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Little House on the Prairie vs. the Gothic South

Today I was talking with a friend about literature, and I came to the realization that certain Nebraska Writers (none named in particular, and with no comparison made to Thoreau) are simply boring because they write about Nebraska. I used to wish we could claim Faulkner as our state author, but now I realize that if Faulkner had lived in Nebraska, his books would probably be boring too.

Don't get me wrong. Nebraska lives up to its title "The Good Life." Things aren't bad here; they're just boring. There's not a dark, gothic history woven into the fabric of the land like there is in the South. Nor is there the experimental, "progressive" attitude of Europe or other big cities. Everything's pretty straightforward here. We're content with where we're at and we're proud of our consistently uneventful history. Let's be honest. Our pioneer ancestors stopped here not so much because they liked the land, but because they didn't want the risk and unknown that awaited them in the Rockies and the west coast.

(smooth segue into music)

Speaking of the dark mystery of the South, I've found that David Eugene Edwards captures this in his music the way Faulkner does in his books. I can think of no author/musician combination that goes so well together. Edwards' 16 Horsepower album "Folklore" captures the desperate fallenness of humanity through the particular historico-cultural context of the American South.

Some excerpts (from Edwards in general, not just "Folklore"):

Hutterite Mile
Iron sharpens iron
Crooked wooden peacock black
I have your feathers
Slung across my back
I'm not the only one
To help you down the hill
My blue knuckles do as they will

Sparrow Falls
What stands between us
Runs right through my head
It's water still under the bridge
We come together in a horsehead union
Hang my tobacco hands from a beam
Silver handled and chest of drawers
Out of the longhouse I took what's yours
I took what's yours

Strong Man

The strong man he will kneel down
Whilst angels strip him of cloak and crown
Through bitter lips come vile breath
He is the last one to confess

There will be no pity for him
We must kill him where he stands
No there will be no mercy for him
Nor for any of his clan

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