By Rodger Lyle Brown
everyone is familiar with approximately neighborhood fairs that commemorate the great ol' days--events like Rattlesnake Roundup, Peanut Days, and Mule Day. numerous cities round the South degree them. They put aside one weekend a 12 months, rope off a few parking, and rejoice a few neighborhood subject matter at the courthouse garden or in a close-by pasture, touting misplaced days of imagined glory.
The phenomenon is speedily proliferating around the zone, yet beforehand the deeper value of those homeland occasions has now not been explored. In Ghost Dancing at the Cracker Circuit Rodger Brown takes the reader on a street journey around the South. He visits many gala's and unweaves their webs to discover the which means that underlies them. opposite to renowned interpretation of them as occasions of social gathering and fund-raising, Brown discerns them to be instances of mourning. in the back of the scrim of jolly slideshows he locate groups responding to fiscal restructuring and cultural swap.
As he travels around the South, he absorbs shiny impressions of boosterism and cornball symbolism. alongside this comical path that he phrases the "cracker circuit" he perceives how those seasonal occasions are staged by way of white sponsors trying to resurrect a ideal previous that really by no means existed. He likens them to mythical Indians "ghost dancing" in ceremonial performances staged to conjure up a misplaced paradise.
In chapters with such titles as "Stuffing Sin in a Lard Bucker" and "Aunt Bee's demise certificates" Brown not just sketches exciting photographs of individuals and locations but additionally makes interesting revelations--the political which means of eco-friendly Acres and Gilligan's Island , the genuine tale in the back of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud, and the marvelous position of The Andy Griffith convey in modern southern mythography.
Brown's adventurous, good-natured inspection of this pervasive cultural interest discloses the kingdom of the South on the flip of the millennium.
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They've seen the habitat decline, but tell me that the number of snakes remains high. In 1990, the roundup's total haul was 398 snakes; in 1991 it was 457, breaking the 1969 record of 418. 2 pounds. Tracy's mother has a slightly weathered cuteness about her. She has curly dark hair and wears a purple sweatshirt decorated with a design of a winged white horse flying among stars, like something from the cover of a fantasy romance novel. She tells me that a man named Randy Campbell buys the dead snakes.
This establishment of a few at the top of a fictitious yet naturalized hierarchy is such a strong cultural habit that merely by writing a check on tree bark the Howells can have Gilligan, Ginger, Mary Ann and the Skipper groveling in the sand, serving coconut cocktails and waving palm frond fans. Only the Professor remains aloof, free from the taint of mammon, and suitably so for the 19608, when the myth of politics-free science still held sway. Gilligan himself represents the working class as infantile knucklehead.
It represented chaos, loss of control, the violation of codes, and the blurring of categories. The Uktena was fearfully powerful because it represented the extinction of patterns, the anxiety of paradigm shifts, and the death of cultures. It represented the ultimate human terror: change. In the 19908, the symbolism of the monster serpent Uktena is relevant to the fate of rattlesnake roundups. When the roundups began in the late 19508 and early 19608, the animals were considered expendable dangers.