we had to watch the 20/20 special about Applachia, A Hidden America and write about it [i posted you tube videos of it below!]
This documentary gives the impression that eastern Kentucky is one of the very worse places in America right now. It shows that people aren’t educated there—i.e. they don’t even realize that it’s not a good idea to drink tons of Mt. Dew and not take care of your teeth. It gave the impression that people just don’t care about their health or the health and safety for their children. It gave that impression that it’s really a no man’s land. Also that there is nothing there for anyone and America has just tossed it the side and forgotten it. It gave the impression that people from eastern Kentucky are also either addicted to drugs or sell drugs. With all the negative impressions it showed some that weren’t very negative. It also showed that there are some people there who really care about bettering their lives, an example of that would be the people who walked eight miles each way to get their GED.
I think Sawyer’s point of view was that we need to care. She sees eastern Kentucky as a place crying for the help of it’s fellow American’s but isn’t given the time of day. She sees the destruction that poverty, drug, and poor education has done to the area and it’s people. She views the decline in the coal industry as a bad thing for the community there but I think she also doesn’t think mining coal is a great solution. She sees it as dangerous and a risk—which it is. But I don’t think you can help respecting the people who do it. Yes is it s risk every time they go down there, and they are taking a toll on their health each time but they have families to take care of. They don’t want to put their families through drug dealings, only have butter in the fridge, or having to illegally mine coal from the side of the highway for heat.
Sawyer’s audience would be educated American’s middle class and up. She’s not looking to tell the poor about the poor. They know what it’s like. I think also Kentuckians to a point, many my view this as making us look like what the stereotype is about us but I feel a lot of people don’t realize this is happening int heir own back yard, and we’re close so we can easily do something about this. And then the rest of America because they need to realize t hat stuff like this is going on now in America. This isn’t a third world country. This is supposed to be the greatest country, and stuff like this is still happening.
I think she definitely uses emotional appeals. She shows kids who are suffering because of their life in Appalachia. I remember my friends and I watching this the night it was first shown and as soon as the first commercial break came on we were dead silent, our minds were just trying to wrap around the images we saw and our hearts were breakings. It had gotten to us emotionally, we felt attached to the situation. She also uses extrinsic proofs. She shares data and testimonies. You hear so many different peoples stories and can see for yourself the facts of what life is like there.
It is missing a lot of the other side. People do need to know that not all of Kentucky is like this, and not all of eastern Kentucky is like this. One of my friends I watched this with goes to EKU and she said that people were talking about it when she went back to school that next week, and these are the people coming from these areas that are going to college and live in these same areas that don’t go through the same kind of things. Another one of my friends who I watched this with is student teaching right now and one of the teachers at her school is from eastern Kentucky. The next Mondays at school the teacher was really mad about the program. She just kept going on and on about how it not like that. She was angry that it was shown like that.
I think it is important to note that they didn’t really show the good side to eastern Kentucky but that wasn’t the purpose of the program. The purpose of the program was to raise awareness and compassion for Appalachia. I think people might not have been as emotionally moved as they were if it had shown more of the better parts of eastern Kentucky. The problem with that though is that it might have made the problems highlighted not seem so bad. I feel it would it would have taken away from the emotional stirrings she was going for.I ended up really enjoying this documentary. I was kind of forced to watch it with my friends but I’m glad they made me watch it. It helped me see that America is a mission field too. There are people here, so close. That need help, compassion, education, and love just like ones in a third world country. I think it’s important for America to know this is the year 2009 and this stuff is happening in our own back yard. We tend to think we’re such a great country but we have crap in us as well. Even though it may just reinforce Kentucky’s hill billy stereotype I’m OK with it if it makes people act. I’d rather have people link that awful stereotype with me than not as long as