Rhonda Vincent Message Board

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Robert Hall

I was always disgusted to see the way many "country" TV shows in past years,both ones featuring music or sitcoms, always had to portray country folk,music, and the artists as backwards hillbillies,even Hee-Haw was guilty of the "hay bales and hound dog" stereotypes...in a way I was surprised Buck Owens and Roy Clark went along with portraying the actors and artists in that fashion..(but I suppose any exposure was better than none)..

To me,it seemed they wanted the rest of the country to look down upon and ridicule those from the rural south or the "country", and the way they lived..like that's all they were good for, someone to make fun of, and laugh at..

I don't think that stereotype finally started to fade, until TNN started showing many programs featuring live performances,and radio started going "country"in the late 80's and 90's--then all of a sudden,it was "cool to be country",and everyone hopped on the bandwagon,then it finally started getting some of the respect it deserved,but unfortunately,some areas of the country still hang onto that old stereotype, and have never really accepted country and Bluegrass as a "serious" art form,and they ridicule and dismiss it as something undesirable..

Where I live, country and Bluegrass still isn't as popular as I had hoped it would be by now,though it HAS come a long way--more so the "newer" so called "country" music, than the older traditional stuff,or Bluegrass though--there IS a devoted following of fans,but nowhere near the amount of ones newer country music now has here,not enough for any radio station of high wattage to decide to go with an all Bluegrass format here,like I wish one would..

I bet many here would change their minds about it if they did have the chance to listen to it,and would open their closed minds long enough to give it a chance!..

Many people are close minded and refuse to even listen to country or Bluegrass music here, and give it a chance,never mind give it the respect that it deserves as the art forms they are..and I feel that old Hollywood stereotype has a lot to do with that..it's taken years for it to erode enough and some people finally found out they LIKE it,after hearing some of the songs..Imagine that!..

Connie,I think you should be mad,if you feel that program made you and anyone from that area look "bad"..you have a right to be offended by it...

I didn't see the show,I tend to ignore or not watch any media hype shows like those,they are often biased and one sided,and don't tell the whole story..

Some of the most talented and gifted artists and songwriters I love and enjoy listening too came from Kentucky and West Virginia,and those two states seem to be the ones that are the at the butt of many "jokes" about their residents,quite unfairly too I might add..

When I met many of them,I would not have known where they were from,if they hadn't listed it in their biography or made mention of it during interviews..most of them didn't talk with a "twang",or act like Ellie May CLampett,and more than one has a college degree,and they all have all their teeth too..

I may be a "Yankee",but not by choice--if I had my way ,I'd have been born below the Mason-Dixon line,or in the Midwest,or way out West..!..I've never felt like I "belonged" here really..
I was the "misfit" who liked that "yee-haw" music no one else dared listen to,or be ridiculed for liking it-- and longed to be where life was lived at a slower pace,not a rat race,and the weather was warm all year round..

I noticed right away when I visited TN and other southern states,that the PEOPLE were much different than most of those up my way..they were polite,hospitable,and friendly,3 traits here that seem to be an endangered species here lately...and GOD seems to be a lot more popular down in the "bible belt" too,and I bet that probably has a LOT to do with it!..

Connie, I'm so glad you posted a response to this report.  Two of the girls featured in the piece> Courtney and Mary Mullins I have personally had as students.  I am currently out of the classroom working as a Reading Specialist/Overseeing a Reading Grant in my hometown of Inez, Kentucky.  I would never want to say that these kids don't deserve help/any kid for that matter, but sometimes situations are portrayed to boost ratings and we all know about this.  In fact, this 20/20 show played to the biggest audience according to Nielson Ratings they had had in three decades I believe, and it also received the most emails an ABC show had received in about the same amount of time. While Mrs. Sawyer stated  that Eastern Kentuckinas were salt of the land mountain people who helped to make America what it is, she did nothing to show evidence of this in her report.  Instead, she perpetuated the myth that Eastern Kentuckians don't wear shoes, have no teeth, and are uneducated.  It was very hurtful to many of the fine citizens of my county, and Johnson County as well.  They came back and did some kind of followup which was on last night and was just as fruitless in my opinion.  There were some of her reporters who spent an entire day at my school last year and followed the girls around all day, interviewed their teachers, and the Family Resource Center Representatives,  etc... all of whom let them know how aprreciated these students are and how helpful our school alone is to these students.  I think Mrs. Sawyer should have been a bigger person than this/at least shown the help they do receive at home. Jim Booth who is the Coal Mining MultiMillionare(His daughter teaches at my school) was interviewed by her and according to his daughter said Diane Sawyer didn't really have no interest in showing the productive things going on in Eastern Kentucky he wanted her to see, just wanted to ask him mostly questions about the drug problems here. She made a bizarre statement to him in my opinion when she ask him why he would want to build a house such as he did in our community??? The home featured in our town also has 200 and 300 thousand dollar homes just down the road from it. We do have some fine "highly educated" citizens as well as some fine "uneducated" citizens but she really chose not to represent the people of Eastern Kentucky this way.  As I always say there is no sin in being poor but there is in not having pride in your life and she chose to focus on the poor without and them only.  As I stated before, I believe children should have all the advantages we can give them when living in these types of situations, but their parents have got to get a grip on their life.  If she really wanted to help Angel the mother then send her to rehab for a year so that she might have a chance of being a good mother in the future for her girls.  Oh I could go on and on but I just felt the need to post this on here after seeing your response.  I write songs and since this was something I've really had a connection to I believe a song will come out of feelings I have begun to internalize concerning it and inf act have the first four lines written! LOL! 
*Below, I have posted a Youtube video address done by one of our High School Teachers (Bobby Allen) whose wife teaches at my school and it would be worth it for you to view.  Thanks Connie for the Post!



Hey, although I have not recieved any comments concerning my last posting on here to warrant this posting, I just wanted to reiterate the fact that I am all for kids receiving any help/all help that is needed but  in no way support parents, etc... who squander the resources they are given!

I wanted to watch the 20/20 episode when it aired, but wasn't home that night.  After reading your post I watched it via the internet. 
As many stated before, TV is all about ratings.  I do believe this was done simply for ratings.  If it weren't, then did anything good come of it?  For example, I didn't hear anything about 20/20 attempting to help anyone in need.
I do think you have a right to be angry.  Especially since that area is your home. 
The program certainly played into a stereotype.  Personally, I hate stereotypes...all of them.  However, I think we're all guilty of stereotyping people to a point. We all need to work at seeing people for who they are and not what religion or skin color they are or what geography they might be from.  Good for you for speaking out against stereotypes! 
What angered me personally about the program was that they felt the need to write what people from the region were saying on the sreen, as if it were some foreign language.   America is full of all types of dialects and accents.   I'm not from that particular region, but for goodness sakes....no need to give me the words on a screen.
Secondly, I don't see what good came out of the program...other than a boost in TV ratings for 20/20.

John S
Connie and everyone else ...
Those of us from economically depressed areas of the country ... those in eastern Kentucky and me from my original home in the southern portion of West Virginia ... have had and still are having a difficult time of making ends meet. Some of us, like me, grew up with in a 4 room coal camp house, no running water, no inside 'facilities' and well ... you get the picture. 
But there are a couple things we have in abundance ... we have love, determination, and concern for our fellow human beings. We have internal fortitude to make it no matter what happens to us and we survive! We share food when we have little and we give love because we had more than enough to share.
Our hearts are mighty big, and we see friends even in those we have just met ... we are good people, and expect others to be as open and caring because that is what God intended.
Being one form a very, very poor background I get angry when programs like 20/20, Oprah, etc. place us in a less than flattering light ... instead of reaching out to help, they offend, degrade, and poke fun at genuine, honest people who in some cases, are struggling to get through the day. They make fun of our dialect and constantly throw jokes in reference to 'Deliverance,' all of which are about as far from truth as night is from day. By the by, I have stopped watching Oprah and 20/20 for that matter.
But my anger becomes tempered when I understand these 'city folk' are not speaking from the understanding of us, or the desire to know us ... they are speaking out of the vilest of evils ... complete ignorance.
John S
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