Letter from a farm kid

This is a reblog of an old joke with a new twist, an Elly May Clampett ending (=> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Douglas).

After I wrote a comment, I decided I may as well reblog the joke. It is funny! Anyway, please read the joke, and then read the rest of my comment.

I was still in school 1962–1971 when The Beverly Hillbillies (=> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beverly_Hillbillies) first aired. One of the show’s big jokes was the notion that Elly could beat up strong as an ox Jethro. Such was obviously not meant to be taken seriously, but it seems some people now insist that we do.

The new version of the “joke” is still funny, I suppose. What has changed is the nature of the butt of the joke.

Every joke has a butt. We laugh at someone. If we laugh at someone else, that is ridicule. If we laugh at ourselves, that is as it should be. When we laugh at ourselves, we share an admission of humility.

When we laughed at the antics of Elly and Jethro, we laughed at the ridiculousness of our own prejudices. Yeah, we had prejudices about the Appalachian country folk. Dumb and as strong as oxen, we liked to think. The mythical strength of Elly poked a gaping hole in that prejudice.

So what did we do? What humility did we learn? What grand wisdom did we gain after receiving further decades of instruction in our public schools and from the mainstream news media? In our greater omniscience, we now expect Elly (and city girls too), the wonder women of our age, to out-wrestle Buck Jordan from over in Moonshine Gulch. For real!

Might work, I suppose. Put Elly in a Wonder Woman outfit, and I bet Buck would swoon with delight at the prospect of wrestling her. Perhaps that is how she won once.

Funny thing is I think we are still laughing at the ridiculousness of our own prejudices. Unfortunately, they have just grown stronger and more intractable.

Anyway, let’s thanks the bluebird for the new twist on that old joke.

bluebird of bitterness

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. I hope you are too.

Tell Walt and Elmer that the U.S. Army beats working for old man Doggett by a mile. They oughta join up quick before all of the places are taken.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but I am getting so I like to sleep late. All you got to do before breakfast is straighten up your bunk and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay … practically nothing.

We go on “route marches,” which the sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A route march is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city boys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

I keep getting medals…

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