Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Colbert reports on mountaintop mines, 'hillbillies'

Mountaintop-removal mining, and the scientist who led the recent study of it, made it to "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central yesterday, giving the issue a higher national profile. Stephen Colbert's three-minute repartee with Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland revealed only a few basics of the issue, such as stream damage, but the comedian suggested an underlying factor that may have limited attention and action on the issue: its location.

"Most of the stream poisioning happens in Appalachia," Colbert said, pronouncing it "Apple-ate-cha." Next to a map of the region, he continued, "And the only people it affects are the one remaining group that everybody still feels comfortable making fun of: hillbillies." Following a segment of a hillbilly cartoon, as a frame of it remained on the screen, Colbert laughed and said, "Hillbillies are poor," and his studio audience laughed and applauded. "Though if we keep taking away the mountains, we're going to have to start calling them just 'billies'." (View video)
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Coal Comfort - Margaret Palmer
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