Are freaks freaky?
Contrary to what we discussed in class, I believe that we are interested in freaks not because of fear or nervousness, but rather curiosity. The concept of “freak” makes me think of my first country fair experience: The 2009 Tennessee State Fair. Located in the Nashville fairgrounds, ten minutes from Vandy’s campus, it was nothing like what I expected. Empty, on a large concrete lot, the fair consisted of two dozen trailers, some advertising fair games, others selling fried delicacies (green tomatoes and anything that could be put on a stick), and of course, there were the trailers advertising different “freaks” and odd phenomena. I distinctly remember two trailers, one luring us to “see the smallest woman alive, fitting into the palm of your hand!” and “face the mercy of the terrifying snakewoman!” We did not enter either, coming to the conclusion that the trailers were optical illusions meant to scam us, but nonetheless, I was still intrigued. Curiosity is how fair people make money. The hidden nature of the snakewoman and world’s-smallest-woman within a trailer is enough to make people curious, even though many people know that it’s not real, and a dollar isn’t too much to ask for to credit or discredit the reality of your imagination.
For individuals such as dwarfs, they are spectacles possibly just because they are atypical, interesting. We are curious of how different life is for them as it is for us, and we don’t necessarily do it in a malicious manner. It is the same way why traffic stops during a one-lane traffic accident, because of our natural curiosity to see what has happened. It is why humans have gotten to where we are today. Scientific discovery spurs from scientific curiosity to learn more about the world. “Freaks” don’t really “freak” us out, rather they are a way for us to become more educated and seasoned in our understanding of life.