A history of the word hillbilly

Jeff Gentner, Associated Press

When a casting company recently looked to West Virginia hollows for extras to play inbred degenerates, state leaders were loud and clear: go elsewhere for your negative stereotypes.

But many residents just rolled their eyes at yet another unpleasant Hollywood depiction of the Mountain State. After more than 100 years of derision, people here are used to it.

Regional stereotypes are hardly unique: Wyoming residents dismiss their Colorado neighbors as yuppies, southern Californians are derided as airheads, and New Jersey is a standalone punchline for other Northeastern states.

The image of the hillbilly, though