I wish someone would look at this for ICMC, because I’m very curious to know if you could map the general public’s interest in “rednecks” as cautionary tales to any particular trends in country music itself. I just think that it’s not quite enough to point out that country music kind of got its start as an actual thing during one of these hillbilly-interest booms. I want to know what we might see if we look to see what’s popular in country music every time this happens.
Because, I have to tell you, I suspect we’d find–just before the wave of “hur hur, look at those dumb hillbillies” culturally, a wave of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” I could be wrong, but I think you’d see some kind of initial stressor–across the whole culture, to which the country music genre responded by making “We out here are fine and it’s awesome” music, to which the broader culture responded “Look at those dumbasses.”
It’s not about kicking “hillbillies” while they’re down, I don’t think. I think it’s about kicking them when they’re trying to stand up.