Margaritaville Essay

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Parrothead Margaritaville and Buffett’s Corporitaville: Audience Action and the Negotiation of Culture By John Mihelich Abstract Jimmy Buffett’s entertainment and Parrothead practice reflect contested cultural terrain involving hegemonic incorporation and resistance. I discuss how Buffett-ism incorporates Parrotheads into dominant cultural forms and, through “thick description,” demonstrate that Parrothead practice and Margaritaville imagery produce alternative cultural forms addressing identity, community, and existential concerns. Although the alternative forms are not articulated structural challenges to dominant culture but nonetheless inject alternatives, Parrothead practice constitutes “embedded resistance.” Because alternative forms provide the attraction and promise of popular culture, I articulate the forms Margaritavile imagery offers, grounding the analysis in the ideas of Stuart Hall, Max Weber, and Herbert Gutman. Wasted away again in Margaritaville/Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim there’s a woman to blame/But I know it’s nobody’s fault (Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, 1977) In 1977 Jimmy Buffett's song "Margaritaville," from his album “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” hit the pop music charts. Baby boomers embraced the imagery of Margaritaville, a leisurely sun drenched place where individuals could experience the magic, mystery, and spontaneity absent in the “real” world of their everyday lives. Facilitated by Buffett’s music and imagery, fans fashioned their own understanding and meaning of this constructed paradise through buying Buffett’s albums and cultivating Margaritaville in private parties and the small-scale venues where Buffett played. As fans’ passion for the Margaritaville co-constructed by them and Buffett waned during the early 1980s, Buffett

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