Billboards adorn a stretch of road between Myrtle Beach and Florence SC.
OK, maybe “adorn” is too strong: maybe “abut” is better.
Having travelled this stretch of road a few times on our sojourn in Myrtle Beach, I was ready with my camera as we left town at the end of March, homeward bound. I figured that these billboards would make an interesting photo essay.
Actually, I figured that they would make a best-selling sociological study of 21st century America. You know the sort of thing, I’m sure . . .
Signs of the Times:
American Heartland, American Billboards
Unable to convince the Big Guy that this was my chance for fame and fortune, I was also unable to persuade him to add a day or two to our journey to find me safe places to stand along this highway, unabutted by sidewalk or shoulder as it was, so that I could get coffee-table-book quality photos.
No, once again I was reduced to shooting out the car window and to hoping that, one day, curators would see my output as folk photography, its technical deficiencies bestowing an authenticity sadly lacking in so much of the merely superb photography littering the internet.
Boots aside, most of the billboards advertise canned food. Now, you might be wondering whether “canned food” is an oxymoron, and I understand, but let’s just see what’s on offer, shall we, and what it might mean.
Yes You Can!
Encouragement and puns both seem to be essential to marketing here, even when the word play isn’t real clear. As easy as cabbage?
They seem conflicted about boiled peanuts: Do they represent treat, obsession, or danger? I understand completely, and admire their willingness to acknowledge their confusion.
Yams, apparently, are big, especially in syrup.
Cooked leaves are popular, too: mixed greens, turnip greens, and collard greens (regular and low-sodium).
Completely Unacceptable Preferences
They like lima beans.
Honestly, there’s just nothing more to be said: They like lima beans.
I guess that’s it for my famous book. Some cultural commentary evidently requires a cultural insider.