Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach NEW BOOK EXPLORES THE UNDERBELLY OF POPULAR RESORT TOWN - MYRTLE BEACH
Every year 14 million people visit Myrtle Beach, to play golf, swim and shop. To many, it is the ideal vacation destination, while to others, it's a magnet for crime, litter and monstrous traffic headaches on the 'Redneck Riviera.' To author Will Moredock, Myrtle Beach is an inexplicable dichotomy, and a surprising source for controversy, scandal, and social conflict. His new book Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach, is the first book to lay bare the secret underbelly of Myrtle Beach, and delve into interesting facts about the 'Neon Sandbox,' including:
' How every Memorial Day Weekend brings thousands of young African American bikers to conservative, white Baptist country.
' Why the working class flocks for vacations in an area of low wages and hostility toward organized labor.
' How rampant, unregulated development is destroying the fragile coastal environment responsible for Myrtle Beach's original allure.
' How runaways and vagrants find summers of plentiful jobs, but no affordable housing; and winters offer cheap hotel rates, but few jobs.
' Why it's known as the place where you can come on vacation and leave on probation.
'To me. Myrtle Beach is the ultimate true-American town, warts and all,' says Moredock. 'It's one of the few places in which you can find all facets of America; from traditional, wholesome family vacation scenarios and Southern values, to corruption, scandal, and brash commercialization.' While Las Vegas has exchanged its efforts to attract families to Sin City for a 'good-girls-gone-wild-gone-good' advertising campaign, the Grand Strand fights to regain the image of family resort it lost years ago. In Banana Republic Moredock describes Myrtle Beach as a 'vast emptiness, a spiritual and intellectual vacuum.' Tattoo parlors and strip joints combine with T-shirt stores and cheap restaurants to provide a climate of questionable culture. The transient population includes real estate sharks who never read newspapers, working-class Minnesotans who've never heard of Garrison Keillor, and Canadians who leave their polite ways up north. Moredock explores in detail the many dichotomies of Myrtle Beach, such as how the local ideals of decency and morality, seasoned with fundamentalist Christianity, simmer in a pot of institutionalized bigotry and pervasive corruption. Likewise, the reputation of Myrtle Beach throughout the rest of the nation is equally unique; it is many different things to different people ... all at the same time. 'At any momenta the pendulum of development may swing from tawdry 'Tackyland' to classy 'Golf Capital of the World' and back again,' notes Moredock. 'it will never be the idyllic 'Mayberry-at-the-Beach' it once was. 'Despite exposing the underside of Myrtle Beach, Moredock confirms its place in American culture. 'Myrtle Beach isn't the fountain of youth I had once hoped to find, but it is a splash of therapy at the end of a long week,' says Moredock. 'Even the most reserved and cerebral among us need a little Myrtle Beach, in one form or another. It is nothing to be feared; it is nothing to be ashamed of. The trick is to know when the weekend is over.'
Will Moredock is a native of South Carolina, an award-winning journalist and short story writer. He is the publisher and editor of Points. He currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina.