Msnowe's Blog

Arcane Sauce

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on March 5, 2009

(Where M.snowe reflects on her travels to Northwestern Arkansas)

M.snowe has never really spent a lot of time in the South, excepting Florida, which really in her mind is separate from the Southern Ideal (too much theme park, too little barbecue).  And when she says “Southern Ideal,” m.snowe must admit with some trepidation that, being a Northerner through and through, a true Yankee, the idea of the South (in literature, in history, in her mind) has become something of a double-edged idee fixe. At once fascinated by the sprawling landscapes, and appalled by some of the more notorious past (and present for that matter!), The South, both capitalized words taken as a notion, has entertained too many daydreams and day-mares than m.snowe would really prefer to admit. Despite the morbid and/or fantastic obsession that grants the South a sort of inner kinship with m.snowe, the South is absolutely “the other.” And perhaps, therein lies the fascination.

M.snowe wishes she had brought her camera, because the juxtaposition of extreme poverty with extreme wealth was visually and conceptually jarring. Literally, a motor home of what looked to be ill-repute was right next to a huge lot with an over-sized new development house, or an almost-mansion.  And the strangest part (perhaps) was that no matter what angle you looked from, it was always the richer, bloated domicile that looked out-of-place. Even if the smaller, more run-down houses didn’t exist in the landscape, the thought of a house with fake-French stone towers named “beau chalet” in the Northwest spanse of dry and rolling-hilled Arkansas would give someone either the creeps or at least the slightest tinge of revulsion at the utter dissonance of the situation. It made m.snowe wonder about the people who live in those fake mansions, and how they survive without the constant bristle of dystopic sensitivity. The headquarters of Walmart is based out in this part of Arkansas, and it happens to be one of the only businesses that is making a steady profit in our crap economy. Walmart Corp. itself is a microcosm (or synecdoche if you will) of this little nook of the country–peddling the waters of poverty and extreme wealth, yet sitting comfortably from its mansion with little or no regard for its neighbors’ well-being as they slowly drown. (Yes, there were some mixed metaphors there, but you, the savvy reader, get it). M.snowe hopes to see more of The South, because she does not want these images burned into her brain, at least not to represent the whole.