Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Top 5

Ben Franklin said, "America, loveth it or leaveth it." And with July 4th coming up just over, let's talk about America!

Question: Who are your Top 5 favorite figures of American folk lore?

Scott: I think I'll go broad with this answer (written after Andrew's intro)!
1. Jamestown... upon further review, I think I meant to say Roanoke [smile]
2. Daniel Boone & Davy Crockett... basically anyone who had a Disney show produced about them
3. Johnny Appleseed... first thing that came to mind
4. Roswell... still fascinating after all these years
5. Bigfoot... to quote the late creature FX guru Stan Winston: "It's a guy in a bad fur suit. Sorry!" (Or is it?!)
Andrew: I think I'll follow Scott's lead and define folk lore broadly!
1. Roswell... proving that even aliens can't drive.
2. The Alamo... Americans don't give up.
3. Washington chopping down the cherry tree... It's fitting that our first leader was known for honesty and physical labor.
4. The Gunslinger... mediation with extreme prejudice.
5. Santa... yeah, we didn't invent the idea, but we refined it and the world adopted it.


K said...

America - home of the free stuff.
I keed! I keed!

Good things about America:
1.The US took our most deadly enemies (418k American deaths at their hands) and rehabilitated them into first world high standard of living competitors in world trade, instead of doing the decent thing of enslaving them to work the Southern cotton crop and hand dig uranium mines until they paid off their war reparations with interest.

2. We greatly annoy the French. Forget all that humanitarian stuff Bush did in Africa, THIS is what I call excellent statecraft.

3. The US citizens who demand their inalienable rights, small percentage that they are.

AndrewPrice said...

K, LOL! Nice! "the decent thing" -- LOL!

I also couldn't agree more with your point about us greatly annoying the French. That alone makes this whole country worthwhile! :)

PikeBishop said...

Betsy Ross (Just thinking about this yesterday. Not true but damn essential in the mythmaking of the young country.)

Steamboats: I just love steamboats, I go all misty eyed at Currier and Ives type prints of those smoke belching, paddle wheeled monsters that helped pull our growing nation together (Hat tip Henry Clay)

The Great Oklahoma Land Rush: Just the images (mostly from the two versions of "Cimmaron" I believe) of all those people in wagons, on horseback, on foot, rushing west to the future to carve their little piece of the American Dream, gives me chills.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine. Once again, thanks to "the Killer Angels" and "Gettysburg" its tough to separate fact from fiction, and some Southern accounts state that the Alabama boys were "already withdrawing when Chamberlain ordered his charge" (Yeah right), but this sums up the Civil War to me.

Yellowstone Park: How our nation is blessed with such abundant natural resources and beauty. Now let's hope the damn caldera doesn't explode anytime soon, pretty much wiping out life in a few dozen states.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Steamboats are cool for some reason. I'm not sure why, but they are. I love trains too -- at least the old ones.

That caldera thing is not a happy thought. I have wondered sometimes if that's the reason there are no actual "native Americans." Maybe they got wiped 50k or 100k or 150k years ago?

Floyd R. Turbo said...

1. The Texas Rangers -- not the abomination of Chuck Norris' fevered imagination, but the "One riot, one Ranger" version... when the words "punitive raid" were an accepted part of the lexicon.

2. John Henry. "John Henry was a man! A steeel drivin' man!" Loved that story and the various work songs from it.

3. Washington at Valley Forge... his prayer and the men's perseverance...

4. The Alamo of course

5. Babe Ruth and his called shot. Did he or didn't he? I hope we never know for sure -- the story is too good.

HM: FDR and JFK's competence. JFK's is laughable and once the Boomer's die he will fly down the list of POTUS'to the middle where he belongs. FDR's mythical competence during the Great Depression is still killing us. It would be laughable if it wasn't so damaging.

tryanmax said...

What's the difference between folk lore and myth? I don't care. So my top five are:

1. The Honest Politician

2. The Athletic Role-Model

3. The Hard-Working Union

4. Montana

5. The Magic Negro

Anonymous said...

Broadly, eh? Andrew, did I answer this question incorrectly? (I honestly want to know.)


AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Babe Ruth's called shoot is really cool, a truly iconic moment in so many ways, right down to the controversy.

Yeah, I don't know much about the Texas Rangers today, but their history was something else!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! Nicely done! Sadly, a lot of people (especially liberals) still buy into those. And Hollywood LOVES the Magic Negro. The number of films using that trope are amazing.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Yeah. I don't think most people would count Roswell or Big Foot as American folk lore. They tend to think of Paul Bunyan and Honest Abe, etc., not gray and probing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I swear I saw that you had used Roswell as an answer before I did. :-)

I should've went with John Henry (one of my original answers) instead!

AndrewPrice said...

Nope. I saw your answers before I did mine and since you went broadly, I decided to go broadly as well... see my comment in the article. Otherwise I would have stuck with more "historical" figures.

P.S. There's nothing wrong with going broadly, I think it makes sense, it was just unexpected.

rlaWTX said...

the "Wild West"

Constitutional integrity

American Individualism

American "we're in it together"ism

There's Always Another Election in 4 years

rlaWTX said...

Totally OT: I read this headline in the margin and read "after birth" as one word...
"Nick Lachey Wishes Jessica Simpson the Best After Birth of Baby Ace"

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That would be a strange headline indeed, but somehow not out of the realm of possibility.

Good call on "there's always another election in 4 years!" I think one of the things that has made America so great is our ability to remake ourselves.

Anonymous said...

American folk lore, eh? In no particular order...

1. The Declaration of Independence - This one just seems to define America for me.

2. Washington and the Cherry Tree - This one's stuck with me since kindergarten.

3. Steamboats - Reading Mark Twain when I was younger secured this one.

4. The Alamo - It's just always struck me as an iconic American moment.

5. Paul Bunyan - More childhood nostalgia than anything, but I can't quite leave him out here.

Nothing original, but there it is.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, Doesn't need to be original! Good list.

KRS said...

My $.02, in no particular order:

Steam Locomotives - sure, they're not as powerful at diesel-electrics, but they are all chuffing attitude and there's something about the rumbling harmony of the pistons, rods and wheels on a big 4-8-2 that fascinates.

Superheroes - We invented them. They're the perfect foil for stories of American exceptionalism.

Fast Food - My German mother trained me to cook and she cooked everything from scratch. Dinner took an hour and a half to prepare. Fast food is liberty, nothing less.

The automobile - If you've been to Europe, no need for me to explain.

Judeo-Christian values - basis of our Founding, the concept of unalienable rights and natural law.

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