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Author Topic: Ponderings 8  (Read 1795 times)

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Magispook

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Ponderings 8
« on: November 27, 2005, 09:41:02 PM »

Stereotype - I was cleaning up the living room today when I saw it.  If my banjo had eyes, it would be giving me guilt trip eyes.  “You haven’t done any pickin’ for a long time,” it would say if it could talk human.  Guilty.  Just been too busy on other things.  I started out with good intentions.  Picked daily.  Bummer.  My daughter plays violin yet disdains bluegrass.  It may be the Suzuki method she learns by or simply a clash of generations–I don’t know.  I had so hoped she would take a liking to bluegrass so we could play together.  Heck, she might even call it a fiddle.  Not much call for banjo pickin’ with Beethoven.  There is an outstanding reward of $30 if she can successfully play Orange Blossom Special.  She hasn’t collected yet.  I recall, as a child, my mom would take us kids to her parents’ house where all her brothers and sisters would gather and play “country” music–stuff I call bluegrass nowadays.  They had a great time.  I do recall that especially.  It would be a great memory for my daughter to recall when she grows up and tells about the days when she and her old dad picked together.  Alas, it ain’t gonna happen.  So I now have reduced incentive to pick.  My brother, a naturally talented banjo picker for nigh onto thirty years, will have to provide the motivation for me to get back up to speed.  You see, we’ve been planning a practical joke exploiting the stereotype of we West Virginians as hillbillies.  Scary hillbillies.  The id of American society.  Remember the movie Deliverance?  Stereotypes to the nth degree.  We will take up positions on the opposite sides of a public campground, preferably with trees for cover and wait until an out of state flatlander car pulls up.  The more expensive the car and the more conspicuous consumption-minded, high end, top of the line clothing and equipment outfitted the occupants, the better.  We’ll let ‘em set up part of their campsite.  Then my brother will play the challenge lick of Dueling Banjos.  I will pick the response lick from across the way.  Then the next challenge and response lick will ring out from behind the treeline.  And again.  We’ll slowly walk from behind our cover toward each other, the surprised campers in the middle.  We’ll be wearing our Billy-Bob teeth.  Shoes will be optional–-brogans if worn.  Won’t shave for a few days.  I already have a grey beard goatee thing.  Maybe I’ll wear my grey Kepi hat.  I’ll stop playing and let him finish the tune.  He’ll probably segue into Foggy Mountain Breakdown.  We’ll just stand there a few minutes, then walk back into the woods.  Yeah right–-we can dream can’t we?  Actually we West Virginians are masters at passive aggression.  Stereotypes are fun and useful to exploit and we know how to do it properly.  I use my twang and down-home turns of phrase to draw information from interviewees for my client.  Folks don’t realize they tell me so much when they believe they’re talking to a dumb ol’ country boy who, upon second thought  much later on, seemed to have been more worldly than initially judged at the time of the conversation.  Limited expectations and prejudged conclusions are great tools to be used judiciously when the need arises.  It bears saying again: stereotypes truly are useful tools sometimes.  Something I learned conducting surveillances is that no one shows more than a passing interest or even wants to be around someone who appears to be down on his luck or is working at menial jobs.  Fantastic!  Puts me in the right place at the right time.  Yeah, racial and socioeconomic stereotypes stifle folks who could otherwise contribute greatly to society if only the stereotype could be bypassed–-the Yin to the Yang of stereotyping.  But stereotypes really can be exploited by the one being stereotyped.  Yaw-ssa massa.  Try this:  Observe your peers interact and look for their prejudices.  They will be noticeable if only you look for them.  Think about those prejudices.  Can you use them to your advantage when things get stressful?  Maybe you can.  Maybe you can’t.  Maybe you will not want to.  But look for stereotypes.  Gain increased awareness if nothing else.  Something to ponder.
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Magispook

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Re: Ponderings 8
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 04:19:19 PM »

A quick note to wish all a happy new year.  I'll try to write more this new year.   :-D
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Creekwoman

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Re: Ponderings 8
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 07:39:42 PM »

Oh yeah Magispook, the dumb southerner, the hick farmer and I'm sure there are many more.  We live on a farm in Iowa.  Some of my California friends asked, as we were planning our move to Iowa, if we'd have a bathroom or would we have to use an outhouse?  Also, did Iowa have electricity. 

I told them we had bathrooms and electricity but no air conditioning or screens for windows so the only real difference between here and there would be trying to keep the chickens out of the house.  They believed it for years!  :angel:

Happy New Year's to you too and I'll be anxious to read more of your musings in 2006.
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Wishfulthinkin

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Re: Ponderings 8
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 08:59:51 PM »

Happy New Year Magispook, I for one have missed your wrighting. Hope the new year brings you much happiness and an urge to pick!!
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CountryLady

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Re: Ponderings 8
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2006, 08:25:40 PM »

What an interesting post, and very true. Sorry I didn't see this before, I've been building a new forum, don't cha know. :lol

I have a 'natural ability' to mimic the people I'm with, blend into my surroundings, or wear the mantle of a pretext comfortably when I was an active Private Investigator. It really does work. Its no different from taking on a role in a play, except there are times when successfully pulling off the disguise could mean the difference between, eating and being hungry, safe passage vs struggle, or even life and death.

I was really enjoying the mental images you created with your description of you and your brother picking banjos to blow the minds of City Folks. Sadly, I can barely play the radio, much less anything musical, so I'm not much of a prod for you, but you CAN believe that when we get together at weavers this coming April/May, you WILL be :knuppel2: asked to share your wonderful talent. THAT I am truly looking forward to. :)

Thanks so much for sharing this. :*
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