What is the importance of Jack Kirby’s analysis of Deliverance and his view that, the South had “nearly died” in the popular imagination?
To a great extent, Kirby's analysis of works like Deliverance brings much credence into how the South is depicted and what agendas are advanced through such depictions. Kirby's assessment that the South "had nearly died" in the popular imagination is a reflection of how stereotyped mainstream media reflected Southern culture. Consider Professor Kirby's analysis to this point:
[The South had become] trapped by clichés of racists, graceful landed gentry, poverty, homespun rural values, stock-car racers and moonshiners.
Dickey's depiction of the South in Deliverance brings this to light. Consider that Dickey shows the South in a light that reflects much of Professor Kirby's point that there is little imagination to a depiction to the South. It becomes fundamentally easier to simply capitulate to the worst of stereotypes that works like Dickey's, intentional or not, advance. When Lewis speaks of the condition in the South regarding law, one sees Professor Kirby's words about the death of imagination highly relevant:
You see any law around here? We're the law.
In this, the idea of how works like Dickey's go far in removing the complexities and nuances of the South become highly meaningful.