Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A meditation on the World's Largest Ball of Twine and the other enormous things that dot the American Landscape:
If size and apparent uselessness can make otherwise ordinary things seem extraordinary, so too does location. America’s largest things are typically found along roadsides within or near small, rural towns. There they become “topographical mascots,” as the critic and poet Susan Stewart once called them, familiar and easy enough to overlook amidst the urban clutter and commotion. In a small town with few attractions and little evident activity, it is much harder to ignore or take for granted a mammoth bagel (Mattoon, IL) or a vast fishing bobber (Pequot Lakes, MN). There such things retain their strangeness; they are highly visible and meant to be reckoned with.
(pic: The much-contested Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas. Photo used under creative commons license)