witch end of the rope: down home hospitality

Ambiguous marketing or a reluctance to take a stand? ….

Art Chantry (art@artchantry.com):

ok, here’s a question: exactly who is this book cover design supposed to appeal to? exactly which side of the argument is being made? I love design and ad/marketing items that seek to sell simultaneously to both sides of a controversial coin. I’d like to call this brilliant, but it’s much to trivial and simultaneously vile and crass to be “brilliant”. Let’s just call this cover “craven”, shall we?

ps – I love a book with a strong spine design. This is one example where a weak spine design would have been a little too, shall we say, “spineless”?

Art Chantry:when you start to think about these various contexts and read the copy and examine the imagery, it gets terribly confusing as to what is attempted to be conveyed - which is exactly what the marketing dept. desires. so, if you support the KKK, you might buy the book thinking it's supporting your viewpoint. if you detest the KKK, then you might buy it as a scandal reveal. if you want raw violence or 'forbidden' sex, it's in plain evidence. it even has the usual 'xtian' ideals and hero worship as well as a ripping yarn suggested as well. all in all, a superior effort to sell what is likely a totally crappy boring product. i never read the book, so i can't tell you what the content is actually describing. all the better. who needs to read when you have marketing people telling what you want to know, tight? just ask BP,

Art Chantry:selling racial violence as an heroic action adventure. sorta like the teabaggers, right?… like i said, i didn’t read this book. i already know enough about the KKK. so, i was interested in the peculiar cover design.

as a side story, i once had a student in one of my workshops that was jesse helms’ grandnephew (or something like that). for a college project, he decided to use his family name and relation to “infiltrate” a chapter of the KKK down south. the result was that he produced a beautiful hand made ‘book’ about his experience.

during the course of his project, he encountered all sorts of surprises surrounding the group – almost all of them disturbing. like, how mainstream it was and how entire families were members and had been for generations. even little toddler children wore hoods.

he also backed off when some of the members figured out he was not exactly sympathetic to their cause, not exactly who they assumed he was. he actually became afraid for his safety.

i think he was trying to ‘make up’ for the damage his relation had created over the years. a nieve idea that became a fascinating effort.

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