A great talk this evening by VPAA Mark Roberts at the Bartow History Museum in Cartersville, an interesting disquisition on the Appalachian “hillbilly.” Is the “hillbilly” the valued repository of an unsullied original “Anglo-Saxon” culture, or is he an embarrassing holdover from a former age, needlessly impeding American Progress? If nothing else, he had great music! Roberts treated us to numbers by John Dilleshaw (“Seven Foot Dilly and His Dill Pickles”), and the Carter Family. He also showed a Betty Boop cartoon “Musical Mountaineers,” and proposed that all of this was taking place in a parallel dimension (signified by the moonshine jug “lens” at the beginning and the cartoon surreality). However, at the end of the cartoon, moonshine substitutes for gasoline in Betty’s car, suggesting that Appalachia could serve as the “fuel” for modern America. In other words, both positions are true!
They kindly kept the museum open afterwards. I was impressed. I had not seen it since it moved to the old courthouse, and it’s really well done.