Reflections on the Turtle Man and other television outliers

I happened to catch my first episode of “Call of the Wildman” the other night and I’ve had a few conversations about it since.  Some people really liked the show and how Ernie Brown is portrayed.  It turned some people off and they felt sorry for Ernie and felt he was being exploited.  It upset others still and they felt sorry for themselves.  The show seemed to be more polarizing than it should have been at first glance and it got me thinking.  For anyone who hasn’t seen this show, here is a little taste.

So I did some digging around, read some background information and ultimately came across this blog entry by from Urocyon which I enjoyed quite a bit.  (Sorry for the long link.  Apparently I’m not smart enough to link it with a title).  http://urocyon.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/the-kentucky-turtle-man-and-internalized-racism/

After reading Urocyon’s post, I have to admit, that I too had some of the initial feelings of “making us” look bad.  In my case, I refer to “us” as Kentuckians.  I am a city-boy by KY standards growing up in a town of 60 thousand.  I’m also well-travelled enough to have heard the stereotypical comments from people on both coasts and many spots in between.  It’s all in good fun and I normally don’t take myself very seriously, so I never thought much of it.  In fact, I normally just return volley with a stereotype of mine own regarding their geographic origins or ethnicity or religion or whatever and we all have a good laugh…..But, I’m getting off task as that’s not entirely my point.

What I’m driving at is, why do you think television airs these types of programs?  There is “Swamp People” which I believe airs on the Discovery Channel and “Jesco the Dancin Outlaw” who has videos out and even tours the country playing different venues.  If you don’t know Jesco, here is some of his stuff.

Obviously they produce these kind of shows to make money.  That ain’t no kinda answer.  But I’d like to be a fly on the wall to see if they are they making them to inform?  Are they making them to laugh at or maybe withIs Ernie Brown being exploited or is he laughing all the way the bank?

What do you think?

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