08 October 2007

Chicken Snakes . . .

Posted by at 10:49 AM Read our previous post

In keeping with the "Lucifer Effect" theme, here's a fascinating talk I found by John Henry Faulk :

He begins thus:

"I was born and raised out in south Austin, Texas. Travis County, and, when I was about twelve years old, I was playin' in the back yard with a boy named Boots Cooper. And Momma said, 'Johnny, there's a chicken snake out in the henhouse, would you get a hoe and go out there and kill it?' Boots and I went out there at the henhouse, and, the chicken snake - I don't know if you ever saw one in a hen's nest or not, but it swings its head, and it's a frightful looking sight, licking out its tongue and hissin'. Got us right jumpy. We stayed about three whole handle links away from it. [laughter] Even the poor [...] hens were closer to it than we were. And we were challenging each other, 'Go on! Hell, it ain't gonna hurt you. Get up there and get at it!'
Finally Momma came out and said, 'Lord have mercy! Gimme that hoe!', and she took the hoe and knocked the chicken snake's head off with it and then said, 'Goodness, don't you all know that a chicken snake is harmless. A chicken snake won't hurt you!' And Boots Cooper made an observation that has stayed with me a long time; he said, 'Yes, maam, I know a chicken snake won't hurt ya', Miss Faulk, but they can scare ya so bad so's you'll hurt yourself!!!!' "

This is the opening to a speech given on 6th November 1969 at the University of Texas entitled 'What Happens to a Democratic Society When Fear is Rampant'. It was featured recently at the excellent Talking History site. In it he is talking specifically about the strange phenomenon of McCarthy's paranoia movement that had taken place the previous decade, but I can't help but hear echoes of that same paranoia resounding in todays political and social climate.

Download in MP3 format:

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