​The Yokel

This piece of humor below resonates with much drama and humor I have seen here in communities where I come from. The modern yokel is not a character to be found in the rural areas only but also in the cities. This is a state of mind, since it resembles an ignorance that is innocent by nature. Therefore, the baseness of this character is what, according to me, evokes humor. He is just a reminder to the ‘civilized’ man in how his camouflage hides much that would otherwise expose his underlying mundaneness. ENJOY.

The yokel has scarcely any privacy at all. His neighbors know everything that is to be known about him, including what he eats and what he feeds his quadrupedal colleagues. His religious ideas are matters of public discussion; if he is recusant the village pastor prays for him by name. When his wife begins the biological process of giving him an heir, the news flies around. If he inherits $2000 from an uncle in Idaho everyone knows it instantly. If he skins his shin, or buys a new machinery, or sees a ghost, or takes a bath it is a public event. 

Thus living like a goldfish in a glass globe, he acquires a large tolerance of snoutery, for if he resisted it his neighbors would set him down as an enemy of their happiness, and probably burn his barn. It seems natural and inevitable to him that everyone outside his house should be interested in what goes on inside, and that this interest should be accompanied by definite notions as to what is nice and what is not nice, supported by pressure. So he submits to governmental tyranny as he submits to the village inquisition, and when he hears that city men resist, it only confirms his general feeling that they are scoundrels. They are scoundrels because they have a better time than he has—the sempiternal human reason.

—Adapted from FOUR MORAL CAUSES, PREJUDICES: FIFTH SERIES, by H.L. Mencken 1926, p. 11

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