If you’ve ever spent a summer anywhere in the wilds of America you have perhaps, at some point, found yourself at a party where someone accidentally set himself on fire. Or maybe dudes in cutoffs scaled a flaky shale cliff right over a river teeming with water moccasins and/or old tires. Full-strength Coors was the most potent beer on hand. Molly Hatchet and Garth Brooks played over blown-out truck speakers. Multiple people sported fading tattoos of Looney Tunes characters. Notably absent: sunscreen or sleeves of any kind.
To get a bearing on these uniquely American rituals, we reached a couple of Tennesseans who use first-person pronouns when discussing rednecks. The comedian Drew Morgan offered this theory: “Take a formula for pretty much what everyone hates, and that’s what makes a great redneck party.” At the heart of such a bash is a commitment to assertively -- nay, aggressively -- give a grand total of zero fucks.
“A redneck is someone who puts having a good time above all else,” says Corey Forrester, who along with Morgan is part of the WellRED Comedy Tour and co-author of The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark. “We like loud music and beer, and we take it seriously. I like to call it being giving-a-damn challenged.”
The comedians agreed that the best redneck parties are usually out in a field with a circle of pickup trucks, a bonfire, and way too much alcohol. Yet scan the map and you’ll find some much bigger annual events where brain cells and social norms routinely go to die. Yeah, a lot of them are below the Mason-Dixon Line, but as Southerners marvel when they drive around the North and West: There are rednecks everywhere. This year, swing by one of these bashes if you want to see them in their happiest native element.