Saturday, July 16, 2016

I Make Fun of State Quarters: Georgia

I'm going to start by playing the free association game. Let's see some of the terms I come up with when I think of Georgia:

Millions of peaches
Peaches for me
Millions of peaches
Peaches for free

OK, I'm getting a little sidetracked. And the Presidents of the United States of America aren't even from Georgia, they're from Seattle. Let's try this again:

Jimmy Carter
The Walking Dead
Sherman's March to the Sea
Gone With the Wind
Stone Mountain

So when it comes to putting something on the state quarter, what should Georgia go with? There's the Union Army's path of utter destruction through the middle of the state, and the book about the spoiled Southern belle it inspired. And that giant mountain carving of the military officers of an army for a country that no one ever recognized. And the President who was attacked by a rabbit. And TV shows featuring redneck cephalopods and zombies.

Hmm, what could the Peach State possibly choose to be on its

Yeah, it's a peach. Right smack in the middle of the state, as if Roald Dahl's gigantic magically enhanced fruit had crashed down in the Empire State of the South instead of the Empire State Building and squashed millions of people beneath its fuzzy flesh. Or maybe President Frank Underwood stole a bunch of money from FEMA and built a Peachoid that's visible from space.

Peaches have been part of Georgia agriculture for a long time, but didn't become especially prevalent until after slavery was abolished. After everyone whined a bit about the "Lost Cause" and having to pay people to work, they opted for something that could be grown without quite so much manpower. Despite its designation as the Peach State, Georgia is actually fourth in the United States in peach production and recently has transitioned to blueberries as a more prevalent crop. But Georgia is no doubt going to cling to their designation on the argument that their peach varieties taste the best, dagnabbit.

"And our peach sculpture is way uglier than the Peachoid, too!" (Source)

Georgia's state quarter also includes a few other state symbols, but not so many that it makes it seem ridiculously crowded (ahem, Arkansas). There are live oak sprigs on the edges and a banner featuring the state's motto, "Wisdom, Justice, Moderation."

Overall, it's a perfectly functional, perfectly boring state quarter. However, it's unique in that there was a bit of controversy concerning the shape of the state. Some of the initial designs had the state shaped correctly, while others lopped a bit off the upper left corner. Eagle-eyed observers noted that the final design opted to circumcise Georgia, neatly removing Dade County.

This may have been a nod to the county's odd history. Dade was supposedly "sick and tard of Georgia's shillyin' and shallyin'" when the southern states were deciding whether to secede or not, so they opted to secede on their own from both the United States and Georgia. The "Free State of Dade" continued to proclaim its autonomy until World War II made insistence that you weren't part of the country a bit of a bad idea, and the county formally rejoined the U.S. on Independence Day in 1945.

The Dade County website insists that it never went rogue and that it's all a legend, probably because being among the most vociferous proponents of leaving the country to preserve slavery isn't the best legacy to celebrate. There have been suggestions that the quarter's exclusion of Dade County was a simple mistake, with the artist perhaps working off a map that didn't include this section of the state.

Wikipedia includes a section on the "controversy" surrounding the design. I haven't seen much about bruised feelings in the most northwestern section of Georgia over the snub. If they were really offended, maybe they should have thought twice in 1982 before raising the proposal of seceding from Georgia and joining Tennessee.

And Dade County knows what I like in scenery, so I'll leave them be (Source)