Re: New Memes Book

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 11 Apr 2005 - 22:42:16 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: New Memes Book"

    --- Bill Spight <> wrote:

    > Dear Vincent,
    > > What is it with the US meme of the dangerous
    > inbreed/mutant
    > > cannibals who live in the woods/mountains? Why
    > are they always white people
    > > too?
    > >
    > I think it reflects two early migrations from the
    > British Isles, British
    > and Scotch Irish. Because of ethnic and class
    > differences there was
    > friction between the groups and many Scotch Irish
    > took to the hills,
    > leaving the towns under British sway. The rest is
    > demonization.
    > Although not without a grain of truth. (My
    > grandfather, a doctor, was
    > hijacked at gunpoint by the Sullivan clan. One of
    > them had been wounded
    > in a shootout, and they told him to fix him up. If
    > he lived, my
    > grandfather would, too. Just like in the movies. As
    > for inbreeding,
    > cousins certainly got married.) There is some
    > romanticization, as well.
    > > Moreover why is this apparently popular at the
    > moment?
    > >
    > Perhaps one factor is that there are still groups in
    > the U. S. who
    > resist the dominant culture and live in or near the
    > wilderness. I think
    > the center of that has shifted from the Appalachians
    > to the Rockies. And
    > there are still some dangerous people among them,
    > like the Posse
    > Commitatus (if they still exist) and Timothy
    > McVeigh.
    > > Are mountain men another way of representing
    > dangerous
    > > other_inside_America (I remember studying
    > Deliverance as a student and being
    > > taught about it as a possible allegory of the
    > vietnam war- natives in the
    > > wilds terrorising the unknowing, disrespectful
    > city folk)?
    > Gee, was your instructor an English Lit. type who
    > didn't know much about
    > American or Vietnamese culture? ;-) The Vietnamese
    > were civilized before
    > the Europeans.
    They were feuding with the Chinese well before Europeans "discovered" America.

    All I recall of Deliverance is the banjo player and the infamous "squeal like a pig" scene. I have been to the Tallulah Gorge before. Beautiful place.
    > And there are still dangerous
    > Americans living in the hills.
    There was a cottage industry of Vietnam war related movies, including the Rambo trilogy where Rambo, a Vietnam vet that's a little off kilter gets irked by a redneck local yokel sheriff, has a flashback and takes to the hills waiting for Col. Trautman to show up. Not sure if that image helped or hurt the veteran cause, but it might have served as a bit of catharsis for disgruntled vets and for a country that was still dealing with the aftermath. But in a sense, during
    _First Blood_ Stallone played a dangerous American in the hills.

    Then there's the immortal _Apocalyse Now_ ("smell of napalm in the morning" and "Charlie don't surf"),
    _Missing in Action_ (Chuck Norris goes back to rescue American pride vicariously with some well placed martial arts moves) and _Platoon_.

    There have been some Desert Storm movies, but the one that really got my eyes rolling was the _Manchurian Candidate_ remake. They should have left that one alone. Talk about Hollywood running out of ideas. That movie was thoroughly contrived and force-fit. The original made sense, at least in the paranoid Cold War context of its era. BTW Manchuria is a portion of China just north of the Korean peninsula, hence the name of the movie actually made sense, unlike the remake.

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