America: White-Trash Nation

America: White-Trash Nation September 20, 2012

There are days when I think I might have been so much better off if I had never left the trailer park. Days when I am totally convinced that I am the only real human being on earth surrounded by aliens from a foreign land. Or maybe that’s the other way around, everybody else is human and I’m the alien from a foreign land.

To be sure there were lessons I learned growing up among a trailer park community of young GIs, the disabled, the elderly, the divorced, the abandoned, and the widowed that I would have missed had I been shipped off to that boarding school in Virginia that Mama kept threatening to send me to.

It took my mother years of hard work and little sleep before she was able to move us out of that 12 by 60 into a house made of brick and mortar. A house with a concrete foundation, instead of one jacked up on cinder blocks.

In her own way, I suppose, my mother was a lot like Mitt Romney’s father — after a few years of assistance from the government, she was able to make her own way in the world, albeit her way was a lot less profitable than the elder Romney.


Don’t worry. This isn’t a political post. I don’t care who you vote for in this election, as long as you vote.

The truth of the matter is that the problem with this country isn’t the fault of those in leadership, although, the ineptitude of Congress and the Supreme Court ought to give us all pause. But even they are only a symptom, not the cause for the sheer shallowness of the masses.

If I had known that there was money to be made in televising one’s ignorance, I might not have worked to climb out of the crab pot. But back when I was growing up it was considered uncouth to act trashy in public. Shoot back then you didn’t even dare to act trashy in private for fear God would run and hide from you.

Ignorance was something to be avoided, not exploited. 

But that was back before cable television ruined this country.

Back before anyone ever heard of Honey Boo Boo and Go-Go Juice.

The Huffington Post has reported that Honey Boo Boo and her parents want more money for their disturbingly popular TLC show. Please allow me to point out that TLC may be about the most absurd use of an acronym ever — The Learning Channel??? Pleeeassee.

Dear God, have mercy and forgive us for our inexplicable stupidity.

The show is drawing over 3 million viewers.

One Huffington Post reader commented that had they known that all it took to be rich and famous was to be fat and stupid they wouldn’t have never gone to college. It is a crude remark but entirely apt given the nature of our culture right now.

Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter says that TLC is the most socially irresponsible channel on television. I don’t know if that’s true, given those Call a Playmate 1-800 advertisements that run during CNN’s Piers Morgan Show, but certainly TLC is giving CNN a run for its money.

But here’s the gosh-awful truth of it all — neither TLC or CNN would indulge in such debauchery if it weren’t for the millions of viewers taking to it like pigs to slop.

Like Congress and the Supreme Court, Honey Boo Boo and Mama June are only symptoms of the larger problem.

The real problem is those 3 million plus viewers/voters.

I wish the Pew Research Center or The Barna Group would tackle the question of when exactly did America become the White Trash Nation? And what, pray tell, do we do to stop the stampede of the masses headed straight for the slop house?



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  • AFRoger

    What do we do? Same thing it takes to stop gun violence: make better people. How do we do that? We begin with self-examination first, then consider how we love our neighbors as ourselves and seeing our own family members as our closest neighbors. It is certainly a matter for our spiritual leaders to address, but I’ve never heard the subject approached in a sermon during my entire adult life.
    An area pastor with a large and growing congregation where there are many, many 20- and 30-somethings regularly calls people to be honest with themselves and God on the subject of porn viewing and addiction to porn. I’ve never heard that subject addressed in a message in any mainline church–possibly due to general concern first about making budget and declining numbers. Assumption, I guess, is that porn addiction doesn’t affect people over the age of 45-50. Except that I see all kinds of 50+ ages given in the newspaper for the latest offenders charged and convicted of sex crimes.
    What we put into our bodies greatly affects our physical health and spiritual well-being. Ditto for what goes into our heads.

    • I have never in my lifetime heard a sermon on porn, but I have known people who struggle with the addiction. But perhaps we also need sermons about our addictions to rubber-necking as well?

  • jaz

    I really do believe the Internet finished the job of ruining the world that television started. I don’t know what the solution is.

  • Early

    We likely began to become a WTN when England started emptying its prisons and loading its boats bound for the American colonies.

  • Mass media may make the problem “seem” more widespread and it might even encourage the depravity but the bottom line is this: People are driven by instincts which are base and crude. Some people call it original sin; others say it is a survival instinct that results from evolution. Whatever you chose to call it, at the end of the day, it is evil/bad/crude/base. There has been, is and always will be only one solution. Regeneration.

  • kristen inDallas

    if it makes you feel any better… 3 million people is only about 1% of the national population. And I hd never even heard of honey bobo before this article (though I have a general awareness of what passes for “learning” on the learning channel). Maybe if we (the 99% not susceptible to this junk) just stop talking about it, it will go away.

    • No, it really does not make me feel any better about the exploitation that passes for a “learning channel.”

  • I find it both disturbing and saddening that this article is posted under the evangelical channel. How can we, as Christians, be comfortable labeling other people, made in the image of God. as white trash? While I appreciate your words about the need to stop exploiting ignorance, I cannot help but think that labeling any human as trash is distinctly unChristian.

    • I think any person, no matter their economic standing, who exploits a child the way Mama June exploits Honey Boo Boo constitutes trashy behavior. That goes for the Kardashians and Snooki too.

      • Perhaps it is just an issue of semantics, but I feel that there is a difference between calling a person’s behavior trashy and calling the person trash. I can understand that you might feel that they are interchangeable, but I think it would be wise to drop the language of calling anyone trash.

  • pagansister

    Fortunately never watched the show,nor do I wish to do so. Maybe I’m just an “old person” but I don’t watch any of the “reality shows”, as I really, really don’t care what they do in their everyday lives, rich or trailer park living. . Have seen others comment on the show, on various TV shows, and during those comments, a bit of the show will be aired. What is this woman doing to her child? Using her to make money. I can’t see this child–Honey BOO BOO ( really??) growing up even partly sane. Unfortunately child exploitation is not new.

  • I don’t know why they have shows like honey boo boo or swamp people on tv