I grew up during Viet Nam. The nightly news wasn't fluffy talking heads-it was gritty black and whites of choppers falling to the ground, of body bags, of lost limbs, and blood and gore served up with TV dinners. I have an FBI dossier, because I led a-very passive-high school protest on Moratorium Day. Because, 32 years ago, the beaded necklace in my senior photograph was a Morse Code which read "No More War". I lost classmates to the Viet Cong. I have a son in the military. Again, I say, "No More War."
Live what you believe. Act upon what your heart tells you to act upon. Don't accept the status quo because you think it will protect you in times of financial need. Respect and honor those who are willing to give their lives for your freedom. But don't put their lives at risk.
We're all feeling Sept 11, 2001. Please, let us put those feelings into some sort of action to take control of our lives, our country, and the future of both.
Oh, geez, I've probably just added to that dossier. Whatever.
Live your love.
Several of you have sent me e-mails concerning a planned CBS reality TV show based on The Beverly Hillbillies. The plan is to find a rural, impoverished mountain family and plop them in a mansion for a year, let us all laugh (along "with" them, of course, not "at" them) at all the hilarious situations this leads to, then plop them back in their impoverished mountain home when the show exhausts its novelty. Yeah, you bet I hate this (and yes, I also think that Jed and Granny were the real heroes of the sitcom, but you don't think CBS is looking for a Buddy Ebsen-like dad for this story, do you?)
The original article announcing this ran in the Washington Post on Aug. 29, 2002. You can read about the whole concept on the WP website including some amazing rationalization from "Appalachian documentary film maker" Dub Cornett. Anybody know him?
And you can tell CBS how you feel about this show (or not). The feedback button on the CBS website is at the very bottom of the page and very small. Here's the text of my complaint and please feel free to forward to anyone you think wants or needs to know about this show and what it represents to folks like me:
"The idea of a reality-based version of The Beverly Hillbillies is so deeply offensive and stupid that I searched several web-hoax sites first, sure that CBS would not be on the verge of such an asinine mistake. Instead I found the 8/29/02 Washington Post story confirming that the show is in the works.
The offensive part of my complaint should be obvious to anyone who has suffered from vicious stereotyping including, but certainly not limited to, Afro-, Asian-, Italian-, Latino-Americans, as well as those of us from the Appalachian South. To the wealthy, white, East and West Coast, mostly male corporate executives who've repeatedly raped our region (including cultural violators such as CBS, past and present) you've ripped up our land, filthied our water, destroyed the very air we breath, and exploited our people as a work force just to fill your pockets. You insist on portraying the people of the region as poor, ignorant buffoons not only for the profit motive, but because it assuages any twinge of conscience you might have about turning an entire region and people of the United States into a Third World Country for your own convenience and amusement. Not that you care."
So why do I think it's stupid that CBS would commit to this program when the original Beverly Hillbillies and its offensively stereotypical spin-offs were such successes and Reality TV has become the new economic sop and entertainment nadir of our culture? Well, in getting to the feedback button, I happened on the link to Viacom, great big corporate owner of CBS and a bunch of other corporations, such as Kings Island, Carowinds and other amusement parks in the south and near south, Country Music Television, The Nashville Network, etc.
Imagine, my hillbilly and friend of hillbilly colleagues, how sweet the revenge would be if only a fraction of us who trace our roots to the part of the country that gave us the first written declarations of independence in the republic, the first abolitionist newspaper in the country, the beginning of the Underground Railroad and Loretta Lynn, were to rise up and boycott any or all of these Viacom-owned companies?
Be sure to click on the company's website, and see just who you want to let know how appalling this new program idea is.
And don't forget to write CBS, whether you think they are literate enough to read your email or not.n
Ronni Lundy is the award-winning author of Butter Beans to Blackberries.