November 21, 2004

Hooray for the Neckies! 

Iowahawk has a piece about liberal parents, who become distraught and face midlife crises realizing that their sons and daughters are into Redneck culture:

[...] Across coastal America, increasing numbers of families are discovering that their children have been lured into "Cracker" culture -- a new, freewheeling underground youth movement that celebrates the hedonistic thrills of frog-gigging and outlaw modified sprint cars. No one knows their exact number, but sociologists say that the movement is exploding among young people in America's most fashionable zip codes.
"We first detected it a few years ago, with the emergence of the trucker hat phenomenon," says Gerard Levin, professor of abnormal sociology at the University of California. "At first we thought it was some sort of benign, ironic strain. By the time we realized the early wearers really were interested in seed corn hybrids and Peterbilts, it had already escaped containment."

In one recent three-week period, fourteen high school students in Portland, Oregon were suspended for distributing pork rinds; a Burlington, Vermont high school was briefly closed for decontamination after janitors found a bible hidden in a restroom; and forty-six undergraduate coeds at Swarthmore were expelled for staging clandestine Mary Kay cosmetics parties.
Not to be outdone, friend and fellow Neckie 'Duane' sounds 'Dixie' on the novelty horn of his jacked-up BMW M3. An early graduation gift from his parents, Duane has turned the expensive German coupe into an homage to the Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee, complete with orange Stars-and-Bars paint job and spit cup on the console.
"Grandma gave me some money fer a summer study trip over ta Paris, but I thought the paint job was cooler," laughs Duane. "Hell, she thinks I'm over in the Sorbonne right now, studying Foucault and all that shit."
"I'm a-fixin' to put in a nitrous system on the General Lee, so I'ma call Grandma up and aks her for some book money," he adds.

Go read it all if you want some laugh; better if you know something about American culture(s), but it's not strictly required.

I'm a bit of a (Italian) redneck myself - no, my world does not begin with a Husqvarna chainsaw and end with a SAME tractor, but I do own a chainsaw and I'm quite familiar with tractors. I logged my share of wood, and dug holes with my pickaxe, and drove my semi off-road car up a muddy road (and I almost tore apart the oil pan on a rock...)

I think rednecks are more or less the same in any rural area - the difference is that american ones have more guns, and share the wealth and vastness of the USA - thus they can afford bigger SUVs and faster cars.
My italian redneck mates, however, have small sport cars and some of them own hunting rifles - in Italy, one can own registered and legal guns without any licence, but a licence is required to carry guns, and it's hard and expensive to get.

At times I enjoy chatting with them (in dialect, obviously), of course about tractors, cars and tuned cars (and the crazy things they do with them), lorries, crops, wood logging, offroad driving... I had a few enduro and jeep rides with them too, and it was wild fun. I think the symbol of the italian redneck is that tool in the pic at the top of my sidebar. Its name in formal Italian is Roncola, but it's known also as Pennato, and in my area its name is Marassa. The roncola exists in several different regional versions, but it's diffused throughout all of Italy. The main use of this tool is to cut bushes, shrubs, the annoying thorny rampicants (rovi) typical of italian flora, small trees and to cut branches off the trunks after cutting trees. It's a symbol of agricolture, rural life, outdoors and the associated state of mind.
That's why I display it proudly on my sidebar!


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