Leaving Appalachia

leaving appalachia

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This week, we discuss what causes people to leave Appalachia


Chuck Corra: Apologies if you can hear my dog snoring in the background. There’s nothing you can really do about that. Don’t want to wake her up.

John. I’m recording again from Florida. I think we’re leaving this weekend, but really not looking forward to coming back to a blizzard, a snowstorm. When the weather here is in the 70 fives and eighties you got some snow, right? You got some snow. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. Well, it’s done now. It’s snowed about. Probably four inches last night, three or four inches.

Well, I can tell you this. I went out because we’re recording this on at way earlier than we’ve ever recorded, to be honest. So I had to go out and get coffee. I could’ve made it at home, but I decided not to because I figured, you know, it stopped at like 1:00 AM last night or something. I figured the roads would be somewhat clear at nine 30 in the morning.

They were not, I forgot that my county canceled school and because they canceled school at that point, they just throw their hands up and they’re like, ah, no one needs to get anywhere. 

Chuck Corra: They canceled school late. My sister sent me the map. Two or 3:00 PM yesterday and wood county still hadn’t done anything.

Big John Isner: It was, I will say this. It was early for Wood County. What county normally waits till like 6:00 AM in the morning. And then it’s like up or closed. They actually did it at like 7:00 PM. Last night. I was surprised I was, 

Chuck Corra: well, the roads aren’t clear because nobody wants 

Big John Isner: to work.


Tennessee politician tries to pants a referee, ends poorly

Chuck Corra: That’s what it is. That is always, always what it is. Anyway, before we get into our non-sequitur intro, which I assure you, it is a good one. We are going to be talking about a Tennessee state rep that tried to pants a referee.

It comes from my old state of Tennessee. And I talked to you about this before we started recording and you know about it, but I had to share this and credit to the TN Holler on Twitter, for sharing the story and the video that goes along with it.

 The headline here from Bleacher report, Tennessee house rep, Jeremy Faison injected from a high school basketball game, tried to pants, referee. And John, do you care to describe what pantsing is for those who may not be aware of that? Action. 

Big John Isner: Yeah, luckily I was too big to pants that’s I got lucky on that one when I was a kid, but pantsing.

Is essentially walking up to someone, talking to them for a second, and then going straight for pulling down their pants to embarrass 

Chuck Corra: them. Yeah, yeah. Go straight for the waistline. You give it a good firm, yank a 45 degree down out so that you know, they’re, I guess embarrassed 

Big John Isner: you go, you go wasteland.

You go waistlines. I, you said, oh, it depends on the pants. See, I go, if it was me, I’ve never pantsed. Anyone, I guess I should say I’ve never 

Chuck Corra: pants. I haven’t either for what it’s worth, I’m just a sweater. 

Big John Isner: But watching this video, I thought about this. You got to go for the knees in my opinion, because here’s why, if you pants them at the waistline, if you accidentally take down their underwear, You’re in way more shit.

Chuck Corra: Probably some people that’s the goal. Don’t do anything. That’s true. Pantsing objectively. I think we are an anti pantsing podcast. Yes. Just for the record. Now that we have that out of the way. Yeah. Yeah. Don’t try to cancel us for being pro pantsing. We’re not stopping it. Just get that. Get that tweet out of your drafts right now, get it out.

Jeremy Faison, a Republican member of the Tennessee house of representatives was ejected from a high school basketball to this game this week and attempted to pants a referee. Faison, whose son plays for Lakeway Christian academy was unhappy with a foul call. He got into a debate with the official and tried to pull one of his pants legs down before leaving the court.

Via Bleacher Report

And so if you watch this video – I’ll try to link to it or we’ll reshare it or something – he’s pointing and then just goes for like his left pant leg and then leaves. And the referee just looks genuinely confused and kind of offended. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. It’s a weird, like, When you first, like, see him do it.

You’re kind of like, what the heck is this guy doing? Because he doesn’t even look his, it, you know how politicians always do everything awkwardly, even the way that he tried to pants, this guy was 

Chuck Corra: awkward. Yeah. You go both legs if you’re going to do it, I think. Right. 

Big John Isner: Awesome. Well, yeah, first off, but second it’s a reference.

Dude, their belts are the tightest belts in all of the lands because they have to they’re running up and down. They can’t have their pants fall. Let me just say 

Chuck Corra: Amateur hour 100% from, from representative Faison here. And two. Okay. Let me just, I want to just try to capture the mindset here. Why would your inclination be to pants the referee?

And now look, we’ve seen plenty of videos, where, where somebody disagrees with the call and they get into a fight with the referee, not saying that’s okay, but that’s sort of the normal lake alpha male testosterone fueled monster energy BS that happens in something like this situation. What compels a person to say, Nah, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to try to pull his pants down.

Big John Isner: I think it shows. And I don’t, I don’t know this representative at all to be honest, but when I see this, it makes me think of a guy who peaked in high school. And that was his move. 

Chuck Corra: I mean, that’s pretty sad. That’s peaking though. Well, I’m saying like in high school I was, I was a champion pantser 

Big John Isner: but he was I’m saying like, he was hot shit.

Like he bullied kids, you know what I mean? That’s what it screams. ’cause like bullies are like notorious. They can’t fight. They can’t do actually anything, but they’re really good at embarrassing people. And that, to me, screams that like, he, he couldn’t throw it. He couldn’t throw a jab, but my God, he can grab a pair of pants.

Chuck Corra: Yeah. That’s the only type of people that do pantsing or bullies geared my thing. I think he was thinking in his head, oh, I’ve got this. And in his mind, what he was going to do is say, oh, you call that a foul ball. And then he pulls down his pants. He goes, that’s a foul ball. Two to two fouls, 

Big John Isner: but I’m also waiting a second.

Why would he be saying a foul ball and basketball? 

Chuck Corra: Look I’m, I’m not him. I don’t know. Why would he be pantsing a referee in front of everybody when everybody has an iPhone? 

Big John Isner: I’m not really sure why I’m questioning that part. 

Chuck Corra: That’s I mean, my gosh, well, I love this in the sense that I love it because the pants didn’t come.

Because pantsing again, terrible thing to do horribly, just awful and mean, but when he fails and then he walks away, embarrassed, objectively, hilarious. 

Big John Isner: That’s what makes it funny. It’s like he failed and then, you know, too. I’m assuming like either his wife or like, you know maybe a sibling or something was like, dude, you really screwed up probably 

Chuck Corra: his son because that’s what he was watching a play.

Big John Isner: That’s true. He’s his son was probably, you embarrassed me. You got me benched. I do the pantsing in this high school.

Chuck Corra: In fairness, I will include his statement. He said, quote.

Unfortunately, I acted the fool tonight and lost my temper on a ref. I was wanting him to fight me. Totally lost my junk and got booted from the from the gym. I’ve never really lost my temper for all to see, but I did tonight and it was completely stupid of me. Emotions getting in the way of rational thoughts are never good. I hope to be able to find the ref and ask for his forgiveness. I was bad wrong.

via The Tennessean

Big John Isner: Firstly. What I was wondering was that totally. I’m assuming his son wrote that statement. 

Chuck Corra: Oh, that would have been a great punishment for the dad here in this situation is letting the son write the statement. I, unfortunately, I don’t think he did cause I think something, I, unfortunately, tried to pants the referee after my son was drilling threes, like Kobe Bryant at his peak

Big John Isner: As a future D-1 athlete, I embarrassed.

Chuck Corra: Yeah, you’re probably right. You’re probably right. Well, okay. First of all, Jeremy, thanks. That was, that was totally uncalled for, but made for hilarious video and how embarrassed he was. So great love to see that. And you know, don’t pants, people, that’s, that’s messed up, man.

That’s messed up. Just register your complaint. 

Why people leave Appalachia

I guess we should pivot away from pantsing here to something more serious. So now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk about leaving Appalachia.

What a transition. That’s what we do on this show. 

Big John Isner: We pants that topic. 

Chuck Corra: We pants the topic, man. This might be a new thing we’re going to, I mean, people are pantsing. Appalachia really is. What’s hot. I’m kidding. I’m speaking as somebody who left, I cannot knock it obviously. And I’m not. Yeah, we’re talking about leaving Appalachia today and I believe that we’ll be talking about what can make people come back next week.

Yeah, not literally come back next week, but on next week show, we’ll 

Big John Isner: be talking about what brings back. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah, right. That’s 

Big John Isner: exactly. We dropped this episode and like Appalachia population goes up by 2 million 

Chuck Corra: overnight. You know, you got Jim just like, I don’t know what happened, but you’re welcome. 

Big John Isner: I told 

Chuck Corra: you I’d do it.

I told you it’s that fourth 

Big John Isner: booster. Fourth booster. 

Chuck Corra: That’s what it was. Yeah. So not next week, but next week, next week’s show. So leaving Appalachia, we talked I’m actually in the past a while ago about the struggle to stay, which is a real thing experienced by both of us and succumb to, I guess by me where lots of people, particularly young people leave Appalachia and especially West Virginia in search of better opportunities and a better quality of life and a better political environment.

Among other things. Now, John, what you did, which is a great thing is that you put on our social media asking people why they left, what was the reason why they left Appalachia? We’re going to go through a lot of those responses and kind of talk about them. But I thought, you know, for people that maybe don’t know the stories that we have or kind of forget, or maybe they just weren’t paying attention, which I don’t blame you.

 I figured we could share kind of a. Experiences with leaving or almost leaving because especially you, you almost had to leave very recently. Do you, you want to care to share your story on that? Because I think that’s pretty fresh and relevant. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. I mean like most people I was told, you know, you have to leave to be successful and I obviously haven’t left, but that was a huge indicator.

And when you look and you Google. You know average incomes per state, and you see West Virginia and most of Appalachia at the bottom, and you see, you know, the Midwest and the west at the very top making awesome money for the same work you’re doing, it’s tough to stay. 

Chuck Corra: And just moving in general is hard, especially when you have very established roots there.

I mean, you have a house wife and family there. 

Big John Isner: I mean, yeah. I mean, we were looking at a bunch of stuff and a lot of people want to say like, well, cost of living and things like that. I could tell you, I do an entire like analysis on Minnesota versus West Virginia. Their cost of living is higher, but it’s not high enough to where you, you, it wouldn’t justify moving.

Cause like you make a lot better money there. And the cost of living is honestly not that bad 

Chuck Corra: cost of living. All depends on. What you’re doing, what you make and where you live relative to that area. But, and with remote work, now, it there’s a lot more potential to be able to live in different areas with the lower cost of living and be able to make a better salary.

That’s why I left because I mean, there, first of all, when I went to law school I decided that I didn’t want to be an attorney after. You know, some contemplation mind, my second and third year realizing that it kind of sucks. So I I pursued like political public policy type work. Right. And like research based work and just the pay in different places so much better right now and the job opportunities too.

I think that was the biggest thing. More so than the pay was the job opportunities in general, it was just like much easier to find a job in Nashville, Tennessee than it was in Parkersburg, West Virginia, for me, or in the DC area now where I make like a lot more money than I made in Nashville. Even though customer.

Fucking sucks in the DC area. And I hate it. And I don’t know that we’re going to be here for very long but. But yeah, I mean, that was the biggest thing for me, especially when I graduated from college and from law school was the job opportunities because that’s, and that’s one of the biggest things that, that prevents people from staying as we will find out.

In fact, that’s a good transition to this because. Overwhelmingly from what we heard back from, from followers from listeners was that there was a clear trend of people left for school. And then didn’t come back because of lack of jobs or they left because of a lack of jobs or they left because they could be making a lot more money and have a better life somewhere else.

A lot of that was economic, not all of it, obviously. And we’ll get into some of the comments that were about other things, but a lot of it is economic and that’s a real, real thing in real. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. I want to add something that I don’t think is going to be discussed in these comments. And I think people kind of overlook is that Appalachian states like West Virginia, don’t give themselves the ability to compete because West Virginia can’t pay.

For instance, you know, it’s a good example, West Virginia, you can’t pay what Minnesota does, right. Using that because it’s relevant to me like West Virginia, Kentucky, they’re competing against themselves when they do these, you know, these types of things, west, Virginia, or Kentucky has lower standards, but still not the lowest.

And it blows my mind every time. Cause I’m like, you should be begging people to stay or to come here. But you’re creating even more obstacles, which I don’t understand. And that seems to be a very Appalachian thing is obstacles. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. So I’ve got a lot of thoughts on just in general. What, what governments and I guess Appalachia in general could do to help get people to stay.

 Because of, of our economy has completely shifted because of the pandemic and there are real opportunities with the right investments and things like broadband and Politically there’s a lot they could do anyway, but we’ll get into that. 

Big John Isner: We’ll probably touch that. We’ll probably touch that next week.

Chuck Corra: That’s true too. Well, let’s get rolling though. So John, we have some people on social media, why they left Appalachia. We’re going to share some of their responses and talk about them. I’ve know you’ve got some picked out. So why don’t you go ahead and get us started. 

Big John Isner: Okay. Just for cause we don’t want to embarrass anyone or out anyone or whatever.

We don’t know how people feel. We’re not going to share ones that were DMD or messaged to us. Cause there were some that were sent directly to us. They’re not gonna be shared because it’s obvious they didn’t want to be shared. And two, we’re not going to say names or usernames or anything like that because it’s not our place to tell these people’s stories.

We’re just sharing the information that they decide to share with us so that we can talk about it. So that way everybody knows kind of the breakdown here. All right. The first one that I saw I thought was. Pretty interesting because it, we think about this now as like a new problem, but this, I found interesting.

They said my parents left in the 1950s for better economic opportunities. They missed the mountains for the rest of their lives and returned often to visit, but they didn’t move back and it should kind of show everybody like this is not new. No. And I think people want to say it is, but it’s, you know, that it’s like our generation or even the generation before it’s not, this has been happening 

Chuck Corra: forever.

Yeah. Well, I mean, look at what we talked about last week when we were talking about the Appalachian regional commission and it being started to alleviate some of the economic problems and the region, and many of those were out migration. Meaning people leaving and that’s still a problem today. So over 50 ish, years later, it’s still a huge issue.

And that should tell you something that what’s being done is not working. Which I mean, that’s obvious. I mean, let’s, and we’re not apologists here obviously, but yeah. There’s some huge problems. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. And so I wanted to share that one because I just want people to kind of get the context. I mean, now that 1950s is 70 years ago, which I know is crazy to think.

And that wasn’t the star. I mean, it’s just been happening over and over again. And we constantly, you know, we have politicians and stuff that run for office saying we could fix this. It’s just a continuing cycle. So I wanted to share that so that, 

Chuck Corra: yeah, no, I think that’s, that’s true. This one I, I found, I thought it was really interesting.

 It goes, I applied for over 400 jobs after grad school got four interviews, one internship offer, but I got a better offer out of state Appalachia needs public health, but doesn’t want the experts to stay. So here I am. And I’m assuming that this person is a public health professional. Yes. I thought that was really tilling and I sink is pro probably a broader problem.

That is more than I would say. It’s probably more than just public health professionals, but definitely them where we can’t attract the type of people to help improve the quality of life. 

Big John Isner: No. And the funny thing is I can, I can resonate with what they’re saying there, because when I lived in the Eastern panhandle, I applied for 323 jobs, I think is what the final count was.

I had one interview. It was one, the jobs thought I was either too qualified was one of their big things or two, they just, they couldn’t get to the salary that I needed. And it’s insane. Like it’s happening everywhere across the region. And, and, you know, it’s tough to one attract people to come here and to like this person saying, you know, they’re, I’m assuming like a public.

I don’t know what they do, but you know, they’re a pretty good occupation. It’s tough to get people to stay when we don’t pay enough. And job opportunities are scarce. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. I mean, why would you, if, if you can get paid more and have a better quality of life elsewhere, why would you, well, why wouldn’t you, I guess what I’m trying to say.

Big John Isner: Oh, and if you don’t have, if you don’t have. Like for me, I can tell you this. If I didn’t own a house here, Minnesota would have been far more attractive. Cause I wouldn’t have had to sell my house and stuff like that. So if you don’t have, you know, those permanent roots holding you down, what’s there. Why would you say no?

I mean, that’s the thing. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. So mileage 

Big John Isner: you. Yeah, that’s a very, that’s a very good one. One that I thought was interesting. I won’t read their whole one cause I don’t want to get into a lot of it, but, or I don’t want to get into the reason why they won’t come back or we’ll come back. Cause we’ll do that next week.

But they said left to find work in my field that actually paid well, which we just talked about. And because my politics don’t align with the dominant politics of my home state, which their home state, they listed as West Virginia, which, but I think that that happens all across the region. Not just West Virginia, but people are kind of leaving when you talk to young people.

It seems especially young people right now they’re leaving because they don’t see a political future for whatever state they were living in that matches what they want. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. That’s a huge, huge, huge problem that I feel like is often not captured. As well in this conversation, because we can talk about the economic issues till the cows come home and, and, you know, and that’s, those are obviously extremely important and a huge impediment, but I think especially for younger people and for a new generation of, of Appalachians or Appalachian ex-pats that the place has to reflect your values or at least somewhat it can’t, and it can’t be completely against your values.

A huge, huge issue. Now I wanted to, well, I’m going to say this next one because it kind of. Relates and aligns with the one that you mentioned. But this one, I think, is reflective of what we’ve heard a lot from members of the LGBTQ community. This person said the alienation of being queer and Appalachia made me leave.

Yes, there are pockets of thriving, queer communities, but it’s so minor compared to coastal communities. I live outside of Los Angeles now, and I’m. For West Virginia, it’s a constant struggle of nostalgia for home and the desire to make it a more progressive place to live while also not wanting to give up my freedoms.

I have in California as a queer woman, that right there is the sentiment that we hear from so many people, especially people from the LGBTQ plus community who love where they’re from and so desperately want that to be a place that is not only reflective of their values, but where they feel like they can be who they are and not be discriminated against for that.

They want to live their lives like they normally would in a place that was more accepting. To me, this is really sad and a really, really big problem that the region suffers from that we should not be blind to. And that should be a huge problem for everybody, not just a member of the LGBTQ plus community. Look, I’m a straight white male and that’s a huge problem for me because I want the place where I’m from and where maybe I’ll live again one day to be a place that’s welcoming to everybody. That’s accepting of everybody. We’re talking about a place that we care about and people. Don’t feel like they can live there because their community isn’t going to respect them or value them for who they are.

This is a, I mean, this is a conversation we need to have and, and where change needs to happen. And this is, I mean, how do you change something like that? I, I mean, obviously there’s, you know, there are public policy solutions, but there’s also. You know, there are cultural, like problems to that as well. Like deeply ingrained a lot of the being religious, like, and I, as someone who is a religious person can acknowledge that.

So there’s a lot there, but yeah, I think this is I think it was a perfect example, of where the values of the community have, are not are preventing somebody from staying or from coming back, man. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. One of my resolutions specifically this year for me on Appodlachia is to stop making excuses so much for Appalachia.

Cause I’ve listened back and I kinda get, there are points where I make excuses for the region, right? This isn’t one of those places that any excuse you should be, this is by far, one of the worst parts about this region is the hatred that has been. Pushed on people by one religion and to, by socialization, without religion.

And it’s disgusting. You see a little bit of change here and there, but I mean, we’ve talked to people who, you know, are LGBTQ plus and say people, you know, their, their best friends loved them up until the point they came out. And then it was like they had never met before. Unfortunately, you see that a lot, especially in Appalachia.

And it’s because this region unfortunately has taught hatred for a really long time. And like I said, there are people trying to change it, which we hope to help do that, but it’s still happening. It’s still, it’s still relevant and it’s definitely still all over the place in the region. 

Chuck Corra: Yes. We want to, strive to have a nuanced conversation about Appalachia and realize that places are complex and there are good and bad to it.

But I think that we can probably do a better job of not coming off as apologists. I don’t think that we have. But I think that we can be more explicit about, you know, the problems. And this is a huge one and one that we’ve heard from P that’s. Why like the communities that were mentioned, the pockets of thriving, queer communities are so important in the activist in this communities are so important and who we should support wholeheartedly because change happens through organizations and people like them.

But we can’t also sugarcoat the reality. And the reality is, is that a lot of Appalachia is, is not a welcoming place for LGBTQ plus community. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. A hundred percent. And, unfortunately, it’s changing in some of the bigger areas of Appalachia, but it’s not changing as much in the very rural, rural areas.

And that, that sucks. Another one that I saw, which I guess kind of surprised me a little bit. I’m not sure people I’ll read this one because it’s a, I guess a good encompassing one. This one says education and a job. I relocated from Eastern Kentucky to central Kentucky in Lexington for college, and then just stayed here afterward, which makes sense.

But I, you know, go into Lexton I’m assuming that means Kentucky university, Kentucky, but. I’m also seeing other ones that were like, people didn’t feel like they, and I relate to this. People didn’t feel like they could get a quality education at universities in Appalachia, which shocked me and didn’t right, because one, I I’ve never put education like primary education or, you know, high school, whatever in the same category as college, but it seems like people.

Do that, you know, and they say, okay, well, the education system in Appalachia is, you know, it’s bad because it’s underfunded and all that, but it looks like they’re also equating that to universities, which I guess makes sense because there were a lot of times where I was, you know, when I struggled with, why would I stay here?

The education. Isn’t good, but I, I guess I didn’t think about it as much, but it sounds like people do put that together and say like, if I live in Appalachia where the lower education is bad, then the higher education must be 

Chuck Corra: too. Yeah. Which I can’t really speak to. I mean, I’ve had, you know, fine experience and the undergraduate institutions, I attended an Appalachia.

So I mean, and I think that there. I think it’s different because it’s not relying on poorly funded tax bases, I suppose as much. I don’t know. I’m not qualified to speak on that, but I think that that’s, it’s an interesting take and one that, that people could probably speak to more so than me. But that you know, I think education just in general, especially when you’re looking to start a family, I mean, that’s, that’s why you, you look to see what the best schools are and the places that you can afford a house, you know?

 And then that’s, and first starting a family, which is something that many people wish they could do in Appalachia, especially because the housing prices are lower there. That’s a huge concern and a huge concern. This next one was one that I related to. As well. So this says sixth, sixth-generation West Virginian.

And I always knew I wanted to leave since my early teens. I wanted more career opportunities. I wanted to live in a place with more cultural and racial diversity among people with more curiosity about the rest of the world and a desire to be part of it. And I never wanted to live under the traditional conservative mindset and politics in West Virginia.

I chose to live in a city. That’s an easy drive from my hometown when I want to visit. So this is sort of a. I, I feel like I can relate to because I always wanted to get out and see other parts of the country and live in other parts of the country because I’d lived in West Virginia for the, you know, the first 22 years of my life.

And the first time I lived somewhere else has Michigan for law school. And then. One at opened my eyes about how unique the experience was growing up in West Virginia. But it’s also is really important for me to meet other people and be exposed to different cultures. And like, yes, Michigan is a different culture, even though it’s really, it was only six hours away from where I was in east Lansing.

It was a different culture and different types of people in different ways of life. And so I think that’s a real thing. I mean, and I think that that could be the case. That’s not a unique thing to Appalachia, so to speak, but the point about career opportunities and racial and cultural diversity, Is very true and it’s very significant and Appalachian it’s something that I think while the region is diverse, it still struggles with things like cultural and racial diversity.

And it’s something that I feel like if you live here your whole life and you’re not exposed to that, it can hold you back and leave you less understanding of the world around you and the different types of people and their experiences. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. 100%. And that’s the thing. I remember. It was, oh shoot.

Maybe 10 years ago. We’re like West Virginia that the population breakdown was astronomically like white, you know what I mean? Like, and culturally, it was just the same all over the state and all over the region. And I could I get it, like, it’s kind of like having bland food all the time. That’s what I equate it to.

If you don’t have change and different people around, I mean, it just sucks. Like, nothing is different. Everything’s the same. It’s like what’s that movie that they filmed, it was all black and white and then like, it becomes totally McGuire’s in it. 

Chuck Corra: Oh my God, this is so weird.

My sister-in-law literally should me or by my niece showed me a picture of this Pleasantville, literally yesterday at dinner. That was super weird. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. That’s what it’s like. It’s like everybody is the same. And then, you know, you start to see differences whenever. Yeah, I know. Right. Whenever there’s, you know diversity and stuff, and that, that’s what it reminds me of.

And you need that diversity to make things. Place overall. And right now, although we are a diverse region, we’re not diverse enough at all by far. We know it. One that I thought was interesting because this kind of reminds me of my brother-in-law. He does like a one-man-band thing. He’s very successful at it.

And he used to travel all over Appalachia, but this, they moved to Lexington, they’re in Norway. Now, here we go. This person said work while there’s a thriving music scene in Appalachia, there isn’t the business or cultural infrastructure. I thought that was interesting too. Kind of relates back to what you were saying, but I have noticed, and I’m sure you did when you lived in like mortgages.

For that year, the music seems pretty. It’s pretty awesome. But I do get what they’re saying. There doesn’t seem to be as much of a love for it all over the region – there seem to be specific places and that’s it, it doesn’t seem to be all over the region. Like maybe some other places where there are more opportunities.

 Especially in the music scene. So I thought that was interesting. It was, it was a very unique, 

Chuck Corra: yeah. I mean, there’s a lot that goes into that too. There’s there has to be like community support for it as well, which there is, but it’s also like harder to find and just entertainment and venues in general, I think are harder to come by.

In some instances, I remember we were trying to find a comedy club. In West Virginia that could host some of our friends that have been on the show and it was very difficult to, to like, try to figure that out because I mean, it was COVID so there are still some places that were closed, but you know, it was hard to find one that didn’t say permanently closed or, or.

Accepting people or whatever. Yeah. I think living in Nashville, you kinda see how the entertainment industry infrastructure is. They’re not very different and like way too corporate-y at times especially in the music industry, there’s unpack that at some point, we’d love to have Jason Isbell on to do it too.

So open invite them. But that’s huge, I mean, I think those are things that people don’t think about. For new or for like creatives to thrive and places in Appalachia. And I think that’s, that’s something that I’d love to dig into more as to why that is and how you can change something like that. But yeah, that’s a really interesting point.

 And something that I think I’m glad that they raised that issue because it’s one that I wouldn’t necessarily think of. So I’ll leave. This will be my last one that I read here, but I think that. Encompasses, I think a lot of issues that we’ve talked about on this show and and that I think is really something that makes it so tempting to leave.

This person said I moved to Boston when I was 22 and came back to Tennessee when I was 32. I loved living in a blue state. There were higher state taxes. Yes, but everyone had free healthcare and weed was legal. Those are two pretty damn big reasons to move somewhere else. Free free health care, legal weed.

And where were they? Boston. Massachusetts. 

Big John Isner: Got it. Okay. Okay. That makes sense, Massachusetts. Yeah, that’s very true. I mean, that was. Am I wrong or was that done 

Chuck Corra: under Mitt Romney? I have no idea. I think I’ve heard that as it being a blueprint for Obamacare, but I don’t know enough about Massachusetts has healthcare system to be able to speak intelligently on that.

Big John Isner: Yeah, me either. But I just thought that was, I’ve always thought that was a funny coincidence anyway. Yeah. And those are the things that are going to drive people to, to areas, especially. People who have the option. That’s the difference here? Right? If you talk to a lot of people in Appalachia, especially like rural Appalachia, you kind of hear in their voices that they didn’t have an option to leave.

Whether it be financially or whatever, they didn’t have the option. And a lot of people who left, obviously, what’d you say, go ahead. Oh. And a lot of people who left obviously had the option, whether it be financially or, or through their family or whatever. And so. To me people often say like, well, you know, in some of these areas that there’s a stereotype of like this bad attitude.

And I guess if I had to deal with a place that I felt stuck. I would feel awful too. And I think for a long time there were parts where I felt stuck in, in Appalachia where I didn’t have the option to leave. And then finally getting the option to leave and being able to weigh things I think allowed me to have, you know, a better understanding of it.

That just my overall view, I guess. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. One thing I want to add about this particular comment is that there’s a really easy way to resolve those two issues. I mentioned, which is legalizing weed at the federal level and universal health care. That would be a huge solution to those two problems.

 Also I cut off part of this because I thought it went back to. Y it’s only me backwards, what we’re talking about next week. But I did want to mention that this person also said that they know that this is a Countrywide problem, but they noticed the drastic difference between Massachusetts and Tennessee and the way that they help folks who need government assistance.

Poor people are treated like criminals, basically everywhere. But apparently according to this, based on the context that there was a. That people who were on government census were treated better in Massachusetts than in Tennessee. And that’s another thing. That’s a huge thing that I think a lot of times that that is consistent with more Republican leadership that I think tends to, for lack of better word denigrate people that are on government assistance and think that, I mean, that’s where not every Republican, but many view it as something that is wasteful.

 And so that, that may be something that trickles down as part of a cultural effect. I don’t know, but that’s, that’s a shame. Can we talk about that a lot on this show about how, you know, people shouldn’t be shamed for, for utilizing government assistance and the vast majority of them use it because they need it and get off it when they don’t.

Big John Isner: And you know, the funny thing about it too, is it’s not just Republicans. I hear, I hear Democrats that kind of talk in disdain about it too. It’s true. That is very true. And, and, you know, it’s, it’s one of those things where. We’ve been socialized to believe or to think, or even whatever that if you can’t take care of yourself or your children or whatever, you’re less than your failure.

Like the thing, you’re a failure, you’re lazy. You did this to yourself and then, you know, it’s cause there’s people have never lived in that situation before and they don’t understand, but you’re right. I mean, if, if we treated people with, with half the humanity that we pretend to. We would live in a much better place by far and especially in Appalachia.

Chuck Corra: And why would anybody choose to 

Big John Isner: be poor? You know? Right. Come on, man. I cheat. I would choose to be rich. I’ll tell you that, but I wouldn’t choose to be poor, so 

Chuck Corra: much 

Big John Isner: easier. A hundred percent. Yeah. People always say like money doesn’t make things. Yes, it does. Don’t stop that 

Chuck Corra: money. Can’t buy happiness, but it can sure.

Shit help. 

Big John Isner: Right? Like, I’d be a lot happier if I was debt-free that’d be pretty cool. Pretty fucking 

Chuck Corra: stoked. Yeah. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. So, I mean, I think it can’t 

Chuck Corra: actually, it’s not, you know, can definitely, it can definitely put a down payment on happiness, 

Big John Isner: peop people. I think that there’s two types of like, I always, I always laugh.

Like when people who are like super rich are always like, you know, you got to live within your means or B just be happy with what you have, you know, stuff like that. I’m like, you don’t come on. Okay. 

Chuck Corra: Dave Ramsey, who is like stupid, rich, 

Big John Isner: And the terrible guy comes on. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah. And that too, I’m pretending. Well, a lot of things are flex and a lot of things are performative and it makes people money and that’s sad, but it’s true.

 Okay. Are you good on it? Yeah. Cool. Yeah. So first of all, thank you to everyone who shared their story for why they left Appalachia? We appreciate that. Obviously, we had so many, we couldn’t even possibly get to all of them like hundreds and hundreds, but I think that that was a good representative sample of a lot of different perspectives that are shared among a lot of people.

And it was really helpful to understand that. And so I hope that you all. I appreciated that. And we will next week we will talk about what could get people to come back to Appalachia. Compel people to come back to Appalachia if they did leave. And that’ll be an interesting discussion as well.

Big John Isner: I’m looking forward to that part. I am looking forward so we can see what maybe we always like come up with random solutions and stuff, but I want to hear what, you know, the masses.

Appodlachia is a product of 18 Husky. The show is produced by Chuck Corra. None of the views expressed on this show represent the views of either Chuck or Big John’s employers and never should be interpreted as such.

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