By Rodger Lyle Brown
every body is aware approximately neighborhood fairs that remember 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 have fun a few neighborhood subject at the courthouse garden or in a close-by pasture, touting misplaced days of imagined glory.
The phenomenon is swiftly proliferating around the quarter, yet beforehand the deeper importance of those fatherland 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 that means that underlies them. opposite to well known interpretation of them as instances of get together and fund-raising, Brown discerns them to be occasions of mourning. in the back of the scrim of jolly slideshows he locate groups responding to fiscal restructuring and cultural switch.
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 ultimate prior 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 photos of individuals and areas but additionally makes interesting revelations--the political which means of eco-friendly Acres and Gilligan's Island , the true tale at the back of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud, and the brilliant 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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Extra info for Ghost Dancing on the Cracker Circuit: The Culture of Festivals in the American South
On my return visit to Whigham, I got there on a Friday, the day before the roundup. That evening I bought a chicken gizzard dinner from the Pac-a-Sac and sat on the curb watching sheriff's deputies and the men and boys from the volunteer fire department direct traffic into the festival grounds. Nearby, old men in overalls picked up branches under the pecan trees. Vendors pulled in with their trucks and trailers and Winnebagos and station wagons and singular homemade vehicles of sheetmetal and two-by-fours.
He smiles and nods and then ignores her. This is the first time that I notice it: other than the few men driving the mule wagons, the Midnite Riders are the only blacks in the parade. The crowd on Whigham's sidewalks is almost all white, too. I think about this not-insignificant fact as I walk toward the snake pit. In the American language, rattlesnakes have been known as sizzle tail, buzz tail, buzz worm, chatter viper, snattle rake, sand eel and 12 RATTLESNAKE ROUNDUP rattled snake (Klauber 1956).
The hunt's the best part. We seen him before. We come ever year. Cox, he's good. " Carnes pencils "Carnes and family" on the sheet of lined notebook paper. I step up after him and sign, filling in the last spot on the Cox list, and poking holes through the paper, which is taped to the lunchroom's cinderblock wall. We meet up with Cox and a group of about fifteen on the edge of town at the abandoned high school. Cox is a pharmacist in Cairo, but was raised in Whigham. Clean-cut and well pressed, he looks like Clark Kent in a safari hat with a snakeskin hatband.