Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Brief Social History of the Bootstrap

As Americans, we are acutely aware of the peculiar power of the bootstrap. These seemingly innocuous objects possess a curious sway over us. The average American, when faced with some manner of hardship, can, with the aid of these, overcome all that obstructs their path and prevents them from achieving their goal. Bootstraps are an essential, if little known to outsiders, part of the patchwork fabric that composes this great nation of ours. An American with a pair of boots and a gun can do incredible things.
Recently, it seems that other countries are catching on to the power of the bootstrap. In Zimbabwe the bootstraps were removed from all boots imported or made in the country. Boots were banned outright in Belarus. In Turkmenistan, Sapuramat Niyazov renamed boots after bread, which he had renamed after his mother. It is debatable whether or not it was this or the tightly censored state-run media apparatus that rendered the bootstraps powerful. In North Korea a group of dissidents were imprisoned for bringing bootstraps across the boarder. No where was the authoritarian fear of bootstraps more evident than in the Soviet Union. It is said that Stalin had nightmares about the bootstrap. In 1977, in a small village in then Soviet Kyrgyzstan, there was an uprising that started when a pair of boots were smuggled into the town. Today there is a large sculpture of a boot in this village, though ironically, the government strips the straps off all boots that are imported.

This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick and Miriam Allred of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, Davey Morrison, and Joseph Schlegel of Sour Mayonnaise. This week's theme: 'Bootstraps'.


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