Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Cheap Shot at Kentuckians?

Edit: I wonder if he was thinking of transcendentalism as a "New England" phenomenon and was surprised somebody in the then "western" state of Kentucky would pay attention to it. If so, it's still a poorly worded sentence in my opinion. 

So I'm reading a book now, a pretty good one about which I had heard a lot of good reports. So far, they are basically proving to be true and I am anxious to continue reading it and seeing what it has to say. It has been both interesting and quite informative to this point, and I am enjoying it. I'm sure I'll post a review of it sometime in the next few weeks.

However on one page, it briefly discussed William Herndon and included the following sentence, which immediately caught my attention, and honestly, even angered me, at least a bit:

"Although born in Kentucky, the short, dapper Herndon read widely and was enamored of transcendentalism." 

Harrumph.

Did the author really just say that Herndon read a lot and had intellectual pursuits "although (he was) born in Kentucky?" Really?

Geez.

I know this is not a big deal and that modern-day Kentucky is not the literacy capital of the world, but, still, that seems harsh, especially for a state that, as far as I can tell, was far more respected and important to the country in Herndon's day - the period to which the quote applied - than today. This was still the state of Henry Clay and John Crittenden, not to mention Vice-President John Breckenridge, after all.

Oh well. That sentence did catch me off-guard. I feel it could and should have been written differently, but I do hope the author did not realize how I (or maybe other Kentuckians) would interpret it. Maybe I just needed something to gripe about tonight, and that line certainly gave me the material I needed.

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