"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, July 16, 2006

We have photos!

As we travel through the south, one thing that amazes me is how resourceful people can be when they have so very little to work with. A classic case in point is the little town of Transylvania, Louisiana (pop. 743), to which I hereby grant the coveted Toasted Tour 2006 "Making Something Out Of Nothing" award. The name "Transylvania" comes from the latin word for "across the woods". If you recall your American history, The Transylvania Company was formed in the 1770's in an attempt to establish a new fourteenth colony of the same name (modeled after Pennsylvania), by purchasing land from Native Americans in an area which is now part of Kentucky and Tennessee. The most notable proponent and explorer of this territory was one Daniel Boone. Although the effort failed, the name stuck around, and most likely the sharecropper outpost later created by the company known as the Transylvania Project during the time of the Louisiana Purchase is how the town got its name.

However, the name "Transylvania" entered the public's consciousness in a entirely different form in the late 19th century, when Bram Stoker wrote of the ancient area of Romania as being the home of the evil Count Dracula. Ever since, "Transylvania" and "vampires" have existed side-by-side in popular cultural awareness.

So. Here you are in an absolute vacuum of a community in the middle of miles and miles of cotton fields (right), literally nothing but a bend in the road with a few houses, a school, and a general store. But then one day, someone has a brainstorm: our town has the same name as the home of a famous vampire! Hey, let's capitalize on that! Let's say we're the home of the "fighting bats" school mascot, and put it on the side of our water tower!

Wait - here's a better idea! Let's sell a lot of batty merchandise at the general store, and stamp letters with a special "Transylvania" bat postmark!

Hell, maybe we can even entice people from Texas who would otherwise barely blink as they passed through our miniscule town on their way to, say, Memphis, to actually stop at our general store if the female passenger in the vehicle happens to have a slight fascination with a certain fictional bloodsucker! What a great idea!

As long as we're on a roll here, let's try to push some tatty, overpriced, made-in-Taiwan coozies, caps, ash trays, or anything else adorned with a logo that vaguely has something to do with "vampires" or "bats" on these gullible tourists, and make them sorry they ever wasted fifteen minutes of their lives to stop and look at this crap!

Yeah, that's what we'll do!!


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