Mining disaster-themed Halloween attraction bad idea

Miners' Revenge?

via Daily Yonder

An Appalachian amusement park has taken down references to a Halloween attraction with a mining disaster theme called “Miners’ Revenge.” This according to the Daily Yonder. The controversy happened at King’s Dominion in the state of Virginia. As you’d predict, a lot of people who lost family in mining disasters, including some recently, thought the idea of buried miners coming back to life for revenge against customers of a Halloween attraction was in poor taste.

Having worked in comedy, event planning and historical analysis of a mining region, I can dissect this one a little bit more than most.

Mining disasters are never funny. Unlike a lot of things that are also not funny, mining disasters don’t get funny as the decades pass. We can make morbid Abe Lincoln jokes now, but I don’t think we’ll ever get to make mine collapse jokes. I think the reason is because miners had it bad before the thing even happened. There’s something in the chemistry of a joke that might explain this.

There is only one possible exception to the rule. The song “Blood on the Coal” by the fake band “The Folksmen” in the movie “A Mighty Wind” (same guys who are in Spinal Tap, by the by) is the closest thing I’ve ever heard to making a mining disaster funny, and it’s so subtle that it would register as barely half a wink and a quarter nod. I think, though, the reason this is funny is because it’s recorded straight, as a parody of a sincere song about a mining disaster. I think that’s the work-around.


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