How else can one explain today's KY 'Photo Essay' other than short of a palace coup, of sorts, @ the paper of record? Don't get me wrong; I love cornbread, a good poke at the inbred & bourbon. However this black & white jaunt thru the Bluegrass state is just plain mean; see montage right. All these folks probably would've been turned away as 'Coal Miner's Daughter' extras because - although film wanted authentic - 100% holler denizen would be a bit much for silver screen. Appears this clan has had the shack enrobed by kudzu for a more eco-friendly effect, so got to give them some props for that. Parlor game, too, in evaluating this image is determination of relationship between the far two figures as that of mother/son, brother/sister, cousins of some strip or proverbial 'D', i.e. all of the above. [Okay, admittedly that's a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist.]
Seriously, there is a pictorial way to show people of lesser (almost no) means & allow them, also, a modicum of dignity. Think of or look back upon Walker Evans' seminal Let Us Now Praise Famous Men from his WPA days. This high exposure jaunt, however, is a casting call strictly for appalachian underbelly. Gander due right at this macabre scene and then tell me the subtext is anywhere near Norman Rockwell's psychological zip code? No, it doesn't need to be 100% apple pie, the flag & a Chevy pickup to be considered bona fide 'Americana', but come on here. The Good Lord in Texas aside, what in the hell are these mullet-heads thinking by posing for this, truly, last family photo? [Admittedly cheap shot #2: "Jesse, who we gonna git now to be our date @ the Possum Dance next September? Grandma can't do the Achy-Breaker in her PowerGlide chair!"]
Not that we can't ... or shouldn't ... have a little fun at others' expense. Who amongst us, for example, wouldn't - for lady to right's photograph - possibly affix caption of "Now where in the hell did I put my teeth, Clem?". Would said Y chromosomer appreciate such mirth? Probably not, but a new clothes dryer presently appears to be higher on her personal bucket list, so other priorities must prevail. Personally, I'd be more interested in finding out what has, seemingly, got up her dander something more fierce than the astringency off the spring's initial ramps' harvest? This particular blonde lady looks more fixed-to-be-tied than the neighbor's goat that recently ate the remaining five pounds of her kinfolks' government cheese allotment from last year. [Sorry, but it would appear that admittedly cheap shot #3 is officially in the books with that last line.]
The creme de la creme, so to speak, of this pictorial output, indubitably however, is at right. Collection this fine of real man pulchritude + brains, you can't get short of TV's 'Jackass' fan club membership base. My (not) Almighty, just look at these prize winners! If they stumbled into a New York City Dale Carnegie seminar, dollars will git ya donuts that half the crowd would flee & remainder would pistol-whip the organizer for a refund. Old-timer to far left is your standard issue 'Geezer'. In old days, this would be gent manning pump @ 'filling station' where you stopped during trek down America's so-called 'blue' - for their color on most maps - highways. As for his supposedly 4 blood descendants to right, image is nothing short of a sliding scale downwards along Darwinian curve. Lad 2nd from right, by the way, obviously in training for holler clerical pursuits as evidenced by his early work handling snakes being job requirement. [Racks-up #4 in admittedly cheap shot category, for those keeping track.]
Of course - staying w/ David Lynch theme - there's got to be some 'eye candy'. As Laura Dern was systematically, repeatedly & luridly deflowered by 'Sailor' character in some epic fillum I can't recall (except, curiously, for that aspect) many years ago, there is always beauty still to be found in nature. Much like strip-mining mars the spring hillside struggling to come to life again, lass at right already has lost her innate allure due to some extremely ill-advised + thug-inspired tat-ting. Guess pictorial point is that pillaging of countryside for mineral bounty, isn't only crime down the Appalachian mountain range being perpetuated vs. under-protected. Somehow I don't think the aesthetic of 'Coal Ash Trollope' will ever inspire a Dior collection, so this young gal's plight particularly unfulfilling from anyone's perspective. At best, we can only hope that her belly lettering won't look like mangled roadside signage after unwed child #4 makes his/her appearance in this blessed world. [Calling for cheap shot tab @ five for the day ... remember, please try the veal.]
To paraphrase from epic of another time/place, "The horror, the sheer horror ..."