Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We Killed Him

The Ruling Elite in this country - in their incessant drive to tax, regulate, enslave every free man - finally succeeded in pushing a decent man over the edge. At least he has cheated them out of their "justice"... While our Psychopaths-in-charge loot the country, they divert attention from their criminality by persecuting people like Sutton.
– Roger B. Shootin’

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, "Who is that man?"
You try so hard
But you don't understand
Just what you'll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

- Ballad of a Thin Man, Bob Dylan

For anyone who might find the artistic rendering either offensive or disgusting, let me say that I share your sentiments.

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then you’ve been saved the bother of reading remarks from Popcorn Sutton’s staunchest disciples. You've just been given the essence of it. Yesterday’s letter in the Citizen Times, from Aileen Fleming of Waynesville, was relatively tame:

Regarding "Popcorn" Sutton: You don't take a man, make a legend and local hero out of him, do feature stories about him, do documentaries that run on the History channel about him, put his name on a welcome sign in Maggie Valley, then send him to prison for what everybody knew he was doing for years and years.
…Life ain't fair. Popcorn was a good man.

Reasonable enough.

But the editors decided to fan the flames. They headlined Fleming’s letter:

We made ‘Popcorn’ what he was and then killed him for it

Or as another Popcorn devotee put it last week:

He couldn’t turn the water into wine, but he sure could turn it into likker.

The bottom line for this current of thought:

Popcorn Sutton was a saint and a martyr.

And a hero, of course.

Now, some doubters contest the latter point. So I looked it up in the dictionary:

he-ro n. (hir’o) Any man noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose …A person prominent in some event, field, period, or cause by reason of his special achievements or contributions: the heroes of medicine.

I guess you could say Popcorn made...



Alright. That settles it. With subjective definitions like that, the hero designation is wide open to interpretation. Nobility of purpose is in the eye of the beholder. If you believe Popcorn is a hero, then he is.

My suggestion? Find Neal Hutcheson’s film, The Last One. I always enjoy watching practitioners of ancient crafts and this documentary delivers with Popcorn Sutton making one "last" batch of moonshine.

You watch him and wonder. Is he the genuine article? A pure expression of mountain culture? Or is he a cagey guy playing the Snuffy Smith schtick to the max?

I wouldn’t presume to talk about Popcorn the Man. I didn’t know him. But the powerful appeal of Popcorn the Legend is almost beyond belief. It's like several years ago when I went out for lunch and the restaurant televisions were all tuned to live coverage of Dale Earnhardt’s funeral.

"Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?"

No, I don't.

But there’s no point in my being perplexed. Popcorn Sutton is whatever you want him to be.



Cultural treasure?

Sacrificial lamb?

Why not? Whatever floats your boat.

Like that newspaper editor said, "We made ‘Popcorn’ what he was and then killed him for it."

rest in peace popcorn..when you get to heaven and put up your steel, one that no cop can take away or cut down, remember us down here and make us up a batch of ur hevenly shine. only reason they didnt want u makin ur likker was b/c they couldnt tax ya, well those damb liberals can kiss my ass..they didnt get you did they lol, death before dishonor, ur a man true to ur word but we will miss you.. rest in peace

Furthermore, Hank Williams Jr. can kiss my ass.

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