Thursday, August 10, 2006

Journalism and Advertising in Tennessee

Used with permission of The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.I made it to my first Bloggers Bash at the Young Avenue Deli. I met quite a few bloggers whose work I've been reading for some time, so for me it was like meeting television personalities -- maybe even the same exact thing. I enjoyed it.

One of the bloggers, autoegocrat of The Flypaper Theory, told me about a Mark Twain story called "Journalism in Tennessee" (thank you Project Gutenberg!) I'd never heard of the story before tonight, but it's very funny, combining the good humor and social violence that makes Twain such a sneakily subversive figure.

Which reminds me how Memphis in the early 1980's used Mark Twain as the advertising mascot of Mud Island. Then in all its banal glory, Memphis fancied itself a ye-olde Tom Sawyer kind of town. In fact it was more like (and always had been) the Grangerford/Shepherdson feud in Huckleberry Finn:
"Has this one been going on long, Buck?"

"Well, I should RECKON! It started thirty year ago, or som'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit—which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would."

"What was the trouble about, Buck?—land?"

"I reckon maybe—I don't know."


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