Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture

Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture

Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture

Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture

Synopsis

Every year thousands of American citizens are summoned for the important civic duty of serving on a jury. What is their role, why is it a duty, and why is it so important? This unique and highly readable book is addressed to a lay audience. It will be useful for those citizens who have served on juries, for those who will someday be called to serve, and, indeed, for anyone who has an inquisitive mind about a crucial part of our legal system. Author Andrew Guthrie Ferguson alucidly adescribes the history of the jury and explains why juries play such a critical role in the contemporary American asystem of justice. Copies should be placed in the jury assembly rooms of every courthouse. The book can also be a useful supplement for high school civics courses.

Excerpt

If theme parks, with their pasteboard main streets, reek of a
bland, safe, homogenized, whitebread America, the Renais
sance Faire is at the other end of the social spectrum, a whiff of
the occult, a flash of danger and a hint of the erotic. Here, they
let you throw axes. Here are more beer and bosoms than you’ll
find in all of Disney World.

—Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times

“This is our ethnic background!” William Shakespeare tells me, gesturing at a Southern California fairground filled with visitors and workers. Together we study the crowd for a moment. Some sightseers are wearing street clothes in the variety of trends and statements that make up Los Angeles style. Many others, however, are wearing some form of costumery; this “garb,” as it is popularly called, encompasses a range of degree of elaboration and historical reference (velvet cloaks, high leather boots, drawstring money pouches), as well as some fantasy-inspired elements (satyr horns, wings, leather masks). A performing “guild” of Scotsmen in kilts is visible, practicing some kind of formation with pikes in hands. A group of Pilgrims wanders by, sneers etched on their faces, Bibles in hand, and several young women in bodices and skirts pause to flirt outrageously with them, enacting a sort of erotic version of the tradition of trying to make the guards at Buckingham Palace smile.

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