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Redneck Ingenuity

picture of redneck group

What is a redneck? Comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines a "redneck" as someone with "a glorious lack of sophistication," stating "that we are all guilty of [it] at one time or another." I would say from my life's experiences that there are probably quite a few of us who are rednecks with an extremely thin veneer of culture or refinement.

I read several different ideas of where the term "redneck" originated, but it was first applied to poor or working class white people from Appalachia, then later to people in that group in the whole southern part of the United States. Eventually the usage has widened to refer to people as rednecks throughout the United States and Canada. I found that the term "bogan" is used in Australia and New Zealand, and I learned in France that the French frequently use the term "paysan" (peasant). Can any of you from other countries tell us your term for rednecks?

It seems to me that at least one aspect of redneckery is being a packrat – if you throw something away, you will immediately need it and wish you had held on to it. Most rednecks are probably just making do and getting by with what they have – something everyone may all end up having to do if our economy continues to decline. Many of the abundant redneck jokes poke fun at old cars in the yard, old appliances on the porch, etc. Snobs might not prefer to think of it this way, but could rednecks just be practicing a different form of the modern virtue of recycling?

My wife and I enjoy watching the Red Green Show, Saturday evenings on PBS. Red and his friends could easily be among those Canadian rednecks. Their inventive use of unlikely objects that had been packratted away along with their heavy use of duct tape shows great redneck ingenuity. Here's a picture from the show's website:

picture of Red Green

The use of large quantities of duct tape by Red Green and the others in the Possum Lodge is a practice is not restricted to just Canadian rednecks.

Here's a redneck moving van in the USA.

picture of redneck moving van

Here's a rear view of that "moving van" heading down the highway.

picture of redneck moving van

This past week someone sent me the following comic strip along this theme.

picture of redneck mummy

A redneck snowplow....

picture of redneck snowplow

Some redneck body work...

picture of redneck body work

A redneck doghouse...

picture of redneck doghouse

A redneck mailbox...

picture of redneck mailbox

Some redneck planters (American Standard?)...

picture of redneck flower planters

A redneck fire alarm...

picture of redneck fire alarm

Rednecks do other amazing things with food as well. Here's some redneck seafood....

picture of redneck seafood

And the "pièce de résistance" – a redneck wedding cake...

picture of redneck wedding cake

I'll post more redneck pictures in the future.


"Every time you change something, something has to change." - Becka Loach

=^..^= =^..^=

Q: What's the most popular redneck pick up line?
A: Hey, nice tooth!

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22 Comments on “Redneck Ingenuity”

  1. #1 Vikki
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Love the wedding cake!! My daughter is getting married the end of May, so I had to pass the picture along to her as a suggestion . . .

  2. #2 David McGuire
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Rob, I am really surprised that you are unaware that the federal government has declared the term “redneck” to be politically incorrect. We are now to refer to those folks as “Appalachian Americans.” The problem is that most “rednecks” are incapable of spelling “Appalachian American.” It has created a real crisis in Washington, and it is yet to be resolved.

    Oh, well . . .

  3. #3 Beth
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    In Quebec we refer to the rednecks as “les colons” Or as the colonists. This is for those who live in the backwoods and don’t get out much.

    Back to the Appalachians, I heard that the rednecks were a group of activists in time of the strikes and union struggles in the mines of West Virginia….

  4. #4 Robin
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    We LOVE Red Green!! Poor Jim – he’s had to learn the Possum Lodge “prayer.”
    I’m a man….
    I can change….
    If I have to….
    I guess!!!

  5. #5 Carrie
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    We are definite fans of the Red Green Show too! My kids love it. My favorite one is where he makes a car out of the fronts of two cars–plenty of duct tape in evidence. Also where he seeds the clouds. Oh, and where he makes BBQ sauce. . . Uncle Red reminds me of my sister-in-law’s dad–they’re Canadian. He looks and sounds similar, but his veneer of sophistication is not so thin. :o) There are quite a few of the RG shows on YouTube.

  6. #6 Ray
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I really get a blast out of Edgar Montrose on Red Green.

    A number of years ago there was some blasting to do to put in a new water main at our church camp. The blasting guy who was locally recommended showed up with one arm in a sling and a missing finger or two – no joke. From what I heard he did good work.

    The crisis in Washington DC will be solved with a little known new gov’t program that was buried in the economic stimulus package intended to mainstream rednecks into local society. Subsequently, “Hooked on Phonics” maker’s stock has been steadily climbing in recent weeks.

  7. #7 Rob
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    @Vikki – If your daughter decides to go with something like the redneck wedding cake, it seems as if the possibilities are almost limitless! She could even do one with TastyKakes from up in PA. And just think what she could do with all the money she’d save by not having a standard wedding cake! Send pictures if she buys into your suggestion!

    @David – As a longtime reader, you know that I’m anything but PC. 😀

    @Beth – Thanks for that insight on québecois. I knew the expression “les colons,” but I didn’t know it was currently used pejoratively.

    @Robin – Ah yes, the Possum Lodge man’s prayer! It always sounds more like a mantra than a prayer to me when I hear them say it.

    @Carrie – Can you get Red Green up there in Alaska? I hope so … I’d hate to think you’re having to endure that winter without Red Green. I guess you could still get him on YouTube – thanks for that tip!

    @Ray – That’s hilarious about the man who was going to do the blasting! Also, have you sent your idea to the Congress Critters or the White House? You may have something there….

  8. #8 Laura
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the new redneck pictures! Have you considered tacking them onto the original redneck picture list to keep the collection up-to-date?

    I like the quote du jour. Around here, we quote the inverse: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over an over, expecting a different result.”

    Garden update: 1st pea flower yesterday. What’s coming up in yours?

    Enjoy the warm weather!

  9. #9 Rob
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    @Laura – Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Actually, I’m trying to make the blog the main thing on ivman.com, adding nothing to the old stuff, except links to things on the blog. Since that stuff has been out there so long and there are links galore pointing to it and it’s in search engines, I’m leaving what’s there there.

    Our peas are just peeking out of the soil today. You got quite a jump on me with the peas. I’m hoping they will bear before they burn up. I planted my tomato, green pepper, and eggplant seeds in trays indoors this past Saturday in hopes to have some nice seedlings to set out in late April after the final threat of frost.

    Concerning Becka’s quotation … we finally replaced our 25-year-old clothes dryer. It’s a newer model of the same kind that lasted so well, but the shape is a little different and more modern. With that difference we had to juggle something we were used to. This prompted Becka’s insightful statement. 😀 I immediately wrote it down for publication.

  10. #10 Ray
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Is there an antonym for “stimulus”????

  11. #11 David McGuire
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I was laughing so loud at the “redneck art gallery” in your post that I completely missed Becka’s comment about change.

    My response to change, and whether or not I particularly like it or want it, is this: “Things are not always going to be like they have always been.”

  12. #12 Ruth
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Years ago, my uncle and his family were moving. They had to take the dog but didn’t have room in the car . . . so they tied it on top! People kept honking and pointing, and my uncle’s family just nodded, like yes, of course there is a dog on the roof of our car!

    Then, we have been known to do a few mildly redneck things ourselves. (not too frequently, I hope!) We used to have chickens, and somebody got the bright idea to use old political signs for building one of the chicken cages. The interesting thing was, one of the signs said, “Do it Again!” We hoped the chickens would read it and remember to lay more eggs. 🙂

  13. #13 Michael
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Interesting concept about being a pack rat and how that indicates redneck tendencies. Given that, I suppose that I have redneck roots since my parents, especially my mother, like to keep papers, boxes of appliances or other items, my old textbooks, etc. I married someone who is not a pack rat. We’re so extreme that we even have our paper shredder in the garage so that junk mail doesn’t even make it into the house. So, I guess my sophisticated veneer is getting thicker.

  14. #14 Rob
    on Mar 10th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    @Ray – Antonyms for “stimulus” – how about deterrent, discouragement, or hindrance?

    @David – “Things are not always going to be like they have always been…” and perhaps never were.

    @Ruth – Was the dog in something or was his body just lashed to the top of the car? Yikes! The use of the political signs themselves may have been an attempt at subliminals since politicians seems to keep laying eggs themselves!

    @Michael – Moving after living in the same house for 12 years has helped break us of our pack rat ways … we hope. We really do try to be careful. I’m glad that Sweet Abigail is adding to your veneer. 😉

  15. #15 b.j.
    on Mar 11th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Antonym for “Stimulus”– Stimulus bill!

    We built a guinea house out of an old truck topper. and free pallets are used for everything from dog housing to pig pens to compost bins. I guess we’re more redneck than anything. EVERYTHING gets reused around here! (well, almost everything…)

  16. #16 Rob
    on Mar 11th, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    @b.j. – Your antonym for “stimulus” is undoubtedly spot-on! 🙂

    It does sound as if you are proficient at recycling! You should consider offering courses.

  17. #17 b.j.
    on Mar 12th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Ha ha! Thanks, but the only advice I could give is “desperation” is the source of invention! With a husband that has been out of work for months, and an economy that is not looking any better, it forces you to look at life differently – re-evaluate things. We are still very well off in this country, materially anyway. I look at third world countries, see how they do things, and see what I can adjust in my own life. It’s a learning experience to be sure! Matthew 6:19-21 and Matthew 6:24-34 (especially 34) have always been special to us, and now, even more so!

    Thanks for your humor and wisdom through this blague, by the way! It is a great uplifter, and I often print some of it to share with the ol’ farmers that gather at the store every morning.

    Now… off to see how my words are going to be tested today!

  18. #18 Rob
    on Mar 12th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    @b.j. – I hope that many who will be facing desperation will be as inventive has you have been because I think more are going to need to than we would like think right now. I’m glad my blog does you good. I enjoy putting my posts out and connecting with people through them and through the comments.

  19. #19 Ruth
    on Mar 14th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    About the dog on top of the car, I asked my family, and they said it would not be like my uncle to put the dog in a carrier first or even to own one. 🙂 Poor dog!

  20. #20 Rob
    on Mar 14th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    @Ruth – Yikes! Poor dog, indeed! Although, I guess as much as they enjoy having their heads out the window or riding in the bed of a truck, the ride atop the car should be all the more enjoyable for them. 😀

  21. #21 NathanatBJU
    on Dec 15th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    My family actually does the redneck seafood. (Complete with seaweed [Ramen Noodles], and octupus [the hotdogs].)

  22. #22 Rob
    on Dec 15th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    @NathanatBJU – I’m sure it’s delicious…. 🙂