Geek Chic | Bleader

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Geek Chic

Posted By on 07.22.10 at 08:22 AM

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Los_Angeles_Herald_11_19_1905.jpg
Los Angeles Herald, November 19, 1905. Americans in the 19th and early 20th century were nuts about "wild men," which is why circus geeks were a popular attraction: It was like a chance to see Bigfoot in captivity. Everybody knew wild men were out there in the wilderness: Newspapers at this time would report rural sightings of supposed wild men (or women) all the time. They were always described as being "as fleet as a deer," many could jump 15 feet or more in a single bound (!), and they all lived on raw meat of some sort (cattle, snakes, whatever).
Your typical showbiz wild man was probably just a hobo in a fright wig with just enough teeth left to bite the head off a live chicken. But as this story shows, some enterprising carnies were willing to go that extra mile to impress the marks.

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I definitely believe the part about this arrangement "causing considerable discomfort." Doesn't say whether the dental accessories were also causing him trouble, but I suppose the cranial tectonics would have distracted the patient's attention from a mere toothache. (Opiates, in any case, where always freely available at the nearest apothecary.)
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"In the presence of a large number of physicians"—what did I tell you? Americans couldn't get enough of their wild men!

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