Coming back to Appalachia


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This week, we discuss what would get people to come back to Appalachia.


Chuck: All right. Welcome back to Appodlachia, ladies, and gentlemen, gender non-binary folks worldwide and here in Appalachia, ex-pats, natives, and just folks curious about the region. Thank you all for joining us today. It is the 16th of January. I’m in the middle of a pitiful snowstorm. John, am I right in understanding that you’re getting snow too? 

Big John [00:00:37] We’re supposed to, but it’s just rain. I wish I was a meteorologist, that’s the only job that you can be wrong 90 percent of the time and still be considered good in your field. 

Chuck [00:00:48] Oh man, I can’t wait to see the responses that you get to politicians. Professors, maybe. Oh boy, hit John a slide into his DMs. Let him know, please. 

Big John [00:00:59] Well, to be fair, I was two of those a politician and a terrible professor. 

The democrats need a better bench

Chuck [00:01:02] So, OK, well, it sounds like you have that under control. So that’s good. Well, it’s the intro today. I have some ideas. You have some ideas. I’m going to throw one out first because I think I think this is kind of your dream. I’m just going to throw it out. There is going to posit that I think this is your dream and I want to talk about it because I know it’s going to get you very excited, which is this past week I saw some, some news clips about the Democratic Party.

The party that always wins never screws anything up. Tossed out some chum into the water in the form of suggesting that Hillary Rodham Clinton HRC run in 2024. Baby Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC. Oh, I just know, I know you’re chomping at the bit for this. I know you want this, so go ahead and let the world know how you feel. I’m just going to break some news here. Spoiler alert, you’re pumped. I know it. 

Big John [00:02:11] OK. Let me ask this, who’s actually saying this 

Chuck [00:02:14] Very important people, in the words of our former president Donald John Trump, people are saying 

Big John [00:02:21] people are talking, huh? 

Chuck [00:02:23] Well, and people in important places like a diplomat in Washington, D.C., or, I don’t know, the redhead in Washington, D.C. or The Wall Street Journal, which is, you know, is read by many a working-class Appalachian John. Of course, this is the pulse. The heartbeat of the nation is demanding this. 

Big John [00:02:41] Yeah, I try to make sure I’m always looking at it. See how my stocks are doing because I have a lot of stocks, you know? I’m a stock guy. 

Chuck [00:02:50] I bought stock today, but it was chicken stock and it was at Harris Teeter low. Of course, you get the fuck out of here. Are you kidding? I’ve got high blood pressure, bitch. I cannot do anything. But let’s 

Big John [00:03:02] be careful. This would be I hate to hear that people get through that. But anyway, I hate hearing that people have to go through another Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign to which. You know, that’s a big enough problem as it is. I don’t know why Democrats would do this. I don’t know why anyone would want this. It would be a terrible move for the Democratic Party, and it would essentially guarantee. A second. Donald J. Trump presidency. 

Chuck [00:03:31] So let me. Is it safe to say that you are not supportive of the Hillary Clinton candidacy for president? 

Big John [00:03:40] I think that’s a really nice way to summarize it, Chuck. 

Chuck [00:03:44] Well, I’ll forego a way of what I’ll forego coming up with the way to be not nice about summarizing it, but I do have to agree with you. I think that look, this is probably for clicks. Let’s be real here. You know, these articles come out about this. It’s probably not realistic, but it does give us an opportunity to critique the Democratic Party, which in this case, the Democratic Party seems to look back a lot, you know, and OK, I guess in some senses it worked with them for Joe Biden.

Great. But in other senses, like Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, it did not. And I feel like this is something the Democratic Party does a lot where they like to look back and sort of look forward instead of listening to younger people who may want something different because I think it scares the older people in the party.

This is something that’s going to have to change in order for them to actually win elections and not more, not even just win elections, but actually represent the broad interests of people. Because right now, I think, by and large, they aren’t, you know, I mean, you have certain things like in Congress that pass through that we’re supportive of. But by and large, I think that there are a lot of people that don’t feel like they’re being heard. And I think that this will be a prime example of that. 

Big John [00:04:57] It’s like when an NFL team needs a quarterback, but they could draft a quarterback that will play for their team for 10 years if they coach them correctly, or they could sign a really expensive old quarterback who will play for them for two years. That’s the Democratic Party right there. 

Chuck [00:05:15] Feel like you’re really targeting some West Virginia-based alumni. They’re your buyer and left, which is your Chad Pennington’s. 

Big John [00:05:23] They’re both of them, though. Think about that, though. Both of those guys were very promising NFL quarterbacks coming in the league champions and had a better career than buying leverage. But they got on terrible teams that didn’t know how to coach them. 

It took an Appalachian to save the Cincinnati Bengals

Chuck [00:05:36] Look, I don’t I don’t know anything about football. I just literally pulled that out of my ass. But there you go. But speaking of terrible teams, John, terrible teams rather than aren’t terrible anymore. They’re not the Cincinnati Bengals. Look, there is an Appalachian hook to this, so that’s why we’re we’re definitely going to give it some floor time. But you grew up a Bengals fan. I grew up a passive Bengals fan. I would say it wasn’t like, you know, super into sports, but I did have some solidarity with the Bengals. They broke a 31-year streak of losing playoff games this last night. The Bengals, the Bengals, the bunglers, as my dad would call them the cardiac cats is our good friend Brent Francis would call them who I watched the game with last night. John, the floor is yours. 

Big John [00:06:26] They beat the Oakland Raiders. It was fantastic. Look, the 

Chuck [00:06:29] Las Vegas Raiders. 

Big John [00:06:31] Sorry, sorry. Las Vegas Raiders. It’s an old habit. Tough to break. Look, this was 

Chuck [00:06:38] kind of like losing playoff games for the Bengals. 

Big John [00:06:41] They broke the habit, though they broke it. It’s over this, you know, the streaks over. Congratulations to the Detroit Lions, who now have the longest playoff. Losses, I guess. 

Big John [00:06:57] thinks it’s like 29 or 30 years too, so it wasn’t like they were that far behind. The reason I want to point this out, though, is the person who is saving and I’m saying I’m not exaggerating. Saving the Cincinnati Bengals franchise is Joe Burrow from Athens, Ohio. A kid forty-five minutes up the road, Chuck. Forty-five minutes up the road from where we grew up. 

Chuck [00:07:23] It’s so quick. It’s so easy to get there. We couldn’t even finish Mulan. Disney’s Mulan before getting to Athens from Parkersburg. Very important factoid. 

Big John [00:07:32] They were creating this. This hero that we all needed there in Athens, Ohio. Joe Burrow, 

Chuck [00:07:42] 24-year-old hero. 

Big John [00:07:44] Is he 24 of those 25? I don’t know. He’s one of the older 

Chuck [00:07:49] younger than you or. 

Big John [00:07:51] He’s one of the older, younger quarterbacks. It’s really weird, but the guy played really well. He looked cool and calm. I don’t know if you saw the post-game. He’s like the coolest person he wears like these. He was wearing these like kick-ass glasses where they asked him, like, is there a meaning to him? And he was like, No, I think they look cool. What do you think? Like is just such a cool response. The guy just oozes potential and he’s an Appalachian. His parents still live there. You should see when you drive through Athens, it’s just like a bunch of bingo stuff now. It’s Joe Burrow stuff everywhere. I mean, the guy is 25 and 25, and they already name the stadium after him. I mean, come on. 

Chuck [00:08:33] I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that neither you nor I have a stadium named after us yet. 

Big John [00:08:41] Yet now I should, though 

Chuck [00:08:43] I should, waiting on it. 

Big John [00:08:45] I’m assuming Martin Martin’s coming up with something for the Ice 

Chuck [00:08:49] Man and I would have to assume that the state is trying to shut that school down for that reason. But call it budgetary 

Big John [00:08:57] reason, right? Yeah, they’ve got to. Yeah. Mm-hmm. I agree with you. But anyway, congratulations. Cincinnati Bengals. We continue on in the playoffs, and it’s all thanks to an Appalachian hero named Joe Burrow. 

Chuck [00:09:12] It took an Appalachian to break a 31-year curse. Took an Appalachian to do it. You know, we hate to see the 31-year curse. We love to see an Appalachian break it. That’s a beautiful thing. Congratulations to him. Congratulations to the bangles, the bunglers, the cardiac cats moving right along.

Leaving Appalachia

Chuck [00:14:26] On this week’s show, we are talking about what would get people to come back to Appalachia. Last week we talked about people leaving and the reasons why they left, if you’re listening to this right now, we are republishing that episode because we had some audio integrity issues come up that caused us to have to take it down. But it will be back up in your feed. So if you see that pop-up and you’re confused, that’s why.

Today we’re talking about the reasons that people would want to come back or what would need to change about Appalachia in order to have them come back. This is an important issue. They feel like do not get talked about a lot, at least in a larger media. It does get talked about some.

I’m not going to try to discredit that, but there are very real reasons why people leave. In order to build a better, bigger, more inclusive, more diverse, and more economically prosperous Appalachia, we have to figure out not only how to get people to come back, but how to get people to stay and how to bring people in. And I think that’s all sort of included within this conversation. Would you agree? 

Big John [00:15:51] Yeah. I mean, I think the only way to make Appalachia better is to look at what people see as the cons of it. I mean, the reason why people won’t come back or the reason people will. So I mean, I think that’s the only way we can get better. We can’t just put our heads in the sand and pretend things aren’t happening around us. 

Chuck [00:16:11] We can’t do the ostrich move, so to speak. Yeah, can’t do it. It can’t be an ostrich that’s not going to work. So one of the best things to do is crowdsource that information. That was, I am absolutely going to cut that because I was just too stupid for even for this. So and that’s even worse. And that’s a very, extremely low bar. That bar is lower than the low bar like Death Valley Low. Yeah. So we crowdsource this from the social medians because we wanted to hear from you. It’s not really as helpful for us because John hasn’t left Appalachia. I have left and haven’t come back, so it doesn’t really add a lot to that conversation.

We talked to you. We asked you, we said, Hey, why’d you leave? What would make you come back? Let’s talk about that. You’ve got some examples that you pulled from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I do, too. I think we can start with just dove in right into a reporter. Let’s do it. All right, so I wasn’t great at diving in school, but I think metaphorically, I can handle it, 

Big John [00:17:22] so I can’t dove, you know, I’m always belly flop. 

Chuck [00:17:26] You bet you belly fat. You did. Yeah, you did. 

Big John [00:17:29] I don’t know how people do it. And you know, the sad part is like, I already have a hunchback and still couldn’t do you know where you’re you’re diving like that, can’t do it. So I just plummeted to a very painful result. So I mean, it’s I still think about it to this day. 

Chuck [00:17:51] I eventually mastered it after several belly flops, but I hate I hated swimming. I was so embarrassed I wore the shirt in the pool. Were you certain the pool guy? 

Big John [00:18:02] Oh yeah, dude. Shirt in the pool. But I couldn’t wear a white one. OK, because I didn’t want the jokes. So it was a graphic tee for me. 

Chuck [00:18:11] What jokes? 

Big John [00:18:12] You know, the jokes like them because I was a big kid. And if I were white, sure what you’re going through. You know that kind of crap. 

Chuck [00:18:22] Yeah, that’s fair. Kids are mean. Kids are awful at that age. Yeah. I wore a white shirt with Pokemon on it, so it wasn’t quite the same as a graphic tee. But anyway, we’re not here to talk about the trauma for my Boy Scout camp that is from my therapist anyway. So there’s a lot of different reasons why people left, as we talked about last week, but there’s also a lot of reasons that could get people to come back. I want to share one because I thought this was a good one. This person said they wanted to make it better. Hold on. 

Big John [00:18:53] And I need to make you do that and I’ll remind our listeners that we’re not going to say people’s usernames. And if people want to know, I guess who said it can go check out the threads on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but otherwise, we are just sharing little snippets that we received from you all. 

Chuck [00:19:09] Yes. So the first example I have is this is a reason why somebody would want to come back. They said they would want to come back in order to make it a better place for others, and they would want it to come back in order to live in a place that has beautiful landscapes again and to contribute and put the effort into their hometown to make it a better place. I think that that is a solid sentiment a lot, and I understand it because.

I have those feelings a lot of times, too. Part of the reason why I think there’s so much complexity with leaving, coming back, leaving, coming back is there’s a lot of Appalachia that. We want to make it better than that is that there is this conflict between wanting to leave because it is not the place that reflects your values or your or your life or who you are. But then there’s also this conflict with wanting to be there in order to make it more like that. And I’ve seen that a lot and these responses, and it’s hard, it’s a hard thing to try to figure out how, how to handle that, how to approach that. 

Big John [00:20:24] Yeah, I mean, that’s even though I didn’t move out of West Virginia. I did leave my hometown. Oh, shoot 10 years, 12 years, 10 now, 10 years. I mean, that was, you know, a lot of thought went into like, Man, what if I could make my city a better place? You know, my hometown is a better place. And I get that like even though I was still in the same state. I mean, I was still five hours away from my hometown and in a totally different place that didn’t remind me anything of my hometown. So it’s like, you know, that was a constant thought for me, so I’d get it like that. I think a lot of people face that no matter where they move to just whether or not they left their hometown.

Chuck [00:21:10] I think people can relate to a lot of the reasons why people leave are reasons that they may want to come back in order to change those. 

Big John [00:21:16] Exactly. 

Chuck [00:21:17] But it’s always like it’s a personal decision. So personal. 

Big John [00:21:22] Oh, 100 percent, yeah, definitely. And I guess it’s a good transition to the next one because that person that you mentioned just talked about wanting to come back to their hometown. I saw one and I thought this was really interesting. They said that they would return to Appalachia, but they would not return to their hometown. They didn’t give specifics as to why, but I can essentially think, you know, it’s probably because one the politics to the jobs or three, you know, just the social stuff that happens there.

So I mean, I get that there’s I think I think that’s the thing is that there are two groups, one that would return to their hometown to try to fix the things they hated about it. And the other one, the other group who would move back to the region but would absolutely never touch their hometown with a ten-foot pole. Because they just don’t think that there’s a lot of hope there, which I think it is a perfectly logical feeling. If you had that bad of a time or, you know, growing up, there was that tough. Why would you want to go back? 

Chuck [00:22:26] Yeah, I get that. I really, really do. I have a complicated relationship with where I grew up, where you, of course, currently live. Parkersburg, West Virginia, which is an I don’t know how to feel about Parkersburg. Some days I love it, but I also don’t see myself building a future there. And that’s a weird thing to struggle with because at times it feels hypocritical, especially, you know, when talking on this show.

What I’ve learned over time is that I have to figure out what’s best for me and what’s best for my family. And that’s a personal decision. But I look back at the kind of like growing up and to some extent, I grew up resenting where I’m from. I’ve talked about this on the show before. I grew up resenting where I’m from to some extent, and I’ve reconciled with that and understand things a little bit better now and understand, just like the context of what we were living in.

But it’s hard to shed those feelings about Appalachia, especially when people growing up or constantly telling you that you need to leave because there’s nothing you know here for you or you need to seek out something better. It’s hard. It’s hard to look back and say that all those people were wrong. And it’s hard to rewire your brain from what you grew up understanding. That’s I can only speak for myself with that now. I love Parkersburg but I don’t see myself living there again. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want the best for Parkersburg and for all of the Appalachian. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to be a better place because I do. I desperately do. And of course, I do. My family lives there. Still, I have tons of family still living there. 

Big John [00:24:03] It is a weird spot and it’s weird to leave Appalachia and come back to your hometown because I think there are two things one. You see all the changes that happen for better or for worse and you see the stuff that didn’t change and you thought needed to. And it’s like a weird kind of like damned if you do, damned if you don’t type feeling. So I get it. 

Chuck [00:24:23] I get it. OK, so next person, next person. This is a little bit longer, but I thought, this is interesting. This is kind of guy goes full circle. I would absolutely be done. I left after, This is not me. This is somebody else.

I left after getting my bachelor’s degree from a university so I could pursue my master’s degree in art therapy and counseling. I lived in Cleveland for over three years, finishing up a school there because there were many more resources for the profession that I chose. However, a global pandemic in my thesis looking into Appalachian handicrafts is a therapeutic approach made me consider coming back. Listening to Sarah Marsh’s podcast Homecoming has really helped me see that there is a need for mental health and specifically art therapists in southeastern Ohio. So if COVID brought me anything, it brought me back home to where I grew up being able to provide therapy to the Appalachian people I love.

So I think this is a really interesting story because it highlights a gap in Appalachia, so this person left because they could not pursue the academic discipline that they wanted because presumably, it was not available to them in Appalachia, at least in the universities.

Or maybe they found a better opportunity elsewhere and they came back because they saw a need here and because it sounds like circumstances allowed for it, which is great and not everybody has the opportunity to do this, whether it be for pay or for lack of opportunity or what have you in a story last week about somebody who I think was a therapist or pursued some sort of medical therapy related profession and had job offers in Appalachian other places, they had to accept offers in other places just because it paid better and they could make a better living off of it.

And that’s a problem. But this is a good story to share because something like therapy, for example, is in desperate need in Appalachia, and it’s something that not a lot of people have access to here. I applaud this person for having the foresight of seeing this need and cunning, committing to it, and coming back home, so to speak, as they did. And it’s a great story to hope. The one thing that needs to be done in Appalachia is to enable people to be able to do this more. And, you know, that can take various different forms. But certainly, the more that we’re able to incentivize people to come back and share their talents and share their newfound professions with the region, the better off it is. 

Big John [00:26:57] Yeah, I think I think what one bright thing which I know this sounds crazy, but one bright thing that’s happened because of the pandemic, I think has allowed people to take a look at, you know, what they’re doing with their lives where you know what they really want to be doing.

I think it’s also kind of showing people that there are crazy people everywhere. So like Appalachia, getting this like the stereotype that there’s only like these anti-vaxxers in Appalachia has been able to kind of be pushed back against because you’re seeing it all across the country, everywhere has crazy people. And that has allowed people to feel more comfortable, I think, at times. That’s part of the pandemic. But I think this is where people have finally been able to kind of take a break, look around, see a need and say I can. I can fix that, you know, there and move back, which is a great opportunity.

This brings me to my next one, which I think is really important and goes into kind of the COVID stuff. This person said they had left, but they’re working to find a path back with remote work, which remote work, I think, is the biggest thing that can help the region now allowing people. It allows people to make money at a different level while still remaining in Appalachia. So, for instance, West Virginia, has one of the lowest incomes in the entire, you know, median incomes in the entire country. But if you work remotely, let’s say with a job in California, you tend to get paid more. Even though you live in West Virginia, which has a lower cost of living, it’s a good gig. It’s a good deal.

I think that that’s where states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, uh, Mississippi, Alabama, I think that’s where some of these states really need to start focusing on how can we bring people into our state build population? And I think that’s through remote work. I don’t think. I don’t think we currently have the right mindset currently in, probably. Economic development across the region, I think that there needs to be kind of a new branch that focuses on technological advances to make remote work as easy as possible. And I think this is where we can really start to build a path to bring people back and to bring new people here. I think remote work is going to be really key moving forward. 

Chuck [00:29:24] It absolutely is. It’s a make or breaks do or die kind of thing. And full disclosure, I now work fully remote. I was remote in my previous job because of the pandemic, although they were transitioning back to the office, which was not a fan of that. And so, yeah, the job I have now is fully remote and it’s great. And I love it because it allows for more flexibility and allows for people to be able to move to places that maybe they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

I think because you remember last week we talked so much about this, a lot of the reasons, including mine for why people left was job opportunities and the lack of job opportunities in Appalachia, particularly in West Virginia. This starts to remedy that problem, it’s not it’s more like a large Band-Aid rather than a full fix, but it remedies that problem if there is the infrastructure to support that in parts of Appalachia. So many people since the pandemic who had the resources particularly that’s important to point out left their big, expensive cities for quieter, more affordable places to live while retaining their big city salaries because they were too remote.

That’s why the housing market of Bozeman, Montana, is booming right now because lots of people move there because it’s beautiful. It’s quieter and it’s away from San Francisco Los Angeles or New York City. So that’s a big thing, and I feel like it’s an opportunity for parts of Appalachia to really take advantage of, and it creates a new opportunity for young people to potentially stay if they want to. Now that’s another thing is like you have to make the area desirable. It’s not just the convenience factor, too. That’s a whole other thing, but I do think that that’s something that could be a way to retain more people, especially like more younger people in the future. 

Big John [00:31:31] I hope. 2%. Hundred percent. That’s exactly right. And we need to stop these gimmicks, I don’t like these gimmicks like the whole like, yeah, we’ll pay you $10000 or a or a, you know, a parking pass to a state park, you know, I don’t like that. You know, you should do. Take that money and develop broadband so that I can create an actual network that’s reliable for my remote work. Because if I don’t have that, I move into your state. Yeah. And you know, it’s that’s just how it is. And. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s been focused on enough. 

Chuck [00:32:09] First of all, State Parks should be free to park and I pay enough in taxes of some fucking bullshit. Second of all, yeah, you’re right, because I know you’re talking about being too into it or whatever the hell it’s called. It’s like, OK, I get it. I get the idea. But capitalism in and of itself is not necessarily going to solve all these problems. It has to be more than just like, Oh, well, we’ll throw money at people and everything will be solved. That’s not the solution. So there has to be an infrastructure that supports that. And so many times these people have found out that, oh well, I love to work remotely and West Virginia, but I don’t get reliable internet going.

So this person said the politics and lack of opportunity made me leave. I feel somewhat guilty for giving up and leaving West Virginia. I would move back in a heartbeat if it became more progressive politically and better-paying jobs became available.

So. I get this a lot, and I understand this because I do I harbor a lot of guilt too for many reasons, not only because I left the state that I love, but you know, my family’s there as well. This is really hard for a lot of younger people because I think younger people tend to trend more politically progressive when they see. The way that state politics. Goes to places like West Virginia Kentucky Tennessee or Ohio.

It’s really hard to justify going back, especially if you live in a place. I mean, if you live in a place like California, well, like yes, the cost of living is high. They have their own huge problems, but you have things like legal weed, and LGBTQ inclusive policies and environments for one example, now, look, I’m not excusing problems in places like California, they have plenty.

What we’ve seen a lot and especially last week, lots of people commented last week saying that they left Appalachia for a different place because that place was more accepting of their values and of who they were as a person and who they are as a person. And until Appalachia can give that to them, they aren’t coming back. I certainly can’t blame them for that. That’s a completely and totally valid reason for leaving. And it should be a big red flag for people making policies in Appalachia.

This sentiment is so true for so many people, and one of the reasons why the region is hemorrhaging so many young people. And when I say young people, I don’t mean just like Gen Z and people fresh out of college. I mean, millennials do like our age. You know, we’re still quote-unquote young. I don’t care what anybody says. I’m only thirty-one, so 

Big John [00:35:09] I turn 30 this year. 

Chuck [00:35:10] So you’re ready to feel it and get ready to feel that hit hard like a train, my friend, 

Big John [00:35:16] buddy, buddy. I feel I feel part. I am. People say they’re old souls. I’m an old body. 

Chuck [00:35:26] That’s just in my mind, it’s been cracking for years since my early 20s, so I don’t know if I get it’s falling apart. 

Big John [00:35:35] I’m 29 and had to get a colonoscopy. 

Chuck [00:35:39] I did wonder about that. 

Big John [00:35:42] They say you should. Now they’re finding colon cancer is happening in young people right now because of the amount of processed food we ate growing up. Oh so shit. Colon cancer, that’s not good. Colon cancer is now the project will be the second most common reason for millennials to die. 

Chuck [00:36:01] Oh my gosh. What is the first? 

Big John [00:36:05] I think like a heart attack or something, or it was some other cancer, but. Yeah. Colon cancer is on the rise, especially in our age group, so it’s good to get checked. Good news. Don’t have it. So that was great. Also, you know that you know how we can’t waterboard terrorists anymore. 

Chuck [00:36:25] Technically, yes. Does the government do it? Okay? Privately, yes. 

Big John [00:36:32] I think instead, we should make them do colonoscopy prep. That is, I think, the worst thing. So just in case, we’re looking for a new punishment, maybe we start with a whole bottle mirror, relax and see what happens. 

Chuck [00:36:47] So you’re saying that they should shit themselves? OK, that’s an interesting take. Central Intelligence Agency. If you’re listening, take some notes. 

Big John [00:36:59] When you get one, when you get one, you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, so that’s me that’s my PSA now. Go get if you’re getting into your thirties, early forties, go get a colonoscopy. 

Chuck [00:37:13] And I like Tom Green said, Hey, kids, check your balls so you don’t get cancer. Check your butt. Yep. 

Big John [00:37:18] So check your colon because your butt, it is getting real out there. And even my doctor said in there anyway. And there and down there, anyway. We talked about this, we talked about the LGBT Plus stuff, we talked to a bunch of your laughter in this time. I don’t know. Anyway, we talked about a lot of the social things, but stuff is just funny. 

Chuck [00:37:47] It’s just funny. 

Big John [00:37:49] We talked about a bunch of stuff when it came to social issues, LGBTQ plus and, you know, reasons to leave in very justifiable, I think, you know, makes total sense that I think relates to one of the ones that I picked out, which was somebody said that they weren’t sure that they would move back to Appalachia. But if they were going to, they would only do so if they moved back to a major city like Pittsburgh. And I’m assuming it’s for two reasons. One, because socially, it probably lines up more with where they are and including politically and to probably the number of jobs available there. And a big one I think people overlook is the amenities that these places allow for young people.

I mentioned it on the last podcast. People, younger people, you know, including millennials, OK, because I swore that we’re still young. We care about things like amenities, we can’t look at that when we choose places to move. And that seems to be overlooked in parts of Appalachia because unfortunately, we haven’t focused on that because it really hasn’t been a need because nobody’s moving here. But places like Pittsburgh are a good example of, you know, major cities creating amenities that are attractive for young people while also being able to carry a decent economy. 

Chuck [00:39:11] And you have to create reasons that people want to be there like exciting reasons. Today, more so than ever, people are able to be mobile and move more around. Now, not everybody, obviously, but with the advent of remote work and everything, there is more choice over where someone can live. It’s not just jobs anymore, and so you have to create incentives for people to want to stay. I mean, people knock Target. But if you put a target in Parkersburg, it might make a difference. Who knows? And look before people start saying anything, obviously more than a target is needed. I was using that just as an example. So just put those tweets back in the drafts 

Big John [00:39:54] them I’m with you. I love Target. Also, I want to give you an update that it has started snowing here. OK. So I’m not wrong. So just in case you’re wondering, God, we are, we are now snowing, even though they said like it is going to be six to 11 inches or whatever, there’s no way that’s going to happen, but maybe I’m wrong, you know, anyway, I. Actually, really like that point to you about like, you know, moving to a major city like Pittsburgh because honestly. Pittsburgh is a super attractive area for four people, I love going there, we drive. We literally drive up there all the time because of how awesome it is, so I could totally see wanting to move there.

I think smaller cities like a Parkersburg like Charleston, you know, they can capitalize by becoming kind of smaller versions of it, but they need to really focus on it like one instance. And I’ll just point this out one time because I think it’s a really important thing that’s happening. Chuck, have you heard of these professional hubs that are popping up 

Chuck [00:41:07] like innovation hubs? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they do that all the time in Tennessee. Chattanooga Gig City. 

Big John [00:41:14] Right. And that’s now coming to West Virginia. Martinsburg has one. Parkersburg is looking into getting one. And essentially what they are is they allow young professionals to have a place to work that can’t afford overhead for an office, et cetera. It’s a really, really cool concept. It’s very successful and it’s one that I think more places need to focus on, especially in Appalachia, because you have plenty of young professionals who are doing their own thing, who can’t afford the overhead on offices, et cetera. And this gives them that opportunity for like 50 bucks a month. It was so cheap and it’s so professional. 

Chuck [00:41:51] You’re talking about like a WeWork?

Big John [00:41:53] See, there they’re both. They used the same terms interchangeably, but you’re probably right. It’s probably we work more than anything. 

Chuck [00:42:00] Yeah, that sounds like more like a co-working space than what I was thinking when I was thinking is sort of like an economic model that a lot of places are trying to adapt to revolutionize our economy is a little bit. But that’s I mean, that makes sense that people want independent workspace, but they do want to rent out an office complex. 

Big John [00:42:14] Exactly. So I think that’s cool stuff happening. 

Chuck [00:42:18] Yeah. Yeah. Co-working spaces, make sense. I mean, yeah, there are problems with them, of course, as there are with everything in this world. But I think you have to be creating opportunities for people to stay and not have to look elsewhere. And in Appalachia, they’re struggling with that when I lived in Nashville. Obviously, affordability was a huge problem, but there was a lot of effort to allow people to be more entrepreneurial, to stay there, to work there. And employers also had to have that flexibility. So that’s it’s a big problem.

I think that’s a good place to close it out. I’m glad we got a chance to go over these stories because they’re really important. These perspectives matter and they matter to us because, you know, we have perspectives that are similar to this. John lives here. I don’t live here anymore. Despite what some people may believe, I have been very clear on this show that I am no longer living in Appalachia, even though some people think I do, 

Big John [00:43:14] but I live in Appalachia enough for both of us. 

Beef with the Kanye West of Beef

Chuck [00:43:17] There you go. And what a way to end it right there. Well, let’s move on to the last segment of the show. It’s, you know, by now, it’s the beef segment. They call him the Kanye West or yay of beef. You can so his mouth shut. But that won’t stop him from spitting some sick beef in a multiplatinum way, and he’ll build his mom’s entire house and Mercedes Benz Stadium beef with Big John.  

Big John [00:43:56] Chuck, have you seen this new movie encounter Encanto on Disney Plus? No. OK. It’s really good. 

Chuck [00:44:14] It’s Lin Manuel Miranda, right? 

Big John [00:44:17] I believe he wrote it. All right. All right. It’s really good my wife is obsessed with it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s honestly a children’s. It’s a children’s movie, but with very adult themes. And one of them being generational trauma in that. That’s the theme throughout the movie. I think it’s a really important theme that hasn’t been discussed as much, especially when it comes to children’s kind of children’s learning or whatever you want to call it now. As I like, I said, I love it, I think it’s great and there needs to be more. And this is why I’m doing this beef.

I am very frustrated with the fact that there are little to no positive representations of Appalachia in Disney features a lot of them, when you look back are the stereotypical Hee-Haw bullshit of, you know, stereotypes of Appalachians. But there’s not this focus on what it’s like to grow up here and to give kids someone to look at and say, That’s me, which I think is that to me, is the main purpose of creating like a Disney princess or creating Disney Pixar stars. It’s that it’s for kids to look and say, Oh, you know, I relate to that, right?

But Appalachian kids don’t have that as much, which, you know, you could say some of them do, some of them don’t. Whatever I wish we would see more Appalachian representation, southern rappers, rappers, southern representation, whatever you want to call it.

I would love to see that across the Disney empire, you know, maybe a Disney princess that’s Appalachian or whatever. And it kind of bugged me because as we continue to grow, which I think they’re doing a great job of growing and creating, I feel like it’s again a region that’s left behind and is kind of minimalized and not talked about. And when they are talked about, it’s again these stereotypical concepts.

I really wish that, you know, Disney, Nick, what whoever’s doing it, really, I think Disney is on the forefront of most of this stuff right now. They should be focusing on this type of stuff, maybe they don’t have a writer or director who, you know, who knows how to do this.

I wish that somebody would step to the plate, give, you know, young Appalachian kids something to look at and say, Yeah, that’s me, or that’s how I can be, or that’s who I relate to because I really think that that would be very beneficial to the entire region.

People want to talk all the time about how we need to start. You know, one of the problems with Appalachia is education. Well, education is really tough, especially when no one is focusing on trying to represent those people. I think that starting young and creating this type of dialog is important.

I think that’s what needs to happen. And I am. I am nominating us or volunteering, you know, volunteering that we will help. Find or research or do anything that Disney or anyone might need to create this project because I think it’s that important. I really do.

There need to be more children’s books, needs to be more children’s stories, shows, movies, et cetera, on Appalachia. That’s my beef. 

Chuck [00:47:42] Yeah, I agree. And to give proper credit to, we retweeted this person, Denise on Twitter. Don’t miss the full name mentioned this as well. And they said, Is it too much to ask for Disney Pixar to do something based in Appalachia? We almost never see ourselves accept negatively. This is in the context of talking about Encanto in the representation there. So yeah, 

Big John [00:48:03] I don’t think I saw this and that is awesome that somebody else said it. I don’t think I even saw it. 

Chuck [00:48:09] Yeah, I just want to make sure that we give proper credit to them since so we did retweet them. But yeah, I mean, it’s interesting when it comes to representation, Appalachia is seldom mentioned because it’s, you know, it’s cultural reasons, not easily defined, but there’s so much benefit that could be brought by this, you know, having a Disney or Marvel character that is huge, big game-changer. It really would be one character like that. I mean, I know it sounds silly, but a character, you know, that’s representative of Appalachia and a movie like that space in Appalachia could really tear down certain stereotypes if it was done the right way. 

Big John [00:48:43] One hundred percent think about this, and I talked about how it would help with, you know, kids in Appalachia thinking like, Oh, that’s me. Imagine how that would also make people who have never been here, kids that have never been here. Go, man, that place is way cooler than I’ve heard. Or that, you know, those people, they’re way cooler than I’ve heard or I’ve seen elsewhere.

Now I want to go visit there when I’m older or I want to move there at some point. It’s educating people about what’s really happening in the region, and you have to start doing it young before they have it, you know, terrible impressions of the region. And I think that this is very strategic and opportune. You know, it’s a great opportunity for us to do that, but we have to we’ve got to get the ball rolling. I think 

Chuck [00:49:24] all right. Disney Ball’s in your court. Yes. And well, you know, one of the things I want to mention here and one of the most harmful things about stereotypes just in general, is that they give people an initial introduction to something and one that’s invalid and an improper assumption about a place. And that may be the only thing they know about it or the first thing they’re experiencing about it. So it imprints that into their head. But yeah, so like. And so this would be a great introduction if done right. But yeah, I’m for this. I don’t know what Imagineers we need to get on the phone to get this happening, but let’s do it. 

Big John [00:49:59] Yeah, whoever we need to look, you know, 

Chuck [00:50:01] Joseph 

Big John [00:50:02] Michael Eisner used to run Disney. Never once gave me a call. 

Chuck [00:50:08] In fairness, he does spell his name with an E. So there is that truth. 

Big John [00:50:15] But that’s my dad’s name. 

Chuck [00:50:15] So, well, dad’s name or not, Disney. Get on it. We’re expecting it by no later than 2023 will give you a year. That’s it. All right. Thanks so much for listening to the show. Follow us on social media and check out our merch store. Email us at Info at Potlatch dot com and shares with a friend. If you have friends that might like the show, time to check us out. We’d really appreciate it anyway. Thank you. We love you. We appreciate you will see you next week

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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