Snooping out the Snopes

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If you aren’t familiar with the works of William Faulkner, you might be wondering about where the name of the blog originated. Prepare yourselves for enlightenment. The Snopes are a fictional Southern family from Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. They are at the roots of Faulkner’s Snopes trilogy that includes The Hamlet, The Mansion, and The Town.  Faulkner presents these characters that dwell in Frenchmen’s Bend as crafty beyond belief. He begins in The Hamlet by illustrating in a rather ironic way the arrival of Flem Snopes into town. This memorable scapegrace will do anything to make a buck – be it working hard or letting others do the hard work for him. For example, after marrying the grocer’s daughter he then manages to extract a preposterous price for her mansion amidst a fog of rumors about buried gold coins. Each relative, whether closely or minutely related, has his or her own adventure (or misadventure as the case may be) adding up to a boisterous if somewhat chaotic compilation of tales.
Why use this unlikely band of characters as a muse for our blog? Perhaps it is because we wish to emulate their cleverness in order to obtain success. Perhaps it is because of our own motley ensemble of bloggers. Or maybe the title serves as a warning, a reminder not to be taken in by all of our words (though I must admit that they are wise ones) and to disagree with us every now and then.

What are your thoughts?

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2 Responses to Snooping out the Snopes

  1. Lauren Starnes says:

    I always disliked the Snopes family when I encountered them in Faulkner’s, Flags in the Dust or As I Lay Dying, but maybe I was just emphatizing with the main characters who were jealous of the Snopes’s prosperity. If emulating the Snopes family leads to the blog’s success then that is fine by me! Perhaps we can even con some people into commenting on our witty posts!

  2. Tim McAleenan says:

    Starnes, consider me conned. I’m a big fan of the “Snopes Blog.” If you read the masthead that Professor Smith wrote up for Shenandoah, it mentioned that we’re supposed to cause our fair share of mischief. I feel like the Snopes Blog designation is Professor Smith’s way of putting up a neon sign and saying, “Well, here it is.”

    Did anyone else ever laugh the first time they came across the name “Flem Snopes”? In Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan would name characters Christian, Pliant, Obstinate, etc. to convey their characters traits, and what a clever (and more subtle) continuation of that tradition the name Flem Snopes turns out to be. Doesn’t exactly sound like the type of guy you’d leave your wallet and keys in the room with.

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