Sunday, October 17, 2010

Is Knoxville Appalachian?

And what does it mean to be "Appalachian" in the first place?
How you answer reveals more than you might think.

By Frank N. Carlson
March 10, 2010

A little more than a year ago, ABC’s long-running newsmagazine 20/20 aired a documentary called A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains.

Hosted by Diane Sawyer, a native of Glasgow, Ky., the show focused on a collection of impoverished communities in Central Appalachia, each suffering from one or more particularly deplorable circumstances: rampant methamphetamine and prescription drug addiction; teenage pregnancies the result of incest, because, as one shotgun-wielding young man put it, “the closer the kin, the deeper in”; chronic toothlessness, brought on by poor dental care and too many soft drinks (at one point a man poured Pepsi into his two-year-old niece’s sippy cup); and an overall sense of grinding poverty that seemed as intractable as it was apparent.

To much of the nation and many Knoxvillians, this represents one version of Appalachia.

The other—the one that celebrates Appalachians as independent, resourceful frontiersmen, deeply connected to the land in a way we modern city dwellers aren’t and perhaps never were—is far more palatable and accessible. Drive 20 miles north from Knoxville to the Museum of Appalachia, just off I-75, and it’s there seven days a week for anyone with $15 and a passing interest in handicrafts, wood cabins, and other icons of America’s pioneer days.

To continue reading: Click Here.

No comments:

Post a Comment