I saw this video this past Sunday, and it pissed me off.
And, it’s not the willful ignorance on behalf of these people in Arkansas; I am pissed at the NYT. It’s not even their fault either, but I am going to pick on them. This type of editorial falls in the same classification as those millions of pieces that got published trying to understand the Trump voter.
I hate these kind of pieces for one reason. There is no conclusion. No thesis. This is like staring animals at the zoo and going “huh, this one has stripes”
Well, luckily enough for you dear parishoner, I can tell you exactly why this is fucking happening…..ready?
It’s cause they are fucking stupid. And I don’t mean ignorant. I mean they choose to be trash.
I’m going to take some time to explain this a bit more.
I grew up in as rural part of the US as exists. A place as far south as you can go without falling off the map. And, I always seem to be the odd man out when it comes to expectations. I figured dumbasses like back where I grew up weren’t going to get the shot. I also knew they would come out in droves to vote for Immortan Trump too.
I’ll give you two great reasons why people aren’t getting vaccinated. There are many many more, but lets stick to two.
Fear of Difference
Remember Satanic Panic? Lets start from there and go further.
Rural towns cast out anyone who is different. Whether that is by race, identity, sexual orientation, etc……hell, not even any of that. Cause that is default. We didn’t even get to that level of discourse when I was a kid. It was much more: Whether or not you like football….what music you are listening to…if you wanted to go hunt ducks on the lake.
Any child growing up in those places are expected to immediately pick up the mantle of their surrounding community and continue the cultural norms. Progress is not a term anyone actually understands. Everyone in power (not even political…people who have power in the neighborhood, school etc) wants to keep life static. As it was as they were growing up, and anything that questions that is cast out.
You see these schools still trying to ban shit like harry potter. It’s not for any stated reasons like “leading people to witchcraft.” Hell, maybe they believe that. But the actual reason is that it is different. It is something else.
There is no place for anyone who could be classified as “an Other” in these towns. And then they fucking wonder why people are leaving quickly. It’s not only to get a job. Not everything is capitalism.
It’s cause you can find a home away from your hometown. More of a home than you ever had in the place that was supposed to be.
So, if something from the outside world comes in, lets say a vaccine….you are starting off in a negative position. Cause it wasn’t something they remember from the 1950s. And that they want their kids to value.
Fear of Education
And I want to be clear on this one. Cause rural towns will spend a ton of energy a few times a year to celebrate their local valedictorian. Or some other minor scientific achievement by a local student.
I want to focus on the day to day. I want to focus on behavior.
I have had books slapped out of my hand by those whose families have cultural power (see previous section). And if that sounds cliché, too bad. It happened, and there is no other way to see it. It’s a way of enforcing that this is not what you should be doing.
There is a Bill Hicks bit about reading that I fucking love. Cause that’s it. He figured it out.
Intellectual pursuits of any kind are only valued when a rural town has to make an argument that all they are isn’t a place to play football, drink bud light, and hunt in the woods.
Your average person will completely belittle and shoot down any kind of scholastic achievement, and those that express interest in the core sciences are shot down. Hard.
I remember a beating I took once just because I used a word that had more than 3 syllables. I can’t even remember what the word was. I remember the person beating me saying “We don’t need that smart shit. Speak normal.”
Like I know this bit is a little r/iam14andthisisdeep, but its how it starts. Cut to adulthood. You see any fucking startup or tech company setting up shop in the middle of ass end no where. They need talent. They need to exist in a place where you can pick up people with the right pool of talent.
So if you grew up in a small town and you were smart, you got the fuck out. Cause no one there was interested or supportive.
Which only leaves heavy industry. Manufacturing etc. No ability to make the area better and the cycle continues.
Cut to a vaccine. Why would you trust some bookworm to come up with something that can save lives? You are much more inclined to lean toward the conspiracy that makes YOU feel like the genius.
And I am sure the amateur political scientists/sociologists/anthropologists that seem to cover the internet these days will give me a pile of other reasons. Media manipulation, mob mentality, etc.
I am sure all of that is a factor. Here’s the thing, my experience growing up in that world, the cultural need to be an asshole overpowers everything else. If I have to have a niche issue, let it be the fact that the rural parts of the world glorifies abuse and worships ignorance
Let me close this out. Do you know why I hated Hillbilly Elegy? Cause no one blamed the people. It’s always them being put upon. No one ever thought “We shouldn’t live like this” or “we need to find a way to pivot to other industries” or “we should just fucking leave”
Motherfucker you chose to create a shitty world for you and your children to live in. You chose ignorance, you chose to emphasize your own backward ass culture instead of trying to find what a new version of your own culture could be.
No one says that the things you love (yes, even football) has to go away. You can make room for something else and find a path forward. Find what the NEW culture could be. Its an opportunity, and it’s American.
Oh wait, no. You aren’t interested in any of that. You aren’t interested in exploring what possibilities the new could have for you. You are just interested in keeping everything the same as it was in the last age.
So, people are going to continue to beat up nerds, they are going to continue to ban books, they are going to vote for whoever the next Trump is, and they won’t get the vaccine.
It’s all part of a straight line. A straight line that makes these towns the miserable fucking homes of stagnation and ignorance that they are today.
And I wouldn’t live there if you paid me.