Friday, October 26, 2007

Zombietown USA

Apparently, there's a small town in Florida near the Alabama border where it became fashionable to lose a limb and collect on insurance. In fact, "more than two-thirds of all loss-of-limb accident claims in the United States in the late '50s and early '60s come from the Florida Panhandle." Renowned documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) attempted to make a documentary about this twisted town, but while sitting at a bar, "a citizen twice Morris's size smiled as he extinguished a cigarette on the lapel of Morris's blazer." He ended up releasing Vernon, Florida without any "Nub City" references, but a white trash expose:

What Morris produced instead was 56 minutes of surreal monologues from an idle police officer, an obsessive turkey hunter, a pastor fixated on the word "therefore," a couple convinced that the sand they keep in a jar is growing, and, among others, an old man who claims he can write with both hands at once... Roger Ebert called it an "unforgettable film."

The thought of seeing these Jerry Springer watchers limping around the streets to go to the corner store and drop blood money on beef jerky is scarier to me than any zombie flick. Maybe I've led a privileged life but never in my wildest dreams have I considered shooting off a part of my body for money. I remember seeing an episode of ER like this, where some strung out couple needed money to score a fix. Even for them, your left hand has to be worth something pretty significant.

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