Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fair abuse

I'm a bit of a World's Fair buff, partly because for many years I lived near the old fairgrounds of one of the most famous expos, Chicago's Columbian Exposition, which in 1893 blew minds with electricity and dancing girls. But I also was enchanted by the 1982 World's Fair, which took place in my natal city of Knoxville, Tenn. The terra cotta warriors! The giant Rubik's Cube! The jet pack guy! I was 11 that summer.

So I was intrigued to find, in the Complete New Yorker DVDs, a review of the Knoxville fair by E.J. Kahn. Kahn was, in that fussy New Yorker way, unimpressed:
Dinah Shore, a native Tennessean, who served as mistress of ceremonies at the grand opening, drawled, "What you're goin' to see here is goin' to knock the socks off your feet." Well, not quite. This fair is not apt even to loosen your shoelaces.
As near as I can tell, though, Kahn's chief quibble with the Knoxville fair was that it wasn't Expo 67, but what was?

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