The Corner

Cheney & West Virginia

Honest question. I’m from New York City so I have no idea. If you’re from Wyoming, you can make jokes about West Virginia, can’t you? I know a New Yorker absolutely can’t make jokes about West Virginia. And I know a West Virginian can make jokes about a New Yorker. But if you’re from Wyoming, aren’t you — if you’re name isn’t Cheney, at least — part of the normal-American club and it’s all good?

UPDATE: An e-mail:

I lived and pastored six years in the Mountain State, and can assure you that even native born and bred West Virginians can’t make such jokes, in public or in private.  There is a huge reservoir of resentment over the size and scope of stereotypes that hang over Mountaineers like a shroud, and the incest/Deliverance/stupid jokes are the very heart of the bitterness.  You learn quickly on moving there that this is “no go” territory, and that goes from Joe Manchin to candidate for dog catcher in state, from your cousin in Ohio to vice-presidents you like and respect from Wyoming.  Just nah-gah-dah, wouldn’t be prudent . . .

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