Roadside Attraction

from-renee-heath

PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath

The tourists were all pasty faced and out of shape, sweating in the sun, fanning themselves with programs.  Jim scowled. Not many this time.

His great-grandfather had opened in the early 1950s as people began to explore the West and wanted to have an “authentic” experience.  The show, unchanged since then right down to the stupid teepee, was all about expectations from those first few tourists and had nothing to do with authenticity.

The actors entered dancing, whooping and drumming.

The tourists clapped, as always. How Jim resented them. He wanted to quit, but a buck was still a buck.

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo ©Renee Heath.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

63 thoughts on “Roadside Attraction

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes, in ways they are like that monkey with the grinder, but there are people who love those type of fake shows. I really don’t know if many of these roadside attractions still exist, but years ago they were everywhere. Thanks :)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. granonine

    I once saw a white man attempt to enter the dance of a band of Sioux. He was quickly educated in the etiquette involved–he was a spectator, not a performer, and their dance was serious business. We sure can be dumb sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yeah, we can be dumb sometimes. When it is really authentic, it is serious business, not entertainment for the spectators, one reason this roadside attraction will have a hard time being more than it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. rochellewisoff

    Dear Trent,

    I have to say that it’s very difficult for me to watch old westerns made before 1971 (When Little Big Man came out). None of the Indigenous were played by Indigenous. And the stilted dialogue sets my teeth on edge. You captured the Redblooded American Way. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes, the old movies can be very painful. It’s been ages since I saw Little Big Man, but I’m sure you are right that, even though it sometimes poked fun of native culture, it was far more sympathetic to them than to the European Americas, like Custer! Thanks.

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  3. Frankie Perussault

    Very good statement in a nutshell. The same going on in Australia with “authentic” Aboriginal culture. Tourists from cities are a plague! Folklore for a buck and meanwhile Venise is sinking. Brilliant again. (am I overdoing it?!) (from threefoldtwenty dotcom)

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      After WWII when people in America began to explore our large country, people would set up these “attractions” that cost almost nothing to get in. Because they were inexpensive, they were also cheap, and not authentic, just what the tourists believed would be from watching movies. Today you can spend a lot and see something more authentic, but this person still has “old” show and hates it, but doesn’t have the money or resources to move on.

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  4. 4963andypop

    On the authenticity thing, there have been lots of radio shows this past week on topics having to do with native Americans and I heard an interview with Tommy Orange about his book “There, There” which is set in OaklandCA. He said that 75% of the Native population now live in urban areas and a whole new genre of literature is developing, cataloging their experiences…so go dramatize that in your character’s show! Good story.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes, I agree. And more than that, there isn’t just “Native American culture”, each region and each tribe has their own identity but media makes it seem like just one homogeneous thing across the entire continent.

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          1. Dale

            Now you’re talking! I’ve got me tartan and Coat of Arms as well… my name goes way back to the Normans and some went through France, some England and others towards Scotland (my paternal grandfather was a Highlander) – I’ll have a dram wit ya! ;-)

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      If there is whiskey involved, I guess I’m all for it, but, yes, very much about generalizations expectations. These days there are places that you can experience more authentic customs, but anything aim at visitors or tourists…

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Jelli

    That.. that… that rings so very true. I have an almost “hate” for tourists because of this “expectation” that we, as Natives, dress and dance and drum, etc. in a certain way. When, in reality, I want to shed the heavy dress/shawl, mocassins, etc, put on a simple breach, and just dance from my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. Jelli

        I DO! After my accident back in ’96, the docs said I would never walk again, at least not without a walker or cane… It took a coupla years, but I proved them wrong and even invited the Doc who put all the plastic bones in my foot (closest thing to a prosthetic with real skin) to watch me dance. It was a special moment.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Possibly, though he might not have the resources to change over. Most of the roadside attractions I’ve seen are pretty cheap/chintzy affairs that, like this, have been running for generations without a change – though written 20 years ago, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods gives a good flavor for the typical road side attraction. I was going to try to fit in something about doing a rewrite to be more authentic,but ran out of words.

      Liked by 1 person

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