COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL: A Guide to Tourist Services: Hustling Jamaican Style, How to Speak Jamaican, and The How to be Jamaican Handbook

Emily Gibson

A Pick of the Week from Special Collections of the UM Libraries

By Cory Czajkowski

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This set of recent acquisitions to our collections, which includes A Guide to Tourist Services: Hustling Jamaican Style, How to Speak Jamaican, and The How to be Jamaican Handbook, is a series of handbooks from the 1980s aiming to help the reader acclimate himself or herself to life in Jamaica—BUT they would be most useful to someone in the academic setting who’s studying the use of satire and cultural stereotypes in novelty tourist items printed in the 1980s.

Extensive research on Jamaica has led to the completion of these works, offering practical insight for anyone and everyone who is preparing to interact with the Jamaican culture.

One article in A Guide to Tourist Services: Hustling Jamaican Style, for example, walks a tourist through the potential scenario of being hustled to buy sexual potency medicine (said to be commonly advertised as “health juice”). The following list presents some of the author’s suggested responses:

“I already have 11 children – I don’t need any more.”
“All my wives (husbands) tell me I’m too much for them already.”
“This is my last holiday before I go into the monastery (convent).”
“I’m allergic to all forms of vegetable life.”
“Since I won a gold medal in the Olympics, I decided to slow down a bit.”

Similar uniquely specific scenarios fill the pages of this condensed manual.

The How to be Jamaican Handbook approaches similar subject matter through which the reader is exposed to several Jamaican stereotypes and clichés, including diagrams indicating proper dress for Jamaican locals and accompanying “facts” about the culture.

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Clearly, these guides would be on the packing list for any sensible tourist.

COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL is written by Yvette Yurubi and showcases unique items at Special Collections and the University Archives discovered by librarians and staff members while on the job. They gather monthly for “Show and Tell” to present their top finds. You too can experience these items up close, and access other rare and interesting treasures, by visiting Special Collections and the University Archives, located on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.