Perfectly Boring
May 19, 2018 12:55 PM   Subscribe

I grew up in a town near Greenwood. My dad and uncle (who is now an established artist) were on the outskirts of this life. They were young at the time, and although they didn't know these people, they knew folks who did. There were some dark stories about this kind of Southern hippie life.

When I was a kid, my folks had the laundry room painted that exact same shade of red. I loved it, but it was so inexplicable and so different from the rest of the house that I wonder if it wasn't to do with this photograph. I love it, and in fact I once sent it to someone on a postcard without realizing there was a naughty poster in the corner.

Although this article uses language suggesting the abuse of women as an aside, which is often the case in Great Artist writeups, Eggleston is a pretty fierce reflection of our local aesthetic, in his art and apparently in his circle. This, for example, is an extremely Delta story:

Chubb recalled once, in Greenwood, seeing Boring encounter his childhood nursemaid, who was so heartbroken at his drunken state that she took off her shoe and hit him over the head with it repeatedly.

I would bet money that the nursemaid was black, and that the shoe-beating was an expected and approved liberty because of the quasi-familial relationships that ultimately shore up the Delta's brand of white supremacy. It also doesn't surprise me to hear about the police just ... not looking into a murder, because ... reasons.

Thanks for this article. I love that place and I want to set it on fire and live there forever, which is hard to sort out, so I plan to do neither.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:25 PM on May 19, 2018 [29 favorites]

Oh wow, Countess Elena. Thanks for sharing that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:49 PM on May 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fantastic. Shared to a subset of pals that will connect to it via photography, Memphis, Louisiana, Tav Falco, and Dark Shadows.
posted by mwhybark at 4:47 PM on May 19, 2018

Great read. I’d only been hipped to Eggleston in the last year or two, having gotten him confused/conflated with Edgarton. I was pretty stunned by his work when I sat down with it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2018

The photo that the article is about is the front cover of Radio City by Big Star. I used to spend a long time looking at it with my headphones on... the image looks simple, but in some ways it's as absorbing as a Roger Dean painting. I didn't know it had this whole crazy Southern Hippie Gothic backstory!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:25 PM on May 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have never particularly been an Eggleston fan, but that’s a very interesting article. Thanks.

p.s. I really thought I had that Big Star album but tonight on the shelves I only can find the earlier one with the big star on the cover.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:04 PM on May 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

That was a good read. I knew Eggleston's work but didn't know much about him personally so it was interesting to hear some back story. Particularly the connection with Tav Falco, I never would have guessed that.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:14 PM on May 20, 2018

I love that place and I want to set it on fire and live there forever, which is hard to sort out, so I plan to do neither.

posted by Countess Elena at 3:25 PM on May 19

You've just perfectly phrased the complicated feelings I have about The South.
posted by persephone's rant at 6:26 AM on May 21, 2018 [7 favorites]

A t-shirt I saw recently said, "In the South, we don't hide crazy. We parade it on the front porch and give it a cocktail."

Everyone here has a "crazy" relative who spurned the "norm" and lives a life of "scandal"...

Uncle Jack dropped out of LSU and works at a sno-ball stand some of the time.
Mawmaw poured her grandson a Miller Pony in his own tiny frozen mug and they'd watch the stories together starting when he was four years old. (It was the seventies.)
Cousin Arnold kept bees during the daytime and partied every night.
posted by narancia at 2:55 PM on May 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

Well my dad was Dr. T.C.Boring. I am his daughter Brenda Jane Boring and I read Perfectly Boring and was not impressed with the accuracy of how my fathers life was portrayed and his dismiss/murder. And may I please say how appalled I am to read how Countess Elana wrote I love that place and want to see it on fire! What kind of peorty is this? You write you want to see my fathers home on fire/ my child hood home on fire? This is quite sickening. What is wrong with the people in the world today? Is a person's murder never respected in the fact that you don't make up stuff like what Countess Elana concocted in her head about the burning down of my home and she wants to see it burn. This is sickening. And then you all think it is just so cool to bring up a man's murder and make up all kind of assumptions and statements about someone you have never met and never will meet. I am not happy or impressed with this article put out about. My dad that was mentioned in the article Perfectly Boring. Get a life people. And leave a man's murder alone if you have any respect for the dearly departed. Which you probably have none.
posted by JaniePaixao at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting here. I am very sorry that what I said caused you pain. I was unhappy that no one in Greenwood seemed to have sought justice in this matter. I did not intend to sound threatening to anyone or any place. On the contrary, what I said was an expression of powerlessness produced by deep and contrasting emotions about the Mississippi Delta.

Like a lot of people from Mississippi, I have very complex and passionate feelings about it, due to the sharp dissonance between its warmth and beauty and its deep-rooted cultural problems. I used poetic license and hyperbole to express emotions that I feel precisely because I do not think that suffering has been respected enough there.

I wanted you to know that I heard you, and I am sorry that I have made you unhappy.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:15 AM on May 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Wow, I knew I knew the photo, but couldn't place it. Of course it's the Big Star overlap, but the penny didn't drop for me because like most folks my age (48) I have the combined edition of #1 Record / Radio City on one CD, not the individual albums. (All hail the late, lamented Vinyl Solution of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and its prophet and owner George H, who guided many a curious freshman towards Mr Chilton & company.)

That cover isn't the photo in question, though I'm enough of a fan to have seen the real McCoy in hipper record collections.
posted by uberchet at 2:18 PM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I accept your apology Countess Elana. I will not change my mind about your poetry associated with my Father's Murder. I am not happy and will never except what you wrote about my dad's house burning. And how you want to see it burn. But I guess some people don't realize at the time what their words could do and effect a person. I am going to be just fine. I am writing a book about my Father's Life and Murder. I am done with all the fake False articles about my dad's life and Murder. In Perfectly Boring the Author William Stephenson mentions my dad was married 3 times in Perfectly Boring ,but he doesn't name my dad's third so called wife. Which is Total BS. My dad was only married twice. I am going to critique articles made up about my dad because I am sick of all the false information put out in the media that is related to my Father. You never hear any of the articles speaking about my Father serving in Korean War in a positive manner. If you all want to know who I think and know murdered my dad then you are just going to have to read my book The True Legacy of Tom Boring to find out. Because I was told who murdered him. I am the only one that knows who took out my dad. I am done here.
posted by JaniePaixao at 8:39 AM on May 23, 2018

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