Sunday, April 22, 2012

donaldsville, louisiana (1938) eating snakes at the carnival

More postings from Old Picture of the Day:

Here is another picture of a carnival "Geek" eating a snake. I find it interesting the evolution of the word "Geek" over the last hundred years. Back in the day, Geek referred to someone who would entertain by biting the heads off live chickens or snakes, perhaps drinking the blood, and then eating them raw. Because of this egregious behavior, the word geek had an element of a social outcast, one who did not behave like others and did not fit in with polite society. Nothing criminal, just a misfit. By the 60's and 70's the term was used to describe a high school student who was good in math. It was equivalent to "Nerd" in some ways. In the 60's and 70's the word Geek was definitely intended to be an insult. It was a way to make kids who were good in math feel like outcasts. As computer technology came on the scene, the word Geek was used not just for those good with math, but also good with technology. Then a funny thing happened . . . some of those computer "Geeks" started turning out to be multimillionairs before they finished college and in some cases before they finished high school. All of the sudden "Geek" became a cool thing to be. So, the word went from describing a person who bit the heads off chickens to make a few dollars to a kid living in a mansion and driving a Ferrari around Silicon Valley.

Today's picture shows a performance in a carnival side show. For entertainment, this gentleman would bite the head off a snake and eat it raw. The picture was taken in 1938 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. In the 1970's I can remember seeing a "Freak Show" at the Texas State Fair where there was a similar act. I have to say that for a little kid, it was a pretty amazing thing to watch. I believe carnival sideshows are much more tame now-days. Wonder if anyone has seen a carnival sideshow recently and if they can share with us any acts like this still being done.

No comments:

Post a Comment