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hillbilly cat

English translation: a country, folk, western, unsophisticated yet cool person

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:hillbilly cat
English translation:a country, folk, western, unsophisticated yet cool person
Entered by: kironne
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05:59 Apr 2, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / a phrase
English term or phrase: hillbilly cat
If a person is called "a hillbilly cat", what does it mean? What is the person like?
Monika Rozwarzewska
Poland
Local time: 16:21
please see explanation
Explanation:

Monika,

It is so hard to define a cultural reference such as a "hillbilly", because it has positive and negative connotations. The term is definitely used pejoratively at times, but hey! it was also Elvis Presley's nickname, so it will really depend on the context.

I found a review of a book that tries to encompass all of its aspects. It is meant as a contribution rather than a precise answer, that's why my confidence level is medium, so as not to impose and just in case someone wants to summarize it in two or three words.

I hope you like it. I think it is very interesting!!

-----------------------------------------------------------


Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon. By Anthony Harkins (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. x plus 324 pp.).

The hillbilly is a figure of both great longevity and widespread recognition in American culture, as Anthony Harkins's well-researched and effectively documented study shows. In the first comprehensive history of the hillbilly, Harkins traces this figure back to precursors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: literary sources, such as the stock character of the "rural rube," as well as Simon Suggs, Sut Lovingood, and Southwest humor; legends that grew up around historical figures Daniel Boone and, especially, Davy Crockett; the image of the feuding, moonshining Mountaineer propagated by journalists in the later nineteenth century. The hillbilly himself emerges around the turn of the twentieth century in both newspapers and in humorous pamphlets as an amalgam of the rustic yokel, the "poor white," and the mountaineer, and by the early 1910s the hillbilly had already become a stock character in motion pictures. 1
As Harkins demonstrates, the hillbilly is of interest because the figure has always been an ambiguous combination of admiral traits like freedom and independence with negative ones such as poverty and uncouthness, as this definition quoted from the New York Journal of 1900 illustrates: "a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him." Later elaborations will develop both sides of this picture, connecting the hillbilly to pioneer roots and pre-modern authenticity on the one hand, and to laziness, profligate and deviant sexuality, and violence on the other. Harkins traces the hillbilly through incarnations in country music, sound films, comic strips, and television. While there are some changes, the figure remains remarkably consistent even into the twenty-first century, with the proposed reality show, The Real Beverly Hillbillies. 2
The complexities of the hillbilly are most evident in Harkins's discussion of country music, which was widely known as "hillbilly music" from the 1920s through the 1950s. The music itself was promoted as authentic white folk music, though it was in fact a product of the modern recording industry that combined elements of African-American and Euro-American folk traditions with those derived from recent commercial popular music. Originally, this music was marketed to rural and Southern whites, and was differentiated from the "race" records intended for blacks. A standard name for this music did not emerge until the 1930s, but when it did, it was "hillbilly." Promoters and performers of this music had an ambivalent relationship to the name. Performers often dressed up in hillbilly attire, and they sometimes recorded humorous or self-satirizing songs about hillbillies. One of the earliest acts to be recorded under this rubric was given the name the Hill Billies, and later groups adopted permutations of it, including the Beverly Hillbillies, a Los Angeles string band of the early 1930s. Yet some performers and promoters refused to use the name, believing it to be derogatory. After World War Two, this position became more common as the music began to be marketed to a wider audience. The name "country and western" officially replaced "hillbilly," but the persistence of the term can be seen in Elvis Presley's early nickname, "the hillbilly cat." More recently, country musicians like Dwight Yoakam have embraced the term as a way to distinguish their music from the mainstream. 3
As the example of country music demonstrates, the hillbilly is not the same kind of term as "white trash," "cracker" or "redneck," though like them it designates poor rural whites. As Harkins shows, its connections to pioneer self-sufficiency, mountaineer survival skills, and Anglo-Saxon ancestry give the figure a positive dimension. Moreover, while all of the other names for poor whites may at times be used in comic derision, only hillbilly evokes a humor that depends on identification. Even in the most viciously derogatory depictions of hillbillies, such as Paul Webb's Esquire cartoons, there remains the appeal of life outside of the constraints of civilization and its restrictions, especially those on sexuality. The popularity of television's rural comedies of the 1950s and 1960s—The Real McCoys, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres—suggests that the appeal of the hillbilly cannot be merely a matter of its making the audience feel superior. [...]
http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jsh/39.4/br_24.ht...
Selected response from:

kironne
Chile
Local time: 10:21
Grading comment
thank you for aninteresting explanation!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
3 +5Elvis Presley and his kind of people
humbird
3 +2please see explanation
kironne
3backwoods homeboy
Erika Reed


  

Answers


31 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
please see explanation


Explanation:

Monika,

It is so hard to define a cultural reference such as a "hillbilly", because it has positive and negative connotations. The term is definitely used pejoratively at times, but hey! it was also Elvis Presley's nickname, so it will really depend on the context.

I found a review of a book that tries to encompass all of its aspects. It is meant as a contribution rather than a precise answer, that's why my confidence level is medium, so as not to impose and just in case someone wants to summarize it in two or three words.

I hope you like it. I think it is very interesting!!

-----------------------------------------------------------


Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon. By Anthony Harkins (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. x plus 324 pp.).

The hillbilly is a figure of both great longevity and widespread recognition in American culture, as Anthony Harkins's well-researched and effectively documented study shows. In the first comprehensive history of the hillbilly, Harkins traces this figure back to precursors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: literary sources, such as the stock character of the "rural rube," as well as Simon Suggs, Sut Lovingood, and Southwest humor; legends that grew up around historical figures Daniel Boone and, especially, Davy Crockett; the image of the feuding, moonshining Mountaineer propagated by journalists in the later nineteenth century. The hillbilly himself emerges around the turn of the twentieth century in both newspapers and in humorous pamphlets as an amalgam of the rustic yokel, the "poor white," and the mountaineer, and by the early 1910s the hillbilly had already become a stock character in motion pictures. 1
As Harkins demonstrates, the hillbilly is of interest because the figure has always been an ambiguous combination of admiral traits like freedom and independence with negative ones such as poverty and uncouthness, as this definition quoted from the New York Journal of 1900 illustrates: "a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him." Later elaborations will develop both sides of this picture, connecting the hillbilly to pioneer roots and pre-modern authenticity on the one hand, and to laziness, profligate and deviant sexuality, and violence on the other. Harkins traces the hillbilly through incarnations in country music, sound films, comic strips, and television. While there are some changes, the figure remains remarkably consistent even into the twenty-first century, with the proposed reality show, The Real Beverly Hillbillies. 2
The complexities of the hillbilly are most evident in Harkins's discussion of country music, which was widely known as "hillbilly music" from the 1920s through the 1950s. The music itself was promoted as authentic white folk music, though it was in fact a product of the modern recording industry that combined elements of African-American and Euro-American folk traditions with those derived from recent commercial popular music. Originally, this music was marketed to rural and Southern whites, and was differentiated from the "race" records intended for blacks. A standard name for this music did not emerge until the 1930s, but when it did, it was "hillbilly." Promoters and performers of this music had an ambivalent relationship to the name. Performers often dressed up in hillbilly attire, and they sometimes recorded humorous or self-satirizing songs about hillbillies. One of the earliest acts to be recorded under this rubric was given the name the Hill Billies, and later groups adopted permutations of it, including the Beverly Hillbillies, a Los Angeles string band of the early 1930s. Yet some performers and promoters refused to use the name, believing it to be derogatory. After World War Two, this position became more common as the music began to be marketed to a wider audience. The name "country and western" officially replaced "hillbilly," but the persistence of the term can be seen in Elvis Presley's early nickname, "the hillbilly cat." More recently, country musicians like Dwight Yoakam have embraced the term as a way to distinguish their music from the mainstream. 3
As the example of country music demonstrates, the hillbilly is not the same kind of term as "white trash," "cracker" or "redneck," though like them it designates poor rural whites. As Harkins shows, its connections to pioneer self-sufficiency, mountaineer survival skills, and Anglo-Saxon ancestry give the figure a positive dimension. Moreover, while all of the other names for poor whites may at times be used in comic derision, only hillbilly evokes a humor that depends on identification. Even in the most viciously derogatory depictions of hillbillies, such as Paul Webb's Esquire cartoons, there remains the appeal of life outside of the constraints of civilization and its restrictions, especially those on sexuality. The popularity of television's rural comedies of the 1950s and 1960s—The Real McCoys, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres—suggests that the appeal of the hillbilly cannot be merely a matter of its making the audience feel superior. [...]
http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jsh/39.4/br_24.ht...

kironne
Chile
Local time: 10:21
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
thank you for aninteresting explanation!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio: Yes, just because Elvis named an album "Hillbilly Cat" doesn't mean he was one. It was a persona he was trying on, among many others.
10 hrs
  -> I agree, Ruth. As I wrote on my answer, it was actually on of his earlier nicknames, though! More than anything, I thought the text was interesting to read, and very clear.

agree  Mark Nathan
13 hrs
  -> Thanks, Mark
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
Elvis Presley and his kind of people


Explanation:
Name of one of Elvis Presley's hit album. When this was put on the market he was on the verge of the stardom. http://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Cat-Elvis-Presley/dp/B00005M...

In more general term "hillybilly" means a backward country people. They are supposedly not very sophisticated and living mostly in the region of American Southern Region, from Apalachian Mountains in the East to Ozark area of southern Missouri to the west.

humbird
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jonathan MacKerron: hillbilly, but also hip
4 hrs

agree  Alp Berker: This is a nickname for Elvis pls see http://en.allexperts.com/q/Presley-Elvis-562/Elvis-nicknames...
5 hrs

agree  Alexander Demyanov
6 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
8 hrs

agree  Seema Ugrankar
17 hrs
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46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
backwoods homeboy


Explanation:
Depending on the context, this term can be positive or derogatory.
Hillbilly is a pejorative nickname for people who dwell in remote, rural, mountainous areas. In particular the term refers to residents of the Ozarks and Appalachia in the United States.
Cat is an informal (urban slang) term for a youth or man (same as 'guy', but with more familiar connotations.)
The term hillbilly cat, I believe, may be associated with Elvis, who has an album attributed to hi, by the same name (seehttp://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Cat-Elvis-Presley/dp/B00005M...
Thus, one could imagine a person of rural disposition, although familiar with the workings of the urban scene.



    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbilly
    Reference: http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
Erika Reed
United States
Local time: 10:21
Native speaker of: Native in NorwegianNorwegian, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Richard Benham: Kinda mixes up the eras?!
8 hrs
  -> the way I see it, if the point here is to facilitate an understanding of 'what this person is like,' a 'translation' into contemporary terms is perhaps warranted
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