Every so often something will remind me of an old conversation for no apparent reason. One of those conversations recently came to mind when I was out enjoying God’s great outdoors. Back in the 90s, I lived in North Carolina and had a friend from the Boston, Massachusetts area. The topic of radio shows came up, and she mentioned rather proudly that she listened to Howard Stern every morning. What she said next took me aback. She pointed out with typical Y**kee smugness that, “rednecks aren’t sophisticated enough to get it.”
I had listened to Stern’s show on multiple ocassions at the behest of coworkers before this conversation and found it repulsively purile and needlessly vulgar. I didn’t really have the understanding of things then that I have now, so it just seemed like kind of a rude thing to say and told her there was nothing sophisticated about bathroom humor which, of course, proved her point in her mind. So began the train of thought that brought me to this writing.
Howard Stern’s celebration of the crude and inappropriate is well known and it would be unnecessary to detail it here. He is a pioneer in the “shock jock” style of radio host. He is also just an example of what the twisted Northern sensibility holds up as “sophisticated.” Art is a window into a culture’s soul and works like Piss Christ and dung paintings of Mary are quintessential examples of what fills the Northern “art” museum.
HBO’s most lauded, praised and “sophisticated” show was Sex In The City. For those readers fortunate enough to be unfamiliar, it is a cavalcade of all things the Northerner holds up as sophisticated, worldly and educated. The show is about a group of highly promiscuous women in the Yankee capital (New York City) wearing expensive clothes, drinking a lot, and absolutely obsessed with talking about sex and everything related to it in the most intentionally disgusting and foul manner. It should come as a shock to none that the show was written by a homosexual male who wrote the show about homosexual men and just changed the main characters to women. Other shows on HBO and other such “premium” channels can be seen reveling in needless nudity and such prolific use of profanities that understanding what the characters are saying becomes difficult.
Northerners have an almost inexplicable fascination with vulgarity. They take pride in their overuse of foul language. You’ll never meet someone more proud of their limited vocabulary than a Northerner who uses the f-word so much it sounds like they have Tourette’s Syndrome. They tend to use other unseemly language with equal abandon but that most vulgar of words has a special place in their hearts. This is how unintelligent middle schoolers imagine grown-ups talk, and for some reason they seem to continue to think this is sophisticated. It is the opposite of common sense, which would dictate that sophistication entails the ability to get the same point across with out debasing oneself.