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Creating and Consuming the American South$
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Martyn Bone, Brian Ward, and William A. Link

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060699

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060699.001.0001

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God and the MoonPie

God and the MoonPie

Consumption, Disenchantment, and the Reliably Lost Cause

(p.49) 2 God and the MoonPie
Creating and Consuming the American South

Scott Romine

University Press of Florida

This essay traces a somewhat improbable line of descent from God to the MoonPie as guarantors of something called “southern culture.” The essay opens by observing how a literal act of consumption, eating “southern food,” has become freighted with semiotic significance. Skeptically assessing the rise of “southern foodways” and claims for its centrality to southern culture, Romine develops a contrast between culture in its fundamentalist and its consumerist modes—between culture as a set of default imperatives regulating desire, and as an object in itself desirable (if never fully attainable). The essay argues that what Michael O’Brien calls “the idea of the South” is weakened as it is submitted to a regime of (cultural) consumption and exerts less social and historical force. From God to the MoonPie describes an arc between culture as context to culture as content, positioned in increasingly standardized delivery systems. Describing this arc, Romine complicates narratives that figure commodification and standardization as the loss of culture. He proposes that narratives of southern cultural loss, as articulated by both the right and the left, are equally legible as narratives of cultural detoxification.

Keywords:   Foodways, Religion, Culture, Consumption, Representation

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