shirlo wrote:In my experience this is absolutely backwards--it is the people who are NOT familiar with the area that cluelessly perpetuate this offensive notion. I have heard well-educated and generally intelligent people used "Appalachian" as a synonym for illiterate, ignorant, and inbred--and using it in descriptive, not a joking manner! I'm sick of it. If this shirt were about an imaginary place, then it would be funny, but not when it reinforces this disrespectful stereotype of real people. We could also stereotype the lack of gene flow in small isolated rural populations across the US, or stereotype all people in urban centers as illiterate, but that would also be inaccurate and offensive. So what's next--racial or religious jokes?
I personally don't think any of the things you mentioned are, by nature, offensive. I can't really argue if you feel that way, though. We just have entirely different world views. If I got offended by the things you mentioned, I'd probably just shut myself in my room all day. I'd get tired of telling people that Canadians really don't say, "eh" that much, and that there are some people from New Jersey that have no affiliation with the mob or greasy hair products.
Not that I think this is even close to the same thing, but since you mentioned these as subjects that should always be off limits, I'll say that I do love good racial and religious jokes, too. It's all about the humor and the intent, not the subject matter. And I'm not even one of the "normals" ;)