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And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32

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July 12, 2003


The Beverly Hillbillies Red state/Blue state comedy
One way of appreciating the genius of The Beverly Hillbillies is to consider it as a comedy of social contrast. Nearly 40 years before the Y2K elections brought the issues into a new focus, the Clampetts spent most of a decade representing the blue states of middle America against the quintessentially red state behaviors of the denizens of Beverly Hills.

Who would you really want making the decisions, wise and emotionally stable if undereducated Jed Clampett, or the emotional and neurotic Miss Jane? Would she in fact make better decisions with her nominal sophistication? This is more a question of personalities rather than of policies, something separate from being "liberal" or "conservative." Poor white folk from the Ozarks such as the Clampetts could very well be Democrats.

Odd actually how well the sitcom folks foreshadow the actual politicians, or at least the public images of Bush and Gore. Jed Clampett was a calm, wise guy who had good sense and good judgement that were more important than his lack of high education. He's a good stand-in for Dubya, as sitcom characters go.

Of course, Miss Jane Hathaway makes a frickin' PERFECT doppleganger for Al Gore. Note that itchy, neurotic discomfort with their own bodies. Note the useless overeducation. Note the kind of distant city-fied dedication to environmental causes, such as the Biddle Birdwatchers- as opposed to Jed/Dubya who actually spent time in nature hunting and fishing.

This Blue State/Red State stuff played out interestingly in real life even before Bush/Gore. Nancy Kulp ran for congress in 1984 as a good liberal Democrat, espousing policies about like you'd expect from Miss Hathaway. She blamed Buddy Ebsen for her defeat, based on the radio ad he recorded for her Republican opponent.

Umm, President Clampett. I feel safer already.

posted by Al at 7/12/2003 03:47:00 AM

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