Beyond 'Buckwild' in West Virginia
"Muddin" in the neighborhood "holler," bringing raw deer meat to a party and brawling with a neighbor after noise complaints -- "Jersey Shore" is so over. Welcome "Buckwild," an MTV reality show that debuted Thursday featuring nine young adults from West Virginia.
Often stereotyped and sometimes forgotten as its own state, West Virginia is now at the center of MTV's latest drunken portrayal of young people goofing off (and occasionally working). The show uses subtitles in case viewers don't understand some of the accents.
"You preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior -- and now you are profiting from it," charged U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virgina, in a December letter to MTV asking the cable network to cancel the show.
That's not likely to happen, though several reviews have panned the show. "Not only is it another tired portrayal of Southern stereotypes, but it's also inexcusably poorly executed," claims the Hollywood Reporter.
The state's tourism officials seem to have shrugged off the stereotypes.
"While some reality television programming is designed to excite, entice and generally entertain viewers, these types of programs tend to represent an extremely small segment of a population. This program does not represent our state or our citizens," the West Virginia Division of Tourism said in a statement.
The spotlight may help promote the state, as the "Jersey Shore" did for that state, despite the antics of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
There's more to West Virginia than "Buckwild" suggests. Born of a group of anti-slavery citizens in western Virginia who would not secede with Virginia, West Virginia became its own state on June 20, 1863. The state celebrates 150 years of statehood this June.
"West Virginia is looking forward to celebrating its 150th anniversary," said Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner at the West Virginia Division of Tourism. "Our state is steeped in the history of the nation and born of the Civil War." The state's tourism website highlights the events that formed West Virginia.
"These locations and other events off the battlefield not only influenced the war itself but the very shape of our state. Communities across the state are developing commemorations, reenactments and celebrations. The entire state will recognize the formation of West Virginia on June 20th."
An abolitionist state
The state has a long an illustrious history of anti-slavery activity. And nowhere is that more pronounced than Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. In 1859, John Brown and his supporters attacked the U.S. Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, attempting to capture the arms there for a slave uprising. After being captured, charged with "conspiring with slaves to commit treason and murder," Brown was convicted and hanged for his crimes. Harpers Ferry was also the site of the arrival of the first working railroad and one of the earliest integrated schools in this country, where former slaves were educated.
Where the Hatfields and McCoys duked it out
The Hatfield-McCoy Mountains of southern West Virginia take their name from the bitter feud fought between those two infamous families in West Virginia and Kentucky. The West Virginia town of Historic Matewan is located between the homes of Devil Anse Hatfield and Randle McCoy. It's also where Sid Hatfield was buried. But the activities in those mountains don't just appeal to history buffs. Dirt bike and ATV riders can find plenty to do on over 500 miles of trails included in the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.
What's old is new again
A National Historic landmark, the Greenbrier has been hosting visitors since 1778. Located in White Sulphur Springs and surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, the resort was renovated a few years ago and offers fine dining, a spa and championship golf course. Golf Magazine even gave the golf course a shout out in 2010.
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