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Uneducated Arkansas Hillbilly stereotypes make it to Discovery Channel

How can Arkansas positively utilize the images Discovery is set to share with the world
How can Arkansas positively utilize the images Discovery is set to share with the world
The Discovery Channel

It’s tempting to say that Discovery Channel’s “Clash of the Ozarks” trailers and its stereotypical hillbilly depictions are not that embarrassing simply because the Ozark Mountains are so near Oklahoma.

It’s hard to ignore that the University of Fayetteville is three hours west of Hardy, Arkansas (take a look at Google maps street view). Hardy is hometown to the clashing bunch.

As reality TV would have it, a fight ensues. As Discovery would have it, the fight begins the series.

The exploitation is "all good" because there are some good television documentaries on nature and some of the planet’s most beautiful places. “Africa” was an especially good series that explored African mammals, aquatic and plant life and the ecosystem. “Africa” suggests that climate controls the environment and the behavior of the land’s living creatures.

Hardy and a lot of its inhabitants likely don’t want to hear about evolution and Africa though. Even though the very series on “Africa” may have inspired the “Clash of the Ozarks” series.

At any rate, it’s great this mess is coming now. It will be great leverage for many sympathizers with Arkansas educators. It’s a difficult task to educate communities embedded with ideas that embrace homogeneity and isolationism; where children have children, and violence goes unchecked. Theirs is not just a deep, unwavering belief in Christian fundamentalism, theirs is a generations old, rough, and rugged way of life.

And you can betcha there’s some type of Razorback paraphernalia on the pickups in Hardy town.

Everyone wants a life by the lake in the mountains. For generations over generations, families who agreed to appear in this show have been aware of the benefits to living in the mountains on a lake with fresh fish jumping all through it. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to commune with Mt. Olympus, especially at times like now, when the Winter Olympics are on television?

It may be easy to hate on the hillbillies because their clothes are raggedy and in the age of cosmetic surgery, raggedy looking people are a test of Christian faith. If mainstream viewers can keep in mind what the hillbillies are fighting for: lakeside property, minus Lake Michigan rents and mortgages, Discovery will have produced another successful Southern story.

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