Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Death of the Redneck Renaissance


I'm calling it.  The Redneck Renaissance is dead.

Now I have talked about the Redneck Renaissance in great detail in the past.  Essentially, it is the television movement (mostly based in reality television) where the focus shifted away from spoiled rich celebrities and turned towards working class Southerners.  The crown jewel of the Renaissance was "Duck Dynasty", centered around a religious family of hunters that ran a successful duck calling business.  Other notable shows included "Moonshiners", which inspired several spin offs, and copycat moonshine shows.  "Myrtle Manor", the South's answer to "The Jersey Shore" and of course the notorious "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".


Look back just a few years ago.  Paula Deen was not only Queen of the South, but she was Queen of the culinary world.  However, after it came out that she had used the "N-Word", she was fired from her job, lost millions of dollar and became a national punchline. 


A few years back the Robertson Family from Duck Dynasty where the perfect ambassadors of Southern Culture.  They were backwoods, but relateable and approachable.  It was a show that everyone seemed to love.  It was wholesome and it seemed like everyone liked it.  It seemed to show the best of the South.  Then, the patriarch of the Family:  Phil Robertson made some anti-gay remarks in an interview.  The family refused to apologize, stating it was their belief as Christians.  Suddenly, a harmless show that everyone enjoyed gained an incredible amount of baggage and divided fans.  Some fans were alienated while others because almost fanatical in their support.  Duck Dynasty previously had brought people together and now it divides them.


Even "Call of the Wildman's" Ernie Brown, who for all intents and purposes appears to be the nicest most charming man on the planet, is the focus of controversy as he is currently under investigation by the USDA for the treatment of animals on his show.  The show, which follows the exploits of Ernie, who removes nuisance wildlife with his bare hands, has been accused of placing animals in danger by setting up staged situations that Ernie has to rescue them from.  Ernie was actually threatened by state authorities regarding his licensing, in regards to an episode where he removed a live deer from a thrift shop.  Apparently in Kentucky it is a crime to catch a deer with your bear hands.

 
The most devastating blow to the  Redneck Renaissance came this morning when it was announced that "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".  The show focused around a poor family in Georgia that attended toddler pageants.  By the second season, the toddler pageant aspect of the show was gone and the primary focus was on the families ridiculous and wacky behavior.  The show was often criticized for being tacky and disgusting, but the family was tight knit and loving towards each other. I actually met the family awhile back and can say first hand that they are pretty much exactly how they appear on TV.  The killing blow for the show came when TMZ alleged that Mama June was dating a sex offender.  This is definitely a horrifying thought that she could be putting her home of young girls at such a frightening risk.  June went on Facebook and denied that she was dating the Sex Offender in question, but admitted she had dated him 10 years ago.  TLC announced that it was canceling the show, despite it still having decent ratings.  In addition there will now be a "lost season" that will never air.  No matter who you believe, its a sad an disturbing end to what was a fun show.

So, wow, Southern Culture has certainly had a fall from grace.  Now, I love the South and would never want to live anywhere else, but I learned very quick that the South can be a little too real sometimes.  I think a lot of these cases boil down to the South just being a little too real for general consumption.  The South is something you have to accept warts and all.  In fact, I think this realness is one reason I love it so much here.

So today I feel we have reached the end of an era, but I have a good feeling that the South will rise again.



The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Freakshow Wonderland at the State Fair



Earlier this year I visited the local Mountain State Fair here in the Mountains of NC.  Sadly, for the past several years my beloved Freak Show has vanished.  Last year I received word from a close friend of mine that the larger state fair in Raleigh, NC still had a freak show.  I waited 12 long months and finally made my way to the state fair in Raleigh and I was not disappointed.

Of course the NC state fair had all the modern conveniences of a fair.  Like over the top, ridiculously unhealthy food stuffs.....


1,400 pound Pumpkins......


Companionship hay.....



Rides, such as the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Ferris Wheel.


And the Zombie Apocalypse dark ride, which my 10 year old daughter rode without blinking an eye.


And this weird dance club themed fun house.....


And what would the fair be without a little old time religion.




We found this odd little traveling bear exhibit, which I was happy to check out.  I can never pass up an opportunity to see some bears.


Our three dollars were not wasted, as we not only got to see some bears up close and personal, but we got to see a man snuggling with the bears like they were a bunch of puppies.


Check it out....



Of course all this is awesome, but the reason I came was for the freak show.  The hunt begin.  We located several one-off exhibits.  The first of these exhibits was "The World's Smallest Horse". 


I paid my dollar and headed up into the barn.  The smallest horse was in a pit in the center.  He was small, there is no denying that, but I'm not even sure if he was the smallest horse that I have personally seen.  I wasn't supposed to take pictures, but I can't help myself.


Keeping with the theme of smallestness, we came across a booth advertising the World's smallest Woman.


You see that little box that says $10,000 dollar reward?  She's in there.  What makes this experience different is that you walk around back and suddenly you are inches away from "Tiny Tina", who is a real live person.  Tina is indeed very small. She was kind enough to let me take her picture.


She was pretty adorable.

Next up:  The Snake Woman.


Now tell me that you could say no to that!  We headed in to find human head on the end of a motionless snake's body talking smack to the onlookers.  There was signs asking not to take pictures, but again:  I can't help myself.  I slyly slid my iphone along the grate and snuck a picture.


Unfortunately, Snake Lady saw what I was doing and yelled at me.  Apparently she wasn't as gracious as Tiny Tina.

After these awesome displays of freakishness we came across this......


This little show billed itself as "The Museum of World Oddities"


The beautiful carnival banners had me practically drooling...........


Of note, their Fiji Mermaid sign actually depicted the mermaid in its creepy form, not the deceptive "beautiful women" form.


And they do not disappoint.....


Let's run down the exhibits in this wonderful little museum.

The "World's Largest Women" appears in fiberglass form locked in some weird box.


Fair goers crowded around a little coffin underneath a banner promising the legendary Chupacabra.....


Through the greasy foggy glass you can make out the form of the legendary creature.......


I apologize for the lower quality of these pictures, but I have to point out that the glass in these freak show tents is always covered with this weird milky film.

 And of course we have our assortment of weird things in jars......






We have a boy mummy.....


Some assorted mummified pygmies.....



A couple of shrunken heads.....



And a er....decapitated head......

Yep
The head of a long necked women.....


And now the collection of two headed animals....

We have a two headed chicken, WITH a two headed egg.......


A two headed lamb....

Adorable

 Two different two headed cows.....




And they had one of the strangest collections of Crypto-taxidermy I have ever seen.....

Here is a half fox, half dog......


A Rabadillo......


A Turtlelope.....


The world's smallest deer.....


The world's smallest Monkies.......


And this thing......which looks like it has the head of a racoon and the body of something else.  I'm not sure, there was no sign......


And then there was what appeared to be a mongoose battling two Cobras inside a disco ball.......


Here is wolf boy.....


Here is the classic "Devil Fish": a sting ray turned upside down and modified to resemble a monster....


Here is a "Swamp Man", who is actually a Wooly Booger......

Where have I seen you before?
Most horrifying was there collection of non-pickled punks, or replicas of deformed babies.......


Note the disclaimer.....


This disclaimer is necessary, as the exhibit can presented as educational and therefore cannot be seen as exploitative and ghoulish.   Drug abuse could lead to horrible things, such as your baby being born with facial deformities....


Being born with no legs and having its head fall off......


and roll next to the elephant skinned baby......


Or be born with two heads....


Man, those are pretty gross.

Anyways, sweet dreams.............

For more Freak Show Goodness check out my previous post HERE.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
Please add me on Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out my Flickr Photostream and Youtube Page.