November 19, 2010

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Hello Alabama a One Shot Disaster

Written by Courtney Barbour
Self-Published

Ever decide to do something and later kinda wish maybe you hadn't? Like the time you opted to take a shortcut that ended up being the long way or perhaps just a bit too much Tabasco sauce.

Now think of it in terms of a life-altering decision that places you in an environment in which you are often uncomfortable, but where you need to stay due to other obligations.

It's not a pretty picture, but it's the one Courtney finds herself in, and she tells us about the troubles of being a contemporary fish that's moved into a pond full of those who still think it's the 1950s. It's a scenario that's quite frightening to me personally, as I can't imagine trying to make my way in a world of culturally insensitive people. Courtney's troubles are exactly what I fear about moving to a new area, though I've luckily not encountered this in my recent move. I can easily relate to how she's feeling in this zine.

Perhaps most jarring is an anecdote in "White Out" where Courtney describes being offended by the idea of an Uncle Remus library, which does not seem to bother anyone else at all within her working circle. Later, another situation arises when a group of white students chants "negro" in response to ways to search for information on African Americans. Sure, there are pockets of people like this everywhere, but to face it every day would cause me to either end up in jail or seeking quite a bit of self-medication. That Courtney is able to keep it together, even if she's miserable, is very commendable.

Not even garbage duty is safe here. Apparently, Alabama is resistant to recycling, even in a college town. Despite the values of recycling (we personally are probably close to 40% recycling of our trash), some states don't seem to care about reducing waste. Again, Courtney's experience would drive me mad, as she explains how this sorry (and wasteful) situation plays out.

Hello Alabama is a sobering tale about relocating yourself, and times when that doesn't work out quite how you'd hoped. I hope that Courtney is able to find a way to be happier in her home. This zine is a reminder that being too far out of the mainstream of your community can cause a loneliness that not even having a supportive partner can entirely cure.

You can pick up a copy of this zine at Black Light Diner. Disclosure: I am associated with this distro, given that it's run by my wife!