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Hee Haw (1969-1997)

Even as seen today on websites like Rotten Tomatoes, there is often a disconnect between what Critics like and what the Public likes. A good example is The Beverly Hillbilies, reviled by critics, adored by most of the public. A even better example is Hee Haw.

My parents both grew up in a rural environment and so a program dedicated to country music, cornball humor, and silly skits had quite the appeal to them, and we watched it no matter what. Fortunately, I had homework to do during most years it was on. But it had a surprising appeal to much of the country, and eventually everyone who was anyone in Country & Western Music and culture made a guest appearance - even Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

There was a regular ensemble cast, with others who appeared intermittently, and the various guest stars. There were also regular features, two of which are embedded below, and then there was the regular pickin'-and-a-grinnin' performance by the hosts, Buck Owens and Roy Clark (seen above). Flyover Country Heaven, I tell you.

It ran on one network or another for an amazingly long time and it was definitely family-friendly. YouTube has more episodes than you will want to count, and I have embedded just one below. So sit a spell, pull out the jug, get some beans and cornbread, and take a trip back to an era when Deplorables were on in prime time.

Season 1, Episode 1

Gloom Despair And Agony On Me

Where Oh Where Are You Tonight?

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Great Heavens - I take a day off (retired, you know) to go to Galveston and look at all what has transpired.

Everyone seems to have his or her own opinion about the two terms in question, and there will never be resolution to everyone's (or even maybe anyone's) satisfaction. I have my opinions and you have yours, but some people can't help but see everything there is to see through a political prism. I am not one of them.

In conclusion, I offer the following in support of my original statements, found just this morning, concerning those Kentucky Catholic kids vs. Nathan Phillips and his supporters:
_Ultimately, it is a jury of Kentuckians that will decide the fate of the suit, and my strong suspicion is that there may well be an element of "flyover country revenge" in their hearts. Kentucky is one of those states that swells on the two coasts regard as inhabited by primitives with only a few teeth in the mouths._

And, also found today on a popular website:

As I had said, these two terms are now in the common vernacular, although one of them will forever be linked to HRC.
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Well, I try to stay away from politics here, and WTM is one who really doesn’t need to be defended, but every once in while the rule gets broken.

1. Whether you take the definition of flyover country to mean a) the area between urban centers bounded by LA, Chicago, and NYC or b) anywhere that’s not LA, Manhattan, or San Francisco; it’s pretty safe to presume that it’s a really big area. Apparently though it excludes Maine, which being at the end of the food chain, I completely understand. And before someone jumps in, apologies to Dallas, New Orleans, Miami and any other left out major city.

2. The correct Urban Dictionary top definition of “Deplorable” is Individual Trump supporter. According to Hillary Clinton; One that deserves strong condemnation.

Here’s the thing. Mrs. Clinton made one of the all-time great political gaffes when she said that. Anyone with half a brain and who actually read the story behind that speech new exactly what she intended to mean. She went 50/50; half her target were normal Republicans, half were alt-right extremists. What she said was “half of Trump’s supporters.” Unfortunately, that also meant undecided voters, some of whom were not Republican. Big mistake. Cost her the election. A lot of people took on that term as a badge of honor. And like flyover country, it entered the popular vernacular. I agree that "Deplorable" is not a synonym for "resident of flyover country", but at the same time, it’s a safe assumption that a whole lot of them live there.

Today, both politics and political analysis are heavily biased toward current participants, laws, and social environments, and both are lacking in historical perspective. That in turn has resulted in the use of popular vernacular to refer to the past. A good deal of the time it’s just a normal thing; done without malice and can be quite funny. Since the current popular vernacular seems to be quite fleeting, the more some of these terms are used, the quicker they tend to disappear and be forgotten. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not. Soup Nazi comes to mind as not.
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"Deplorable" is not a synonym for "resident of flyover country", though there are certainly many attempts at rebranding. The top definition from your second source is 'Individual Trump supporter', with no one listing your definition. My question remains - why was it important to use a recent political term for a viewing audience from decades ago? An audience which included many Carter and Clinton supporters - Carter being not only from the Bible Belt but a deeply committed Christian for his whole life, and Clinton being from 'flyover country'. As others here have pointed out (and in the Wikipedia entry), it was also 'must-see-TV' for many people on the coasts, including major cities. Surely "country folk" is a more descriptive, more correct, and less divisive term.
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Well, Andrew, I had certainly not intended to bring up politics at all, and this post was not meant to be subtle political commentary, but the two terms to which you object have now entered the popular vernacular, with 'Flyover Country' meaning 'rural' or 'small town' and 'Deplorables' meaning those who live in flyover country. See, for example, and I used to live in Lubbock, Texas, 'the buckle of the bible belt', and it was definitely flyover country full of what would today be termed 'deplorables, and Hee-Haw was must-see TV there. While there are exceptions, most rural fans of Hee-Haw would certainly have been found in that infamous 'basket of deplorables'.
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