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Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend

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From Publishers Weekly
This sprightly, if sometimes overblown, study finds the elusive hairy wildman of the Pacific Northwest lurking everywhere. Independent scholar Buhs (The Fire Ant Wars) skeptically but affectionately surveys the evidentiary traces of bigfoot and his yeti and Sasquatch kin in sightings, tracks, sideshow exhibits and film, but his focus is on the megapod as cultural signifier. To the white working-class men who are his biggest fans, Buhs contends, bigfoot is an icon of untamed masculinity, a populist rebel against scientific elites, the last champion of authentic reality against a plastic, image-driven, effeminate consumer society. (Ironically, Buhs notes, bigfoot's career as advertising mascot and tabloid teaser also makes him a touchstone of consumerism.) Buhs's rote application of race-class-gender theory—By imagining themselves into the body of Sasquatch, white working-class men could imagine themselves as black, as women, could come in contact with... repressed and forbidden desires—yields more academic cant than insight; his oft-invoked white proles feel almost as legendary and stereotyped as the creature itself. Buhs is at his amused best when following the exploits of bigfoot's human handlers—the colorful band of true believers, hoaxers and pseudo-documentarists who constructed this greatest of all shaggy-hominid stories. 35 b&w photos. (May)
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From The New Yorker
In 1832, the British Resident in the court of Nepal reported that the natives had spotted a “furred, upright, tailless demon.” In 1989, a Canadian woman and her grandson thought they saw a Sasquatch and joked that they should offer him a beer. Buhs traces the journey between these perceptions of elusive wild men and discovers a story of twentieth-century shifts in American culture and class. Bigfoot was both a product of the postwar ascendance of mass culture and a reaction to it, capturing the imagination of those who longed to “touch the really real behind the false front of consumer goods and scientific arrogance.” The book is most interesting when revisiting men’s adventure magazines and rural “four-waller” movies. It is silliest when asserting that “by imagining themselves into the body of Sasquatch, white working-class men could imagine themselves as black, as women, could come in contact with their own souls.”
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http://www.amazon.com/Bigfoot-Legend-Joshua-Blu-Buhs/dp/0226079791/ref=s...