A Brief History of the Redneck

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Last week, when I outed myself as an Angry White Man, I got some of that dreaded “nativist” fan mail. (Is it my imagination or has the word “nativist” been used more times in the past two months than in all previous recorded history?)

Let me make this clear: I’m not a nativist, I’m a redneck. There’s a difference. A nativist would be one of those snooty New Englanders in the Mayflower Society. Blue bloods in ruffled shirts. Think Adlai Stevenson…Noah Webster…William Rehnquist. Congregationalists. Pointy-nosed moralizers. Some of them could be angry—Jonathan Edwards comes to mind—but they were angry in a sort of clench-jawed Connecticut debutante way. Ewwwww, don’t talk to her, she’s such a Kappa.

The nativist idea of a rebellion is to dress up like Indians and dump tea in the ocean—the 18th-century version of frat boys pranking the archrival football team.

The redneck idea of a rebellion is to lie in wait with a shotgun for the guy who’s trying to tax your whiskey.


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