2B / CHRONICLESnHillbillies and Rednecks by Tommy W. Rogersn”Taake my word for it, Sammy, the poor in a loompnis bad.”n—TennysonnThe Southern Redneck: AnPhenomenological Class Study bynJulian B. Roebuck and MarknHickson III, New York: Praeger.nTwo professors at Mississippi StatenUniversity, a sociologist and ancommunicationist, have decoupagedntheir observations, experiences, andnintrapsychic projections into a “phenomenologicalnanalysis” of the Southernnredneck. If their work has anynredeeming social value, it is as a kindnof thematic apperception test that tellsnmore about the authors and their man­nner of seeing than it does as anynreliable morphology of rednecks. ThenSouthern Redneck does illustrate thatnsome metaphysics (or underlying valuenpresuppositions) always shape theninterpretation of events. Such is thencase whether the values form a Reformationalnor Christian world view,nor, as in the case at hand, whethernthey are pinioned on Marxian fundamentalism.nSeen through the authors’ precon-nTommy Rogers is a professor ofnsociology in exile and resident of thenputative heart of redneck country,nJackson, Mississippi.nccptions, the Southern redneck is anvulgar, beer-filled, abusive, ignorant,nhedonistic, inadequately deodorized,nanimalistic, cacogenic, thoroughlynthoughtless, racist male who, like “thenSouthern white man of whatevernclass,” is “the meanest man in thenworld in any type of situation.” Theirnfemale counterparts are portrayed asn”freaks of nature.” The baseline modelnis that of poor white trash. Truenenough, the Southern woods are fullnof people who would scale rather highnon any reasonable consensus of redneckery.nOften they typify personsnlikely to be encountered driving trucksnor manning service vehicles, managingnor owning Secur-U-Stor rackets,ndoing time as “grunts” in the pulpwood,ngas-pumping or table-waitingnindustries, people who are the substancenof military manpower quotas—npeople likely to pile up in “mobilenhomes” in the trailer parks or to fill thensubsidized apartments as 20-year-oldndual-gravida females achieving thengood life via the career cycle of andivorcee on welfare.nA valid scale of redneckery wouldnhave to account for psychological asnwell as financial factors. While commandnover resources has a great deal tondo with any social evaluation, manynredneck factory workers, equipmentnoperators, and postal drones have angreat deal of money, complete with bignmortgage and RV. Many have thenpecuniary accoutrements of style.nRednecks comparatively endowed financiallynoften retain attitudinal andnbehavioral stigmata which stand out asndistinctively as the Hebraic features ofna Baptist Jew, and make them as readilynidentifiable as a Pentecostal in an$300 suit. One magenta peanut brokern(who infamously charged the taxvictimnpublic, whose lot it is to serventheir betters, $12,000 for a rug with anserene sense of entitlement) served anterm as U.S. President.nIt is not that the composite phantasmagorianof Roebuck and Hickson isnfraudulent in all particulars. The au­nnnthors identify some features of thenwork- and live-a-day worlds of lowerclassnpeople in terms of recreation,nassociations, domesticity, and language,nguaranteed to bring forth anhearty “Ho hum, I’ve always said sonmyself” from any person who is anmember of, or who regularly associatesnwith, any of the redneck species. Thenauthors have picked up on some subtlentraits, too, e.g., rednecks do not likenphonies (which may explain why certainnprofessors feel nervous visitingnredneck bars).nAn abstract ideal type can perhapsnbe built around the commonalities ofnthe life-styles of such culturally diversengroups as Georgia crackers, Louisiananswamp rats, Carolina lintheads, Tennesseenmountaineers, Arkansas hillbillies,nand Mississippi go-getters (thenfemale works in the garment industrynand the spouse will “go get her” at shiftnchange time). If there is a culture ofnpoverty, as Oscar Lewis contends,nsome modes of adjustment, attitudinalnand behavioral features, and reactionsnto similarities of place in the hierarchynof things will result in some commonalitiesnwhether the population is situatednin Mexico City, Johannesburg, ornJefferson County, Alabama. But thenauthors’ composite picture of the rednecknis valid only in the same sensenthat a description of the “farm animal”nas “a creature who grazes in meadows,nsometimes pulls a plow or wagon,nroosts in trees at night, and stands on anfencepost each A.M. and crows in thennew day” is accurate. Each trait isnindeed applicable to some farm animals.nHowever, the descriptive elementsnare not rightly sorted, and it isnrather clear that the resultant imagerynis not useful as fact or type. It is thisnkind of distorted thinking that gives usnthe authors’ das Redneckery.nBut the manner in which the authorsncombine elements finally dependsnupon ideological doctrine, notn”research findings.” And in ideology,nthe authors are true believers, devotednto intrusive sermonizing inspired byn