This is offensive. The normally astute The Daily Show aired an episode last night about a water-rights dispute between the states of Georgia and Tennessee. I'm all for satire - why else would I be watching The Daily Show? - but correspondent Al Madrigal wasn't able to get past his stereotypes of The South and Southerners.
Dade County Chairman Ted Rumley shows a lot of class, as he calmly tries to remind Madrigal that this is in fact a serious issue. The gentleman is the Unknown Hinson t-shirt is actually punking Madrigal - Unknown Hinson is an underground comedic musician who lampoons 50s and 60s rockabilly stars as vampires. The t-shirt and the over-the-top comments are a dead giveaway to those of us in the know that he's putting Madrigal on, but The Daily Show correspondent is either unaware of it or is too fond of the footage he's getting to pass it up. In any event, the joke's on him. It's not unlike going to Staten Island to cover the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and relying on an interview of someone in an Insane Clown Posse t-shirt.
There's a lot of humor to be found down here in the American South, and there are a lot of serious challenges and issues as well. But relying on elitist and frankly outdated stereotypes for cheap laughs is just a lazy way to cover a story. In short, don't make fun of the South - that's my job.