Monday, July 23, 2012

Straw Dogs, or How to Win Friends and Violently Harm People

Everyone knows that hillbillies smell fear, and the fear smell of big-city yuppie carries further than any other.  It is wise to never show fear in the face of hillbillies, and this is the ultimate lesson in both the classic 1971 film "Straw Dogs" and its recent remake.

"Straw Dogs", if you haven't seen it, is a simple story, as old as time itself--effete big-city sophisticate and his comely young wife decide to go all Green Acres by moving to the rural area where the young wife came from before moving to the big city.  The husband is an intellectual type, trying to find peace and quiet where he can work on his writing, and hire some salt-of-the-earth types to repair the roof of the house he'll be staying in.  The rubes (in rural England in the original, in rural Mississippi in the remake--which technically doesn't make them hillbillies, but hicks I suppose) look down on this newcomer and resent the attractive wife--who's actually one of them, dammit, and shouldn't be sassing about with the big city limp-wrist!--prancing about in short skirts like some low-budget Nancy Sinatra!  What starts out as a promising comedy--fish out of water--quickly goes dark when the locals take the cityboy hunting, kill his cat, and repeatedly rape his wife.  Things go about the way one would expect, and then the hicks assault the home to break in and kill the couple, who then have to find their animal instincts from within, and murder them up some working class heroes.  It's the classic case of the 1 percenters taking revenge on the 99 percenters!  Occupy this house?  I think not, hoi polloi!

Anyway, watching this movie made me think--I'm pretty much a cityboy, seeing as I live in a city, and have never killed anything bigger than a bug--and yet despite having visited "the country" on a number of occasions have never encountered any hostility from the natives.  It must be because I am so savvy!  Here's my tips on making sure that local rubes will learn to respect and fear you and not think they can go and rape your wife and try to set you on fire:

1) It's a good idea to first meet them with an arrow wound in your arm.  (Just make sure it's not piercing any key arteries!)  Act like you aren't aware of the wound, and when they say "hey mister, you have an arrow in your arm!" just look nonchalantly like as though it's another nuisance, and say something witty like "goddam someone must have thought I was a moose!  Maw, get me some turniquet tape!"

2) If some rube gives you lip because you mistakenly ordered a Bud Light (always order Bud Heavy!  Bud Light is only on tap so they can smoke out the wimps!), laugh, pat him on the back, and then staple his nearest hand into the bar using a nail gun.  As he's screaming bloody murder yell at him "now LOOK WHAT YOU JUST MADE ME DO!!!"  No one will notice your fancy Italian loafers when you just stapled some guy's hand to the bar.

3) When the locals offer to take you hunting in order to show you up and feel superior to you because you can't hunt as well as they can, tell them that deer hunting is for pussies and you don't get up before 8 AM for anything less than a crocodile.  Then make some comment about the relative smallness of their genitals.

4) If you walk out of the fire-and-brimstone preacher's sermon at church on Sunday, and one of the rubes comes outside to criticize you for it, tell him the reason you had to leave is because any church service that doesn't involve handling snakes is an affront to the vengeful god you believe in.  Then nail the guy's hand to the hood of his car.

5) Don't point out that it's strange that their state flag features the battle flag of a rebel army that killed more American uniformed troops than any other army in history.  The thing about southerners is they can maintain two contradictory beliefs at the same time.

6) When the rubes working on your roof tell you they're taking off early for the day because it's hunting season, shoot one of them in the kneecap with your .357, and then tell them that hunting season's just begun, and they're the prey. 

I realize that most of my advice above boils down to violently dispatching the locals as a way of winning their respect.  However, if it works for Charles Kuralt, it'll work for you, too.

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