Item description for Surfing Armageddon: Fishnets, Fascists, and Body Fluids in Florida by George Tabb...
Having moved from the richest suburb in America to a plantation in Florida (which his father dreams of recreating as Tara, the mansion from Gone with the Wind), George Tabb enters late adolescence with a black leather jacket and a penchant for punk rock --- quirks that don't sit well with his conservative Southern classmates. In Surfing Armageddon, Tabb shares his painfully funny recollections of teenage rebellion, family turmoil, and an abusive father with black humor and real humanity.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5" Height: 7.25" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Feb 10, 2006
Publisher Soft Skull Press
ISBN 1932360999 ISBN13 9781932360998
Reviews - What do customers think about Surfing Armageddon: Fishnets, Fascists, and Body Fluids in Florida?
The Truth About Tallahassee Apr 13, 2008
I bought this book after discovering (from a google search) that George Tabb and I share many of the same life experiences - we both attended Leon High School in the late 70's, rode the same school bus (the "Nairobi Express" as George's brother called it), and were both "Rocky Horror" devotees @ the same theater on North Monroe st.
Like George, I also first saw the Ramones live when I was 16(in Atlanta) and later sat transfixed (and alone) through 5 screenings of "Rock and Roll High School" at the Tallahassee Mall and... we both attended the same Ramones show in Gainesville, FL in 1980.
I even wrecked my parents car at the same intersection as he did!
Surfing Armageddon contains so many untruths, distortions, and just plain hogwash that I have to go through them in a list.
1. I assume the sale price of his Fathers house in Greenwich, CT in 1977 was 1.4 million and not 14.1 as printed. 14.1 million for a single family house in Greenwich is high even by 2008's standards and would have been unheard of in 1977. Dunnellen Hall, which is now the most expensive property on the market in Greenwich @125 million (followed by Old Mill Farm @ 39.5), sold in 1976 for 3 million.
2. Tallahassee is within driving distance of, but not part of, the Redneck Riviera as Tabb frequently refers to it. This would be comparable to calling Yonkers "The Hamptons".
3. There were many Jewish students attending Leon High in 1978/79 including members of the football team. There were three synagogues in Tallahassee at that time and the idea that a Jewish kid would have caused such an uproar (or that a group of athletes chanting JEW JEW JEW would force him to pull his pants down to reveal the oddity of a circumcised penis) is preposterous.
And I can personally vouch for the fact that 99% of the boys in the locker room, whether Jewish or not, were circumcised. If anyone stood out it would be the one kid with foreskin!
4. The Killearn section of Tallahassee is a wealthy neighborhood populated by Doctors, Lawyers, Professors and high-ranking State Officials. Tabb's account of encountering barefoot, redneck children spouting off about niggers, jews, and jesus on the sidewalks of this manicured , country club enclave is highly improbable.
Tallahassee is very progressive politically and has voted Democratic in every national election since 1992. Tallahassee was also the first U.S. State Capitol to elect a Black Mayor - James Ford in 1972, 76, and 82 - who was followed by Penny Shaw-Herman (a JEWESS!)
5. Mad Dog contractors are a progressive, green oriented (since 1974), company of (basically) hippies who started a business as an outgrowth of their work with the Miccosukee Land Co-op and are now one of the leading contractors in Leon County. HIPPIES - NOT REDNECKS!
6. Tabb states that 11th grade in Tallahassee is like 6th grade any where else in the country. Because of the presence of three large universities in town, Tallahassee schools have always been top-rated. In fact, in 2006, Leon High was rated 109th in the U.S. by Newsweek Magazine's highly regarded "1000 Best Public High Schools in America" with Tallahassee's 3 other high schools coming in at 115, 153, and 157.
Maybe if he had left Greenwich High (which does not make Newsweek's List) a little earlier he would have learned the history of the Ku Klux Klan and where babies came from before starting college- (we had already covered those subjects in Middle School).
7. I was at Rocky Horror almost every weekend of it's first year's run on N. Monroe st. and never saw anyone who could be called the "Sal Piro" of Tallahassee.
8. I attended FSU so I can only say that his college dorm mate's being involved with the klan and keeping a klan robe in his dorm closet (as well as his racist remarks and violent behavior in the dorm) would have sparked a campus-wide protest and would have certainly resulted in his expulsion had it happened 100 miles away at the other large state university.
I'm just assuming that some of the characters in the book are composites of people Tabb COULD have met in Florida - but I doubt that this really was a student at U of F.
p.s. George - do some homework on the klan - who and what they were in 1980 in central FL. The Southern Law Poverty Center is a great starting place...
Finally, despite everything I've mentioned, and the fact that Tabb stoops to the use of a "Magical Negro" to free him from his conflicted family life in the last chapter of the book, by the end I had developed an affection for this lonely, searching , virgin and actually enjoyed the book.
There's a word for George Tabb Aug 9, 2006
but I don't think this site would allow me to use it in a review.
Surfing Armageddon: A Memoir is a, well, a memoir. It follows young Tabb from Connecticut confines to a re-envisioned Tara in Tallahassee, and ultimately toward salvation at the University of Florida. Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n Roll ensue. Also a job and a car and more than one obsession can be found along the way.
But let me back up a bit.
I've heard most of these stories over the years in some form or other, usually shorter. But it was nice to read them in chronological order, putting some sense to them. Well, maybe not sense but perspective at least...
This book reads more like a novel than his previous effort. I feel that with Surfing Armageddon, George has finally found his voice outside newspaper and magazine essays - and it is as funny and clever as ever.
Whether or not you know, or know of, George, this peek into his life will please most voyeurs.
Personally, I'm looking forward to the third installment, post-virginity to 9/11 and beyond.
GT RULES!!!!! Jul 9, 2006
Like all great writers, you don't have to have read GT's first book "Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows In Greenwich" to "get" his follow up of "Surfing Armageddon: A Memoir". You will, most likely, want to...but it ain't a requirement.
Taking up pretty much where the first book ended, "S.A." is the continued saga of noted punkrock writer/performer George Tabb...a view into the trials and tribulations that helped make him the man he is today. And the title is prophetic as well, as George continues with his personal showdown between good and evil to this very day...but that is a story for another blog.
This a book filled with sex (or the lack thereof), drugs and redemption thru Rock and Roll...those teenaged rites of passage that can either make you or break you.
A rollercoaster of a read, don't be surprised if you find tears of laughter rolling down your face one minute...and those of empathy the next...as GT takes you along for the ride on the inroads of his teen years. You'll meet his siblings...as well as his pals and his adversaries...an abusive father and wicked stepmother...his misaligned mother and stepfather...a brief but unforgetable image of his grandmother Rosie...and includes a roomie whose pater familia is Grand Wizard of the KKK...a cast of characters that you just couldn't make up if you tried.
Be that as it may...it's easy to identify with our young hero, George. Whether you were a geek or a freak...a rich kid or poor...boy OR grrl..."Surfing Armageddon" is a brutely honest mirror reflecting back all the pain and pleasure we hold back inside.
A GREAT read that leaves you wanting more...
The Mother Of All Sequels May 17, 2006
Surfing Armageddon is easily George Tabb's best work so far,and if you've read his columns and last book,you know that's saying alot. It's got everything the reader expects from his stories and more. As George gets older, his style of writing somehow makes you feel like you're getting into your late teens along with him. The stories become more similar to your own experiences i.e. too much masturbating, only caring about losing your virginity, almost dying after smoking a joint laced with enough chemicals to give you the strangest hallucination imaginable, falling in love with the easter bunny at the mall, having a wanna be slave master father who you catch practing cracking the whip in a full white southern suit in the middle of the night, and so on. The book slowly becomes more dramatic towards the end that provides the most shocking and satisfying conclusion that one could ask for.
I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey... May 15, 2006
No one can tell a story like Mr. Tabb. If you've read his first book, Playing Right Field, or any of his MRR columns, you know that.
George's journey through first experiences with sex, drugs, punk rock and Rocky Horror are both hilarious and heart wrenching. The ups, the downs, the good, the bad - George makes it feel like you're experiencing it all right beside him. From his first leather jacket, to losing his virginity and back again... it is impossible to put down. The end leaves you with tears in your eyes, a smile on your face, and an intense curiosity about what happens next. This book, along with Playing Right Field, has skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorite reads, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.