Why is it gas station marts and truck stops in rural areas sell the absolute weirdest crap, and then try to pass it off as artwork? Are they trying to dupe weary travelers and lonely truckers into impulse buying some shit-stained slice of local flavor—or as I like to call it, culture for those without a frontal lobe?
Or do they truly believe there’s a viable market for these:
(I call this one Waterboarded Animals in Fetal Position)
Admittedly, the craftsmanship of these ceramic embodiments of animal cruelty isn’t terrible. However, just because something is passably made doesn’t mean it should be made (case in point, sex dolls for dogs). Not to mention, the disturbingly unnatural and overtly fellatic poses of these animals are impossible to ignore, only seeming to reinforce the whole hayseed-bestiality stereotype.
Or maybe I’m looking at it all wrong. Maybe I’m not the intended demographic here. Maybe there’s a rampant tchotchke fetish among small town denizens, and this inspired dreck has been curated for a local market. We’re simply passing through their weird little worlds…
Gaze at it through that lens, and I guess it is feasible that truck stops have become cultural epicenters for rural America. Like the redneck version of Etsy, only more analog.
If that’s the case then chalk it up to my own narcissistic small-mindedness for being out of touch with the aesthetically challenged. For the life of me, I just can’t imagine a world where anyone would buy this shit for unironic reasons.
And yet, journalistic ethics compels me to at least try and see both sides, to present a balanced viewpoint à la Fox News. So let’s play devil’s advocate and picture how an earnest purchase of this eye socket spice rack might go down:
CUSTOMER: Is this a real human skull?
CASHIER: Dunno. Might could be.
CUSTOMER: (admiring skull) Feels real… ‘cept it’s got all its teeth! (emits snorting horselaugh at his own joke) That sure ain’t real… (snorts again for good measure)
CASHIER: (amused) Must’ve flossed or somethin’.
CUSTOMER: So, which eye hole you think the salt goes in?
Cashier mulls it over, probing her own eye sockets with her fingers for an answer. She then confidently points at the salt shaker in the right eye socket.
CASHIER: (points at right eye of the skull) Hmm, reckon salt goes in that hole.
CASHIER: (correcting) No, right.
CUSTOMER: (admiring skull again) Well, she’s a beaut! My Loretta sure loves salt.
CASHIER: Salt’s the best.
CUSTOMER: Pepper’s good, too.
CUSTOMER: Mind wrapping this up for me? Ann’versary’s tomorrow.
CASHIER: Sure thing, sugar. That’s real nice.
And that, gentle readers, is that.