Wednesday, July 19, 2006

American Gods, and Roadside Attractions

I've started reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It's quite good, but not as good as Gaiman's other books that I've read. I haven't finished it, though, so I can't fully judge. One of the concepts in Gaiman's book is gods need to be in spiritual, powerful, mystical places, and the churches and synagogues all across the country aren't good enough. Gods need places that people are inexplicably drawn to, places that people are compelled to visit for no other than reason than that they are there. Gods need... roadside attractions.
Stop and think about roadside attractions - enormous plaster Indians or dinosaurs, world-record pie pans, the Mystery Spot, or a gas station with a petrified snake. People see the sign and think, Hmmm, good for a laugh, I'll stop. And with nothing more to show for it than a couple pictures and the story about the time they stopped to see the the Stonehenge made out of refrigerators, people keep stopping.
I am a big fan of roadside attractions. If I could, I would stop at all of the ones I pass any time I'm on a road trip. As it is, the only places I've been that might qualify are the enormous bronze cross at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, and the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. Both were strange and creepy and awesome. It's been a dream of mine to go to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin and the Corn Palace in North Dakota. There might be some magic there.

American Gods - right now, B, but it could go up
roadside attractions - B+

8 comments:

Shannon said...

I'm reading a whole book right now about British roadside attractions called "B*llocks to Alton Towers". All sorts of pointless monuments and wonders. It's hilarious. Let me know if you want it when I'm done.

equippedtofascinate said...

Amanda, we have to take a road trip before the summer ends. I always want to stop and see things like the Giant Clam and other dumb things I pass, but I never admit it to the people I'm with.

christa said...

first of all... stonehedge made out of refridgeraters? does that exist. second of all... how can the precious moments chapel be creepy? oh, and i always want to stop and see these crazy things but i am not afraid to admit it!

patrick said...

Next time you're out this way, we can drive out to Baker and stand next to the world's tallest thermometer.

Senora Fuerte said...

I've seen the World's Tallest Thermometer. It is, as billed, taller than any thermometer I've seen. I've also been to the dinosaurs that appear in Pee Wee's Big Adventure... though I have not been inside. I've been to Old Faithful Geyser... but not THE Old Faithful, this one is in California. It is just water shooting out of the ground in the middle of a field in Calistoga, California. Someone built a lincoln log fence around it and put up some signs. And we stood and waited, and it blew... and it was awesome!

Chargenda said...

Yes, there is magic at the corn palace.

amandarama said...

Christa, at the PMC, everything everywhere has those Precious Moments eyes. If that's not creepy, I don't know what is.

Erin said...

ooh, Andy is reading this same book! you'll have to discuss it together (yes, I am going back now to read two months' worth of blogs I missed...a first day back to work has to be good for something!)