I never thought I’d string the words “liberal redneck” together.
One slim white book has changed that for me. “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark” came to stores on Oct. 4, and was written by three comedians: Trae Crowder, creator of the hit YouTube series “The Liberal Redneck”; Corey Ryan Forrester; and Drew Morgan. They approach topics like gun control, racism and religion in their book with wit, personal anecdotes and a good mix of hard facts. With all three comedians claiming Southern roots, this book is a great blend of calling for accountability while being compassionate to the people—Southerners or otherwise—that they are addressing.
One of the sections that particularly caught my eye was when the writers pointed out that Southerners who vote conservative are effectively voting against their own interests. After touching on the crushing poverty that is a lifelong reality for many in the South, the writers made it clear that by voting for Republicans, Southerners were voting for people who “enact policies that prey on the poor in devastating ways.”
At the same time, something I found difficult at the start of the book was the vernacular in which it was written. The authors had chosen to write as Southerners speak, so every time I stopped reading only to come back later, I felt like I had to re-acquaint myself with the dialect.
In that vein, the authors did include footnotes to help explain or just add commentary to some of terms they used. The footnotes also allowed the authors to interject humorous punchlines throughout the book that otherwise may have broken the flow of what they were trying to get across.
This section and its relevant footnote made me laugh at what I thought was a typo:
“Sundy chicken12 is a tradition in the South, directly related to eatin’ after church.”
“12. Sundy chicken—we spelled it right. Momma makes it right, too.”
While I found the vernacular difficult at times, it was important for the authors’ points to be made in that dialect, which they explained in the book. However, if there was one thing that I never understood, it was the insertion of the different authors’ “Porch Talk.”
In the book, a “Porch Talk” was when one of the comedians would break in and speak just from their perspective. While I liked these sections for the personal take, these sections were inserted mid-chapter, breaking the flow of the overall narrative. So whenever one came up, I put my finger on the page and skipped it until I hit the end of a section and then went back to read it. If you pick up this hilarious book, I recommend you read the “Porch Talks” this way too.
Also, a quick warning to those of you who object to profanity. There is plenty of swearing in this book.
Overall, I found this book to be engaging, hilarious, and unexpectedly thought-provoking. I’m definitely guilty of not giving the South much thought beyond my own stereotypical views. In any case, I enjoyed being challenged by these authors to change my ways.
Dixie Sun News rating: 4.5 suns