I have to admit that as an Englishman I have never heard the word rube before in my life, but apparently it is an insulting way of calling someone an idiot in American, so quite why it was chosen as today’s topic is beyond me.
I was surprised at the definition which also means, country bumpkin, especially as my blog is called “The Diary of a Country Bumpkin”, although this might also explain the lack of interest generated in the Americas for my sophisticated writing technique. I would suggest, therefore, one should never judge a book by it’s cover.
Yet again we find ourselves separated by allegedly the same language and sadly with the passing of time I am finding it ever harder to understand either written or spoken American.
Rather to my chagrin I find that rubes, as you Americans call them, are people from rural areas who are also known as hayseeds, hicks, yokels and hillbillies, whilst in England a country bumpkin has a completely different connotation, for in England one can live in the countryside and be thought of as quite sophisticated.
Vast swathes of our countryside is owned by what would be termed the landed gentry, often of royal decent and generally jolly decent fellows and I myself, when I moved to the country rather thought of myself in that vein and not perhaps the village idiot.
Whilst not owning half of Berkshire we do have a decent house with it’s plot of land and a small farm where our daughter keeps her horses, so I consider it safe to call myself a country bumpkin and not in a derogatory fashion.
Obviously in America you don’t have the advantage of royalty, to both own and farm the land like our dear Prince Charles and his Duchy of Cornwall for example, but I imagine there must be the American equivalent of wealthy sophisticated land owning classes, who might be a tad miffed to be called a rube.
It seems the American idea of a rube is more the sort of character found in the film “Deliverance” whereas our version is more the country bumpkin standing by the stream, who when asked if it is possible to drive one’s motor car through it, replies in the affirmative. The driver then proceeds and finds his car awash and the engine flooded and calls back at the bumpkin, “I thought you said this water wasn’t deep?” To which the reply came back, “Well, it only comes half way up our ducks!”
Having transposed myself from the town I am more than happily ensconced in the country and whilst here I am quite happy to be considered a country bumpkin, I do however draw the line at the use of the word rube.
You put it well, ‘separated by language’. I too have not heard of ‘rube’ before. “Country bumpkin” is a term I’ve heard used in the past by older people to mean unsophisticated rural person. But I think that was an echo of our English ties. It isn’t how I would view folk who live on and work the land with a high degree of sophistication and business acumen. Enjoyed reading your post.