Culture. I recently returned from a “40 Days in the UK” stint and my daily travel journal is chronicled on my blog. Perhaps we are kindred spirits, the UK and Oklahoma?

    I’m just so glad that our open, “turning toward, not away” folk here in Native America touched your lives.

    All the very best to you and yours, Kelly Roberts
    AKA, Red Dirt Kelly

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  3. Noni Parrish

    I love you Dave! You’ve made my morning (which, by the way, is beautiful! Wish you were here: temperatures in the low 90’s – very little wind – a great day to get on the Harley! )

    Like

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