Hold off on beaming me up, Scotty. Found some intelligent life

Jul 15, 2011 by

Reprints & Excerpts from
the best of Appalachian blogs. Suggest one

So, one of the missions of WestVirginiaVille is to scope out who’s doing interesting work on the Web, beaming it out of the hills off satellites and then back out to the whole human race. ‘Meanwhile in West Virginia,’ a lively collaborative blog by four Marshall University students, passes muster. ‘Meanwhile in West Virginia’ bills itself as “a blog about stuff that matters from a place that doesn’t.”

(You may start begin leaving comments and letters of outrage and correction about why West Virginia does matter to this address. Go ahead, get it out of your system. We would only note that these are college guys. It is the job of smart collegiate people to say things that are sort of true, which older folk kind of agree with but wouldn’t normally say aloud as it might rile the neighbors. We think you matter. Really, we do. Now, Congress and the mountaintop removal industry – they are a complete other matter.)

There’s a danger in publishing stuff on the web that does matter from a place that usually doesn’t, as you then start to rewrite the code for that place. You might cause people to think: ‘Hmmmm…. Maybe there is intelligent life in those hills and Scotty doesn’t need to beam me up from this planet after all.’ WestVirginiaVille will be re-posting work from these guys in the weeks ahead. Here’s the ‘About’ page from the blog:

This is a blog about the Mountain State in which all authors (exempting Shaheed) are natives and life-long residents. This isn’t a blog about how awesome or terrible West Virginia is, but rather a canvas on which to paint what growing up in the hills has put in our brains. We mean to discuss how our heritage has made us view the world; Meanwhile in West Virginia is a collaborative blog between 4 West Virginians. We aim to bring you stuff that matters from a place that doesn’t! We blog about politics, philosophy, the future of media, life, and all sorts of stuff as seen through our unique West Virginian perspective. We blog to make you think.

Bishop Nash, journalist and word warrior, conquers the Internet on a regular basis, bringing you a heaping helping of awesome all the time.

Kuyler McComas, has been hit by lightning. What more could you need to know? Oh, that and he’s been blogging about his various interests since 2004 when the idea first came to us from the netherworld of the Internet’s back pages.

James Nowlin, culture warrior, seeks to shape the future of America and the rest of the world around him by destroying ignorance. Or something like that.

Shaheed Elhamdani, is……. not from West Virginia. But his experiences as a Libyan-American make his opinion valuable. And let’s not forget he knows Tae Kwon Do. It’s not relevant, but still, let’s not forget.

* The views expressed within this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors of this page, nor the people or groups addressed within. This is as much for entertainment as it is for education. Maybe. Thank you.*

We wanted to know more, so we asked. We got a Bishop when we queried the blog. Bishop Nash had this to say:

WESTVIRGINIAVILLE: When was ‘Meanwhile in West Virginia born’? Who was there at the birth?
NASH: Kuyler said to me one day, “I want to start a blog.” So we did. We met for lunch during our first semester and Marshall and he and I registered our domain name, appropriately inside of Hillbilly Hotdogs on 3rd Avenue. He knew I could write, and I knew he could produce. James and Shaheed fell into place and we we just meshed.
Q: Good blog name. Who came up with it and at what hour and circumstances – and what were the discarded names?
A: Kuyler had some goofy name that I forgot about originally that we joke about now. But it was a saying that I’ve said to myself at least a year in advance. The circumstances were this: I was coming home from a girl’s house, feeling pretty awesome and triumphant while taking the backroads home. A stray, rough-looking but friendly dog crossed my path. I thought: “Meanwhile, while I was being a normal, fun-loving American kid, West Virginia was still happening. Stray dogs, abusive homes, chain smoking. Pain. Joy. Sadness. Meanwhile in West Virginia.”

Q: How far along is Shaheed Elhamdani on his black belt? Does he protect the weak and use his powers as a force of good?
A: I once saw him kick a silverback gorilla in the nuts.

Q: How did Bishop get named Bishop? Is there a Bishop in the family line?
A: I asked my Dad this and he just said: “Because we liked it.” Bishop was anything from an old black man my dad worked with at CSX to a Dr. Bishop at Marshall. My parents just liked it, and so do I.

Q: West Virginia in the year 2025 – what does it look like and who’s running it?
A: Little change. More urbanization, smaller suburbs will be more consumed by Charleston and Huntington. Growth will happen, of course. But, honestly, I believe not much more can happen in 14 years. Same crooked kiss-asses in Charleston bred to smile and kill, same coal barons – not much will change. But I hope that’s just cynicism.

Q: Name one or two places or things in West Virginia you cannot do without?
Q: Name one or two things in the state or about it you COULD do without and it would be good to drive over the state line to Ohio and leave there?
A: If Ohio drivers can get over the East End Bridge without wrecking, they should stay over there.

Ask yourselves a question and answer it …

Q: Why do you burn so much time on MNWV?
A: Because I was born with the talents suited for the profession of story-telling and to squander it would be the same as every free mind who couldn’t escape the wage slavery in the coal fields. I’m lucky enough to have escaped to live a life where I can think and convey thought.

Q:  If you had one thing to say to someone outside the state who has the usual hillbilly associations about this place in their head, what would it be?
A: Get your head out of your ass, watch the shift changes at Steel of West Virginia, and tell me who you’d be more proud to be: another boring suburban slob from America Proper or a fighting hilljack from the backwoods of West Virginia?


  1. This is really awesome, we’re… flattered, actually.

    Hopefully we can do some kind of work together soon. Sit in on our radio show, maybe?

  2. admin

    Ooh, a radio show. I can do radio. Or webio, or whatever the post-podcast word is.

  3. Right now we’ve got a radio show through WMUL that we stream across the web live and have as a download on iTunes in a podcast form (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-meanwhile-in-west-virginia/id444090238#), but we’re planning on doing a transition to a video show in the fall, mostly so we can get away from the dungeons of WMUL.

    We do the show every Thursday from 6-8, you’d be welcome anytime.

  4. This is fun!