CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Insults are not a sign of wisdom. Jokes are a very serious thing. And prejudice is a child of ignorance. Those thoughts -- commonsense advice I have read or heard said across the years -- came to mind when I saw a post written in faux dialect. Someone depicted his fellow citizens with rural Southern accents as living in house trailers, not rating diplomas, inhabiting a place called South Shitsville and conversing like cretins in sentences such as:
"So whuffo’ did ah come hyar, yo’ ax?
Ah came hyar t’give yo’ this hyar message: It’s notcher fault.
Yo’ didn’t make th’ fine jobs hoof it away.
Yo’ didn’t does ennythin’ wrong, acco’din’ t’ th’ code o’ th’ heells!
Yo’ did ev’rythin’ yo’ were told, cuss it all t’ tarnation.
Wawked hard, Gotcher GED. Got married up wif. Had kids. Took out a loan fo’ a noo trailer. "
Yep, they use words like "ax," an expression that seems filched from a mouldering Amos 'n' Andy script, and is equally offensive now as it was then. Regardless of ethnic target, the dialect conveys prejudice --somebody who is in on the joke gets that "ax" is really "ask," and thus far superior to the dopes who say "ax." Of course, the smalltowners who seem to drool their words rather than drawl them do "wawk" hard -- though they are poor as dirt and dumber than granite. "Yo'," can read it all here. Viewing the entire cackling depiction of smalltown Ohioans as low-IQ, lazy, uneducated, incoherent and linguistically challenged people who inhabit villages named for turds makes one wonder: How can the creator of such material have a brain so lacking sensibility and judgment, and be stuffed with so much meanness? How can one throw such stones in what had been intended as a thoughtful and highminded protest against a measure pending in the Ohio legislature that makes English the state's official language? Many consider the official English bill an example of blatant state-sponsored prejudice that targets Hispanics and other immigrants. But is it proper to make that point by targeting and mocking smalltown and rural Ohioans?
When you read the "Redneck" screed in standard English it is less inflammatory and more effective, less mocking in tone. But it is still a speech delivered to the residents of a place called South Shitsville, a community of trailers in a village named for excrement, a place of rubes whose ZIPCODE is all zeros.