Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Bluegrass State:
The Three Percenters on Memorial Day, the Year of Our Lord 2020, May John McCain’s Enraged Spirit organize His Beer Drinking Maverick Army of Angels to Swoop Down at Zero Dark Thirty & Help us All before Our Nation’s Commonweal & Human Wealth is Over and It’s Too Late.
ADVICE TO THE READER: please bow your heads in a moment of silence, because right now it appears U.S. Marine Amy McGrath Doesn’t Have a Snowball’s Chance on a Hotter Planet To Triumph Given All Odds, Oligarchies, & all Ostriches with their Heads in the Sand, or elsewhere darker, Across the Bluegrass State. Amen.
By David Hatfield Crockett
“A hillbilly may be defined as any member that comes from the Appalachian region who likes to make moonshine and drink it whenever they please and shoot of firearms at will.”
—Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
“Don’t listen to Governor Beshear, he’s a dumbass”
—sign brandished by Three Percenters, Frankfort, Memorial Day, 2020
“The most important part of a sign is everything that surrounds the sign”
—Ferdinand de Saussure
Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. A crowd assembles at the state capital in Frankfort, Kentucky, including members of an organization called “The Three Percenters.” It is a cheerful affair for some in the ragtag group. My guess is that preparations had been made as if for a tailgating party; treats for the kids, chips & sandwiches and Big Gulp sodas for everyone. Maybe even a few beers if the attendees with pistols & rifles in their pickups & car trunks, or on their person, weren’t from a dry Kentucky country and members of the Church of Christ or Primitive Baptist. Given their strict beliefs on all forms of alcohol, including the beverage made from fermented grapes and rejoiced over at Jesus Christ’s first miracle at The Wedding of Cana, these individuals who’ve read The Book of Daniel do not defile the temple of the bodies, made in God’s image, with that particularly delicious ambrosia known in the New Testament as wine.
At one point a few characters from the assembled group decided to hang a facsimile of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear in effigy. Needless to say, the historical echo nationwide was loud & it quickly rose to a crescendo as onlookers watched these particularly determined protestors, some with AK-47s and AR-15-type assault rifles possibly in their home bunkers, attics, or grain silo survival basements, storm the front porch of the governor’s home, where he lives with his wife and his ten and eleven-year-old children.
Currently, with the Three Percenters still healthy & afoot the upcoming election next week in the Bluegrass will be no sunshine-filled game, especially as the votes are counted, largely because these witty representatives of “liberty,” “justice,” and “physical strength” continue free across the United States and in the Bluegrass and they have a following nationwide. To wit: they keep showing up rallies & infiltrating peaceful protests. These Proud Boys. Tea Party wishy-washys, These Let’s Go To Denny’s & Drink Coffee Then Raise Some Ideological Hell Cro-Magnon Posse Lites, whatever their brand, whatever garage, (whatever grange, that’s French you hooligan lurkers), whatever barn, tree stump, stone or rock under from which you’ve crawled. That’s right. I’m a little peeved under the collar about Mitch McConnell and his Chinese wife. Normally, I’m a gentleman farmer with a tortoise named Timothy whom I occasionally walk on his little leash, but more of that anon.
Now it’s Halloween, 2020 & most all the nation "holds its breath" to see what’s going to happen next Tuesday. By now whatever one’s woebegone news source, all of the Americas and Most all of the World has seen other armed, pumped, camouflaged versions of these men mostly in Southern states & Western states but also in other various north of the Mason-Dixie line manifestations, places like Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
The fact these individuals are generally males seems worth noting. Fox TV & the nation’s bottomless pit of mentally limited shock jocks cannot change certain scientifically measurable facts: these “individuals” tend toward the hirsute, routinely drive pickup trucks, they’re fond of beard-growing competitions & wearing hats stylistically more pragmatic for working in the sun, than for attending The Kentucky Derby.
Yes, indeed, it’s a testosterone-driven phenomenon. Additionally, everybody can see or suspect that Agent Orange is on something at all of his tiny-fist pumping rallies. These Three Percenters and Proud Boys are out there and keep appearing & will continue to appear into the year 2021 and beyond, wherever television cameras might be so they can finally start, making themselves “known” virtually. They will keep showing up in costumes & pickups every where marches and cries for logic, action, and justice take place.
At any rate, we have an election Tuesday. While largely popular in what I’d call a neck-deepwater crimson state, instead of waist-deepwater & fairly reasonable red state, which potentially could swim out of its problems with a corrective election result, Governor Andy Beshear responded immediately with rhetorical calm and a good family man’s moral fury.
What’s that? Are you’re saying deepwater’s not a word? That it’s totally inappropriate to say Kentuckians are in deepwater? Frankly, I do not concur and the phrasing fits Kentucky’s voting population fine & dandy. Right now it’s October 31st, so wake up if you’re still breathing air, have not yet voted, and are living in Kentucky.
Furthermore, for anyone outside of my natal land who is not scared or downright terrified of the re-electing of Mitch McConnell I’ll just say “Boo,” then shame on you, then mind your own small business enterprise. Maybe it’s not the American people or your Kentucky in-state workers you really care for but rather rigged tax laws, accounting shenanigans, & that handy-dandy “bankruptcy” option of which you have been quite fond all along.
Let’s try and understand the state of Kentucky. It’s a puzzler, isn’t it? I was saying just this to a friend in the houseboat moored next to mine here at the Louisville Yacht Club where I’ve hunkered down with a few swell folks: two undergraduate foreign language teachers from Bellarmine, nine lawyers who are all living together in a gawdy yacht, four Methodist preachers and a frightened Honduran from a tree removal service, along with the COO of Papa John’s who comes to drink with us on Thursday evenings to escape and relax, which is another fascinating true tale which we’ll return to with time permitting. Also, one Trappist monk from “The Abbey of Gethsemane” where Thomas Merton wrote his masterful “The Rain and the Rhinoceros.”
Anyhow, the other day we were all chatting & I was explaining how back in the 1980s this young, handsome lawyer took a gentleman named Robert Bork to school on national television & fixed his little red wagon. Mostly, this bright lawyer did this because Judge Robert Bork was known in educated circles for saying and writing down horse-hockey such as this: “Truth is what the majority thinks it is at any given moment precisely because the majority is permitted to govern and to redefine its values constantly.
To which that young lawyer back in the 1980s, who is now currently called Vice-President Joe Biden, said, “I do not agree.” However, in his head, which is a good one, hopefully our future President Biden, that day still in the history books, said very quietly (sotto voce, for you Proud Boys who speak Italian & enjoy opera) along with the spirit of Edmund Burke, who is probably guzzling a lot better beer in heaven right now, instead of that RNC swill called Coors, and laughing his ass off looking at current South Carolina polling numbers—and thought quickly:
“However, to form
a free government,
that is, to temper
together these opposite
elements of liberty & restraint
in once consistent work,
Hampered by racial violence and charges that local administrators of many of the war on Poverty programs abused their offices for their own political and economic gain, President Johnson ordered the commission to expose the weaknesses and shortcoming in this Great Society Programs. Among other responsibilities, the commission had to investigate everything from farm labor to cultural opportunities for rural families & the impact of these factors on migration from rural America to urban centers.
—Thomas Kiffmeyer Reformers to Radicals: Appalachian Volunteers & the War on Poverty
What do you really know about Kentucky? A whole lot? More with time since you’ve been following issues & the upcoming election? Zilch? Not a blessed thing? Since only a week remains, why not take a fleeting interest in the Bluegrass state?
Perhaps you have studied a map & observed the geographical basics? Hard for you to look at my home state without judging isn’t it? Appalachia. Those funny folks without good schooling. Been thinking about how lucky you were to attend college, considering the cost of your braces alone perhaps, back whenever you were a teenager attending private school?
Naturally, I’m just guessing but since I’m assuming that you’re a political junkie, just like me, ever since I cast a vote for John Anderson in 1980. Still, do me a favor okay? Do remember those braces & all the nutritious food that when down the little red lane & your well-educated throat while you were growing up: fresh salmon, organic fruits and veggies from Whole Foods replete with phytonutrients?
Well, these foodstuffs pretty much guarantee that you’ll never have rickets, so whenever you talk about an uneducated electorate, or make jokes about my home state, or want to start chuckling at Appalachia’s so-called inbred idiots & hollers & moonshine, well just go back to the drawing board and your Ivy League club for a cocktail.
While you’re sipping on it savor this tidbit, which is that my daughter’s mother has a PhD in astrophysics and she was a straight “A” student who grew up in Salyersville, Kentucky, which is not that far from the heart of coal country.
Yessir & yes ma’am, that’s near Magoffin County, Kentucky, the same speck on the globe as publisher, gun-violence victim, moral sunshine specialist Larry Flint. Say what you like, the man is a deconstructer of the trickle-down-your-leg Chicago School economic theory of toothy but very boring Ronald Regan, just ask his first wife. Yes, Ronald Reagan was a boring husband. Go figure. That’s what happens when you’ve read Ayn Rand and not a single word of Plato’s Republic, have never heard of France’s E.N.A. training, and aren’t very interested in other people’s bootstrap-less condition, and have been handsome all your life, with good teeth, and a smidge of charm.
At this point, I’ll just hazard a guess—Hazard, Kentucky is a real place—and say that when it comes to their jobs, paychecks, & sources of health insurance, many of Kentucky’s citizens feel confused, bifurcated, split in two because of all the disinformation, lies, fibs, and taunts. Of course, the military still trains troops & houses a few of its finest crack units at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne and also where my buddy Armando with a plate in his head trained, and also Jimi Hendrix before he hurt his ankle training and practicing to be a paratrooper. Thank goodness he went into other vocational opportunities & playing his guitar nonstop while in that “warehouse of strangers” in Kentucky. By the way, John Prine served, too.
Ah, the Bluegrass state’s cool side and its aficionados and natives. That’s what you’re thinking about now, right? Always ahead of me aren’t you? George Clooney, Johnny Depp, and Lily Tomlin. The Everly Bros? Boy oh boy, you’re learning & really have your nose to the grindstone now. Furthermore, hospitals and science exist in Kentucky! Aren’t you thrilled! Many of the people in my hometown work at factories and plants like Union Carbide, Pillsbury, B.F. Goodrich, and Air Products.
The PGDP Plant located in McCracken Country made enriched uranium, which transformed Paducah into what some people called “the Atomic City” from 1952 to 2013 and for virtually one entire decade was the USA’s only operating enrichment facility.
Backwoods stuff, right? Not exactly a muzzleloader factory, huh? We’ll get to Daniel Boone & his self-sufficient woodman macho schtick in a jiffy. Would you please lower your voice and be patient? Certain matters matter. So, hold your horses.
“We have a tremendous geographical advantage that makes Louisville almost the distribution center of the United States, and this is perhaps the main reason why UPS located the Worldport here.”
—Kevin Gue, referring to the UPS Worldport, Louisville International Airport
Manufacturing is king in Kentucky and don’t you forget it. It’s not coal. It’s not horses, bourbon, pretty horses or fast women like Zelda Fitzgerald & vice versa. It’s making things. Making modern machines. That perhaps is precisely what’s had you so flummoxed and absolutely confused all along about Mitch McConnell now isn’t it?
Go ahead & say up front that you were entirely lost. Step up the plate, New York Times & Guardian readers & watchers of Portlandia and you punk rock listeners, too. Shucks, you might have listened to rock and roll in college like me too for all I know. Sweet Jesus & sweet tea with lemon! So you still want to understand Kentucky?
We’ve hardly started and your mind-blown already and panting for mercy and left in the dust. That one single fact. That’s not what you thought or believed when you woke up this morning, right? UPS. Yumm Brands. Toyota. Papa John Pizza. UPS.
Are you following? This means if you live East or if you even live West of the Old Man, mostly likely hard-working black & white & Hispanic essential Kentuckian workers at UPS might have brought you your organic groceries, all your COVID-19 survival kits & masks & supplies.
Constructing things using machines & hiring people to run the machines that make the new machines is currently and will enduringly & most likely be the leading industry in Kentucky. Relax. We’ll get to Eastern Kentucky directly. BTW, that’s American and saying “directly” is clear & accurate diction, fine regional slang, you weird talking Bostonian stuck-up schmucks. That’s right, I’m especially talking to you, too, Ben Affleck, oh my goodness, what a classy lovely woman you had there for a while.
Suffice to say, there is not and there will never for Appalachia in the future exist anything remotely like Louisville’s UPS Worldport, not ever in another million geographical years. Yet there’s plenty of Time in that part of the world and who knows what all kind of good ideas those homo sapiens might come up with given a little micro-loan seed money, which will be donated any day now by all the panelists on Shark Tank, who I’m sure are eager to share their entrepreneurial love & savoir-faire in the region.
Seriously, my home state residents could use a hand, and the difficulty lies not so much in “developing new ideas,” as John Maynard Keynes points out, “but in escaping from old ones.” Also, let me cut to the chase & add that the 2020 economic markets can remain irrational longer than the needy human beings in Kentucky can remain solvent & if this amoral tyrant is reelected more people will die in all our nation’s more impoverished areas.
Perhaps a few Geographical ABC’s are in order? This seems prudent in case AOC does decide to drive her automobile down—eschewing uppity jet travel—when she comes to help stump and actually lend a helping hand to Amy McGrath, thereby making a real serious effort to defeat Mitch McConnell.
She could visit my home state’s migrant worker fields or the peach orchards in Livingston County, which would potentially boost the Hispanic in-state vote, but I mostly want for her to come so she herself can help Bernie Sanders robotized-voters to exit their mind-funk. She’s super healthy, young and able, full of ideas about Kentucky and all itching to take a trip.
Now that we’ve covered that little problem, we may continue focused again, smiling with understanding, whistling a tune, & hand-in-hand once more. Let’s agree, however, that, generally speaking, most people outside of its borders, unless it’s Kentucky Derby Week and they’ve spent one or two thousand dollars at a milliners, do not know or care that there are three regions in the Bluegrass state. Now let’s return to our afternoon’s tutorial and entertainment and let you get back to your map.
First, there’s Western Kentucky—aka the “Jackson Purchase”—which includes my family’s now subdivided Hereford cattle farm and hometown located off I-24, near Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. These are two huge TVA lakes create a pleasant water scene for local sailing, waterskiing, bass and crappie fishermen, then the lake’s dammed water outflow makes its way to the Ohio River, which forms the state’s northern border, and this same Ohio River is where Jim tells Huckleberry that he’s heading to rejoin his wife and kids.
Second, there’s Central Kentucky’s big economic engines of Louisville and Lexington, then mid-sized towns like Owensboro and Bowling Green, then the bustling small towns and villages like Danville, and Scottsboro, home of Dollar General.
Third and finally, there’s the greener world of a billion trees and at times beautiful but poverty-plagued for centuries Eastern part of Kentucky, with its woebegone coal country in a region that, yes, you are correct, is sometimes known as “Appalachia.”
Of course, this triadic division above is a simplification, but still it’s a way to begin this 21st-century cultural primer about a unique and different place with folkways and habits and crafting skills in addition to the age-old Art of Making Do With Little or Nothing, like whittling, bluegrass music, doll making, quilting, and so forth.
The whole history of American captivity is the attempt to correct a syntax of Indian-with conversation in which the imperative mode is supposed to operate in only one direction. What make the white settlers’ experiences in Kentucky who were captured unique is that adoption of captives was the main mode of behavior and central to Shawnee society—they tolerated and were intrigued by difference and Otherness.
—David Sewell, historian
Myths, Legends, & Histories, where to start? Tradition matters. Right? Okay, let’s dive into it. Wilderness frontier hero Mr. Daniel Boone wore coonskin caps, shot a muzzleloader, and quite preposterously killed him a bear when he was only three. Spare me & bless your soul. All that I can say is bless your soul. That is, if you’re cursed to know how the rest of how this song was occasionally sung, and you wish to continue with a song in your heart about our nation’s racist past history. Lost lives, night riders, strange fruit. Nothing funny about that.
Did I mention that Daniel Boone wasn’t a Kentuckian by birth since the state didn’t even exist until 1792? Several years passed after his first failure & ass-kicking by a group of Shawnee Indians who met this toad-colored gentlemen at the border of their land when he was a tenderfoot immigrant.
That’s right. In the beginning before his election in later years to the Virginia State Capital, where off & on even today a few legislators try to be acknowledged poets & vice versa, Daniel Boone experienced an EDUCATION and had to hightail-it back across over the Cumberland Gap.
Apparently, Daniel Boone had adopted two nicknames, and believe it or not one of these nicknames “Sheltowee” or “Big Turtle.” Schoolteacher John Filson came to the great state in 1873 and his book entitled Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky sold like hotcakes and transformed both its author and Daniel Boone to the extent to he became a media star, don’t you know it, and internationally famous even in his own lifetime, so even Lord Byron mentions him in his epic poem Don Juan.
Well, like I was saying, Mr. Boone survived and was able somehow not to inspire or have the Shawnee take his life when they encountered him. However, the schoolteacher and author John Filson was not so well-placed since later following his book’s publication and success he was killed and scalped while surveying.
Daniel Boone’s mythic status has grown wildly & inaccurately out of proportion, many of its mas’ macho que las macho contours enduring now for two hundred and fifty years.
After his initial failure—Daniel Boone was captured, not hero stuff, of course, not anyway to our Drum-Majorette-in-Chief if you happen to have glimpsed Trump’s private school snapshots—our wilderness he-man provisioned a few stalwart others and their wives and horses and mules. Once sufficiently rested, then off he went again toward the Kentucky border and set about setting up plats and making a lot of gold coin. All the businessman & congressman stuff came later.
First, those Shawnee Nation’s young braves sent him scampering across the border. Then guess what? Some others caught him and hog-tied him up once more. But it was necessary, insofar as Mr. Boone was very big man. Additionally, he had probably been brandishing “his best friend,” perhaps even pointing its muzzle straight at their chests where their hearts resided. However, he was indeed Daniel Boone and he had not tarried but journeyed day and night back to cross the Cumberland Gap to eventually found the settlement known as Boonesboro, which was a little like White Water, but not exactly because it made money for its investors.
Anyhow, the facts suggest that the Shawnee really kind of respected something about Daniel Boone and there are good reasons. There’s little doubt that he was skilled as a hunter and woodsman and orienteer. Personally, I’m more interested that he took the issue of communicating with the Shawnee quite seriously. Maybe he knew its advantages were myriad and unknown. Maybe knowing a bit of their language could help everyone? Maybe it would be best to “shake hands across the aisle?” Long story short, Mr. Boone was “adopted” and “assimilated. In his very fine book From the Fallen Tree, Thomas Hallock gives us a bit more historical detail:
“A war party captured him in 1778. After running the gauntlet, Boone was taken into the tribe. His scalp was plucked; his skin scrubbed, the leader Blackfish named the stocky Boone Sheltowee” meaning “Big Turtle.” The group assimilated the backwoodsman to the extent that he could engineer his own escape. But when the Shawnee agreed to join an English siege against the fort, Sheltowee told his captors that he was going for a hunt then disappeared toward the town, not without having established ties, however, to his second family.”
Choosing this precise moment to be the man he’d become, Daniel Boone went to help the other imperiled families at the Boonesboro fort and encampment. And the Shawnee attack was vicious. The subsequent siege lasted eleven days! Imagine & film it in your head. Eleven long days.
Those must have nice sunsets.
Then twilight and onyx-dark nights among a billion trees.
Torches & candles made from animal lard.
Then dressing of wounds, rushed meals, burying the dead, long restless nights tossing & turning, and sleeping in shifts.
Finally, when the Shawnee agreed to attempt a negotiation and the Booneboro gates were opened, it was Daniel Boone who translated. He was capable, attentive, helpful and reasonable and took seriously the tribe and his temporary “second” family’s demands.
Colonial Americanist Tom Hallock tells us that one other historian even claims that Daniel Boone received his adopted father Blackfish by hugging him with great respect, and whether it happened exactly that way, as Hallock carefully points out & assiduously observes, becomes the fodder with which careful historians wrestle. All the historians agree on one rather amazing fact which is that Mr. Daniel Boone got flack from the other white males in Boonesboro for being communicative, empathetic and dialectical. We know this because later on, all the white men court-marshaled him.
Surprised? Come now. Surely not. By now, don’t we know what all can happen when a “crowd” gets together? Almost anything, as Mark Twain once explained via the character of Colonel Sherburn, who single-handledly stops “a party down at the square” in a pretty good book I read in tenth grade for the first time:
The idea of you. It’s amusing. Because you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man's safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it's daytime and you're not behind him.
Anyhow, tobacco was the inhalant choice of the day. Mr. Boone and others sought good farming terrain: land, land, land. Just like Scarlett’s O’Hara’s father explained to her in Gone with the Wind andeconomically, Kentucky was on its way.
All issues are women’s issues.
—Martha Layne aka “Landslide” Collins
Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor 1983-1989
I will refer back to Senator Mike Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
—Sarah Palin, on The Affordable Care Act, Aug. 7, 2009
Overall, Kentucky ranks 45th in education, however problematically these statistics are determined, and it is the 5th poorest state in America per capita. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018 the national poverty rate was 11.8% percent and not having enough of what they needed affected 38.1 million Americans.
Here are the top ten most impoverished places to live in the USA, not counting hurricane-smashed Puerto Rico, whose inhabitants are notorious whiners and hoarders of paper towels, or so I’ve heard on my AM radio one time: Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, District of Colombia, Oklahoma. Oh yeah, next is Senator Lindsey Graham’s South Carolina.
So here we find ourselves, tossing and turning in the final week of election year and October 2020, like the woebegone & worried yet better weaponized Shawnee, worrying about the ongoing antics of Mitch “Big Turtle” McConnell. How could such a thing come to pass in the USA? How humiliating and unfathomable. Frankly it’s like what one of the erudite Three Percenters might themselves call one great big Giambattista Viconian gyre. Back to next week’s election & contemporary Covid-19 in a minute.
First ladies & gentlemen, please join me in a ritual and sincere benediction, as all the ancestors of the Chickasaw, Osage, Miami, Yuchi, Quapaw, the dominant Shawnee, and the woebegone Cherokee “RISE UP” who are still mourning & missing their often shared hunting grounds—later named “Kentucke” by John Filson before he went topless to his grave—and start sending their energy and spirit-strength to all Kentucky voters all this week & weekend and into next Tuesday.
Frankly, all of the Bluegrass state’s going to need a good anointing, and I’m not sure even the Episcopalians are up to the task. Let’s try everything N.O.W. all at once.
As they head to the free throw lines this coming & stress-filled weekend at university gymnasiums across the state of Kentucky, in a totally brilliant marketing campaign to help motivate the state Democrats and True Blue UK roundball devotees —led by badass President Obama, who you can elbow & bloody in the face in a pickup game & he won’t whine—may Notre Dame’s first female soccer team captain & roundball fans Amy McGrath & Charles Booker, who will slap Rand Paul in the next senatorial race, lead all congregants with the following:
Finally, our nation’s souls
Have all come together
You are of the Deer clan.
Your name is Ayasta.
I am of the Wolf Clan.
Your body, I take it, I eat it.
O Ancient One, we have become as one.
We shall never let it go!
Yu! Ha! Now two souls have come together
You are of the Deer clan.
Your name is Ayasta.
I am of the Wolf Clan.
Your spittle, I take it, I eat it.
O Ancient One, we have become as one.
Yu! Ha! Now two souls have come together
You are of the Deer clan.
Your name is Ayasta.
I am of the Wolf Clan.
Your heart, I take it, I eat it.
O Ancient One, we have become as one.
We shall never stop or tire or be tardy.
It’s time, It’s time, It’s time,
It’s time for Big Turtle Mitch to go!
One more thing, before we mosey on hand-in-hand. My blue-collar friends in Midway, Kentucky tells me that the very best jobs at Toyota pickup factory and other factories are consistent and dependable; these assembly plants make up 18% of the state’s GDP and the manufacturing industry that employs about 15% of the population. This shift and change is currently ongoing, but lean in closer.
Males and not females have these better-paying jobs and they make good money, averaging $44,000 annually. Once again, over three times as many men compared to women are employed in these sectors and have consistent, reliable, good-paying jobs in the state of Kentucky. That’s a glaring fact with subtle cultural origins & not-so-subtle real-life consequences.
1a: any of various usually black or red edible berries that are aggregate fruits consisting of numerous small drupes on a fleshy receptacle and that are usually rounder and smaller than the closely related blackberries
1b: a perennial plant (genus Rubus) of the rose family that bears raspberries
2a & 2b & 2c [short for raspberry tart, rhyming slang for fart] : a sound of contempt made by protruding the tongue between the lips and expelling air forcibly to produce a vibration; broadly : an very strong expression of disapproval or contempt
The Raspberry Statement, which this expatiation & expiation was originally called, is a reference so subtle it is almost deliberately lost, a nod to a movie of similar provenance from those faraway days of America’s Almost-Second Revolution, and, of course, a registering of disapproval of the current state of affairs. That latter series of sounds (2a & 2b & 2c) was for ANYONE still currently breathing air through their nose in Kentucky, who is not a small businessman, by which I mean under two-and-one-half-foot tall, who votes for Mitch McConnell.
Also, there still exists a website for the “Three-Percenter” organization, those cool-cat zeitgeist surfers who decided to show absolutely zero respect for either Governor Andy Beshear or his entire family. Find the website yourself, which blabbers something about the three percent of colonists who took up arms and by opposing ended British rule, which is, in fact, untrue, but explore it for yourself. You will undoubtedly find it’s just as boring as Ronald Reagan at his repetitive & most meretricious Chicago School of Economic supply-side worst. Talk about an economic theory that ought to be hung in effigy! Or pulled down on the ground level by its own cashmere bootstraps!
Currently, somewhat different versions of who ALL was in the Three Percenters crowd last Memorial Day abound. As to what any pressing journalist has to say about the sign hanger and perpetrator, Terry Bush, not very much detail has appeared in the press.
My best guess is that Terry Bush is a male narcissist just like Trump’s a male narcissist, and, most importantly and more accurately, I believe that he just really wanted to be on television. One imagines his morning routine and did he rush his breakfast and get the most of all its nutritious value. Did he have a bowl of Corn Flakes? Bacon & scrambled eggs? With biscuits and gravy?
Oh, my goodness, I wish that I could go back in Time and treat you to my great Aunt Bessie Cannon’s biscuits and gravy and then go crappie fishing with my great Uncle Paul at Barkley Lake at dawn. Did he eat cheeseburgers instead, choosing most likely to feast like the Presidential Burger King himself? Did he comb or brush his hair? Did he hesitate as he assembled his costume? Did he think about Governor Beshear’s responsibilities, hard work, good will and family for one single second?
Check out the Three Percenters website. Make your own conclusions. While I respect anyone who craves and wants and works for freedom, either for themselves or for others, I think there’s a whole mess of double-speak and contradictory values here, along with a peek at a Liberty University online website “How to Make Whatever You Do Sound Politically Correct 1101: An Introduction”—then it's all tossed together in a garbage pail & stirred around with a broomstick handle or a manure rake.
What do you think? Judge for yourself. Read through the wobbles of the logic on this site, the bait & switches, judge for yourself, and don’t miss the section entitled “Our Three Principles.” Note, as well, that the 3% notion also includes a friendly greeting and hand gesture. Critics call it a gang sign.
The Southern Poverty Law Center does not concur.
They have designated them officially as an armed militia.
“O, Rose Thou Art Sick”
Land & Guns & only one God. Fine & dandy. Okay. But what’s His name? Excuse me, I spoke without thinking. Could you please write down all the names of the Christian God you workshop? Yes, I’m talking to you Mr. & Mrs. Kentucky Undecided Voter! How did you know it was your turn at the plate? Ready set go.
See the quandary? Stuck already? Maybe indeed it’s time for some anti-hubris medicine and Godhead expertise? After all, there’s less than three days left and so much to clarify. By the way, my Rhodesian ridgeback and I are both wearing “thunder shirts” for the Election 2020 here on the houseboat, and I’m thinking of getting one for my tortoise Timothy, as well. He’s such a cutie-pie and my turtle’s named after Gilbert White’s. But I wish I had an “echo park” and a “ha ha” as you probably realize.
Okay, maybe it is religion after all. Perhaps I was wrong about machines and men and manufacturing being the most important to Kentuckians. Ideally, I could have gone to Kentucky, nosed around, done some interviews, use my I-phone and let a few dozen people speak for themselves— because that’s not really very “Kentuckian” in the traditional way we think about the place, which is what I’m trying to dismantle, complicate, and explode.
However, President Obama was correct about religion and firearms. Take a gander or a goose at the Three Percenter’s website. Good stuff. Yes, indeed, you’re 100% correct. Now that you’ve chosen to broach the topic, I agree that “fundamentalism” and “literalism” and strict “theism” can a problem in Kentucky & Kansas & even Minnesota, but I would not worry about or mock the really faithful and consistent Christians who live in state, like my mother, my Uncle Paul, two grandmothers and tens of thousands of others.
Mosques and synagogues exist in my home state. OMG, I just checked, sure enough, there is indeed a Baha’i Center in Louisville located on Bardstown Road.
There was also a mystic and Vietnam-protesting Trappist priest, Thomas Merton, who wrote that “rain” essay about “rhinoceros” aka, Army tanks, mentioned earlier, and who lived in Kentucky for most of his life at Gethsemane Abbey. He was either electrocuted, or killed by the CIA, or perhaps both, while visiting Thailand and being compassionate and ecumenical about those poor Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire.
So, you see? Kentucky’s unpredictable from the outside, multi-layered, complicated. Maybe on some issues its people are totally as ignorant as your state’s voting inhabitants who skipped all their high school classes and still think it’s hilarious.
By the way, there are good colleges in Kentucky. Berea College, Bellarmine, WKU, UK, Transylvania University, the “Tudor of the West” & first medical school of the western frontier, University of Louisville, Centre College and so forth.
Say, that reminds me, how after leaving Princeton’s posh and private dining halls, F. Scott Fitzgerald got stationed near Louisville, Kentucky as a young Army officer at Camp Zachary Taylor in 1918. His pretty good novel written in 1924 even tells us how Louisville was super-cool & trendy in the Roaring Twenties, but readers miss the reference since the novel’s author changed the name of the hotel.
Jay Gatsby’s lost love Daisy first meets her bruiser of a husband to the “Muhlbach Hotel” for reasons of allegory or blurring. It’s really the Seelbach Hotel and it’s really a gem. This hotel’s concierge is also a pleasure reader, an amateur historian who tells us: “On weekend passes, Fitzgerald would visit the Seelbach, like so many other soldiers.”
It was during one of his visits that, after an evening of bourbon & expensive cigars, he had to be restrained and kicked out. He’d not met the extraordinary woman of his life yet. At any rate, Fitzgerald’s fondness of strong alcohol and getting more than comfortably numb seems to have taken place frequently in the Seelbach Hotel. Back in the day, it had a catacomb-like Rathskeller, or Bavarian-style beer hall used sort of as a USO location. Soon after these excursions, he met his match in Zelda who also liked to cheer the inner man, as shown from the following note from her high school journal:
I ride boys’ motorcycles, chew gum, smoke in public, dance cheek to cheek, drink corn liquor and gin. I was the first to bob my hair and I sneak out at midnight to swim in the moonlight with boys at Catoma Creek and then show up at breakfast as though nothing had happened.
The National Quilt Museum is a destination for quilters and art enthusiasts worldwide. Annually the museum receives visitors from all 50 US states and over 45 foreign countries from every continent. The museum's in-facility and traveling exhibits are viewed by over 110,000 people per year. In addition, over 6,000 youth and adults participate in museum youth and adult educational opportunities on an annual basis. Located in a 27,000 square foot facility, the museum's three galleries feature exhibits of the finest quilt and fiber art in the world. The museum features three exhibit galleries. The museum's vibrant and breathtaking exhibits are rotated 8-10 times per year. The primary gallery features quilts from the museum's collection which includes over 600 works of art. Quilters from all over the world attend the museum’s educational programs aught by master quilters. The museum’s youth education programs are attended by over 6,000 young people of all ages.
—from The National Quilt museum website
My mother used to live in Paducah and she loved it.
—Marilyn Nelson Fields of Praise, Magnificat, & Carver: A Life in Poems
Practice every time you get a chance. I’m a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice, and I was determined to carve out a music of my own. I didn’t want to copy anybody. Country music belongs to America and Americans.
—Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass Music
Culturally speaking, the state of Kentucky is just as rich & diverse & unpredictable in its myriad artistic manifestations as yours, maybe richer. Hummm, let’s see? Do you have a poet from your home state who has won the Pulitzer Prize? How about the Pulitzer Prize in both poetry and fiction? Take your time. Ask Siri.
Why? Haven’t we been through this already. Most likely you do not know what I’m about to divulge. Siri might know because most likely you do not know still. It will only take a jiffy, so go ahead and check, while we’re working through that they must “all be hillbillies and toothless idiots down there” impression if you happen to be from Orange County, California, Mar a Lago, Florida, Saint Petersburg, Russia—or even Paris, France.
Why, of course, I agree with you 100% that the word “snob” means different things to those with mink stoles in their closets versus those with one thousand books. Settle down, I said, you’re right. Please lower your voice, okay? The word “snob” absolutely does mean different things to different folks.
Which brings me to quilts, Senator Orin Hatch, Mittens Romney, and Senator Rand Paul, once again, that weasel, and his fairly recent turtleneck appearance in front of grown women with educations on “The View” who let horse-hockey spill out if his cutie-pie, silver-spoon-fed slap me again please but harder mouth.
Indeed, for those who cogitate, it appears that the problem of man-made evil and Lord Pococurante-like, caudillo style politicians hasn’t changed since four hundred years of chattel slavery, Mr. Vandendurer’s cruelties, and selling sugar by the gram for powdered-wig jackasses in European capital’s best pharmacies. By the gram! Just like it ought to be dealt with, ever since Cotton Mather, Gottfried Leibniz, Emily Dickinson and others wrestled with the devil over the same questions of man-made & Moral Evil.
Or cutting to the steeplechase, how could a man like Donald J. Trump ever possibly have pulled the wool over a whole watching nation’s eyes? How to express the idea & our quandary in legalese and moral metaphysics: Give Me That Ole Time Religion versus Give Me More, More, More!!!
Take a side on November 3rd, 2020. Please cast a vote for professionalism. Cast your vote for training, and a focused, experienced skillset in Joseph Biden and let’s allow this good guy & his Energizer bunny heart full of warmth take the reins. Hey, did you see that photo online of the big bully galoot in Salt Lake City who took out a compound bow and put an arrow in it and cocked it back then actually pointed it at the protesters? That sure didn’t work out very well for him at all.
Oh, I almost forgot, I have yet another VP surprise! He’s from my hometown. Yes, a little hamlet toward the western part of the state, where there used to be buffalo and saber tooth tigers. Alben Barkley hailed from the Jackson Purchase, back when more of the fields were still planted with lots of more sot weed as they called it, than today’s industrial great & big soybean and great & big corn operations. They named a whole lake and TVA dam after him and that government project brought tens of thousands of job and electricity to dark homes with books in them that could be read at night. Alben Barkley. Now you know his name and that he lived & worked in my hometown of Paducah then served under Harry Truman as the 35th vice-president throughout the Korean War.
We seek to preserve peace by fighting a war? Or to advance freedom by subsidizing dictatorships, or to 'win the hearts and minds of the people' by poisoning their crops and burning their villages and confining them in concentration camps? We seek to uphold the 'truth' of our cause with lies, or to answer conscientious dissent with threats and slurs and intimidations. . . I have come to the realization that I can no longer imagine a war that I would believe to be either useful or necessary. I would be against any war.
---Wendell Berry, February 10, 1968
on the Vietnam War & draft, University of Kentucky campus
“The period following war has been characterized by overproduction in agriculture, wild swings in the agricultural business cycle., and an acceleration of the tendency toward concentration as farm laborers, sharecroppers, and farmers with the least capital to back them up are the first to bite the dust and seek urban employment.
—Jan Flora & Richard D. Rode Feld
Change in Rural America: Causes, Consequences, and Alternatives
Did I mention that there were a few military installments in Kentucky? I thought so. Hillbillies. Good folks come from all over the country to train in the Bluegrass state, and I betcha if you visited downtown Portland or saw a Keep Louisville weird block party, you’d think twice again about a priori thinking when it comes to my home state.
Go back to your Jean Paul Sartre 101 or your Simone de Beauvoir, my friend, because EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE.
Girls and boys get to do and be & kiss & marry who they want in the right states in America, you dumbass.
That’s partly what the Supreme Court is supposed to be all about.
“Oh, goddamn it, we forgot the silent prayer!”
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at a cabinet meeting
Overall, citizens I know in Kentucky have been mildly pleased with the new governor’s efforts, and it’s admirable that Governor Beshear deftly noted the role of responsible journalism in a healthy, fact-based, functioning society. Note that there was a rise of ER visits in Kentucky and other rural, media-deprived regions nationwide following the president suggestion that maybe injecting bleach into people’s bloodstreams might help cure, stem, or help stop the COVID-19 pandemic from getting worse.
Inspired by his hanging-in-effigy, a time-honored tradition in certain parts of this great country of ours, Governor Andy lost no time in addressing the true history of effigy-hanging’s true cousin, the lynch mob: “Let’s also not ignore that the hanging was intended to send a message to others, one of intolerance, and one of hate. I can never understand the depths of pain that this symbol causes to many of my fellow Kentuckians, but I can condemn it outright, as wrong, as vile and as evil.”
Governor Beshear “stood his ground” civilly with class and a modicum of focused fury. He spoke with gravid concern for the future of his state, but his muted anger didn’t mince words. My belief is that it was philosopher-king like of him perhaps not to make an arrest and further foment “Three Percenters” at this point, because everything’s going into the hopper, and hopefully, what happened in Frankfort on Memorial Day will help candidate Amy McGrath with more thoughtful male & female voters than predicted. Do you know what just happened, as I typed this? Thunder and lightning!
Wow. A sign from the heavens? The Great Architect!
Well, I’ll be darned. Are the Deists up there taking care of us all?
Could it be an answer to the real & pressing question for the RNC and its future: Who is going to clean the elephant?
Might the sky be telling us something?
The Ringmaster: Te digo Zapaterto! Es absolulmente necessario de limpiar este pachederm!!!
Cantiflas: Me parece una elephant. Pero si señor. Si es necessario yo limpiarlo.
—Mario Moreno Reyes, The Circus
CNN BREAKING NEWS: Contrary to recent fake-news reportage, Mitch McConnell’s tissue sample taken at Walter Reed hospital in mid-October 2020, once he was whisked there along with his Chinese wife & tested every-which-a-way & rather violently by executive order, does not have advanced alien blood in his veins. Answers had been sought fruitlessly by the current “administration” to explain & borrow secrets from his longevity in so-called state and federal government service.
Lab technicians hustled.
Results were zippy.
According to RN nurses at Walter Reed, who could care less about him as a general rule, the President told the staff to keep Mitch and Elaine mildly sedated, then he spoke in a low voice and sipped a Diet Coke. Asked for his own take, mildly amused Giorgio Tsoukalos agreed to speak with me only by teleconference, an opportunity I certainly didn’t want to miss.
“Okay, so, an expert’s opinion. Frankly, yes, the exams were probably a good idea, but I’ve spoken with Carlson Tucker a few times since we’re both famous. Whenever I even say Mitch’s name all the blood drains from his face. True terror. Mitch is a strange one I’ll give you that much. No one can explain it. So, I’m going with the standard golem theory. It’s logical and perfect sense.”
By the way, an old friend of mine here at the Yacht Club, who is also an ex-Navy chief, happens to be on John Dean’s TWITTER account. He’s the one who recently sent me the scoop that while trying to seat a very tasty redhead on the Supreme Court the feverish President also received fetal-derived antibodies that his Bible Belt voters in Kentucky don’t know jack-squat about yet.
Experts have suggested that half of the entire state of Kentucky is suffering from Stockhausen Syndrome, exacerbated by junk food and salty snacks that don’t grow in gardens.
“That’s ridiculous! Just look at me,” the President said farting and burping and laughing & pumping his small right fist. “Look at me I told you! For the sake of pussy-grabbing as a lifetime sport, man. I’m a junk food mainliner!”
Besides, he added, as an aide was being waterboarded for dropping his third can of Diet Coke, I do not think that food quality has anything to do with Mitch McConnell.
“Quite frankly, I’ve been to the Bluegrass state,” added Giorgio Tsoukalos who became more agitated as our teleconference went long, so I suggested that he take a break and he drank a glass of milk. “That’s one green, gorgeous place. No blue grass anywhere. Very disappointing. But back to business!
There’s about as much advanced alien life genetics flowing in M & M’s veins as there is in those toad-belly-colored fish that in the Mammoth Cave ecosystem. As a man of science, I’ve followed trained ichthyologists down there and observed their behavior. I’m telling you those blind white fish can be extraordinarily helpful & actually of service to each other, even in quite cramped & challenging living environments.”
“The American Dream is in part responsible for a great deal of crime and violence, because people feel that the country owes them not only a living but a good living.”
—David Abrahamsen, psychoanalyst and author
—Sean Spicer, WH Press secretary & amateur dancer
“Here is land, tranquil in its beauty, serving not as the source of water but as the last receiver of it.”
—President Harry S. Truman, Everglades National Park dedication
My home state’s beautiful, and if you’ve never visited you should go once. My recommended reading for all Kentuckians prior to voting next week is Robert Penn Warren’s little book called The Legacy of the Civil War, and then equally & historically just as important, Marcus Borg’s book Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, which will explain his Jewish background & certain cultural practices just in case anyone doesn’t know about things like “common meal service,” and so forth.
That’s right. Real Christians back even in the First Century thought it was a good practice to dine with people different than oneself and even to actively pursue such opportunities! Isn’t that wonderful, clear, and helpful?
So glad we could have our little chat. Aren’t you glad, too?
OMG, that footage of George Floyd. OMG, the “verdict” after the murder and death of Breanna Taylor. That too, make zero mistake, that too is what’s keeping me up at night lately, just as much as the Three Percenters, because it’s all syncretically connected still in the nation’s mind and Kentuckian voter’s minds.
Keeping it all mixed-up together is what we’re watching in the news “coverage.” That’s the method. Deluge. Flood. Overwhelm them with assurance. That’s why dictators jam up the airwaves and put their name and picture up everywhere. Smokescreen here. Hillary hating there.
Steve Bannon’s ideas and methods, just cross the finish line, who cares the method or manner, the body count or bloodshed—just win, period, by flooding the endzone with shit and then watch the sparks fly and tanks roll by from your shelter with razor wire, or hole-in-the-backyard with a periscope.
Hey, raise your hand, aren’t some of you like me? I bet many of you are willing to admit it and not be ashamed. OMG, watching George Floyd’s brother talk also made me cry, too, and Breanna’s murder was certainly not the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s fault but the sloppy, uncaring gunman’s & bureaucratized systems of militarized police forces across the nation as they now currently stand & get too quickly and halfway trained.
Question: Why do certain economically oppressed people, even within minority populations, & some dangerously poor people, often without health or health insurance keep voting against their own best interests?
Answer: Who really knows? They all have their own personal and often very different reasons. The Protestant work ethic and it’s tucked-away insistence that one should often delay gratification is a very fine concept. However, the idea’s nooks and crannies are worth exploring and stretch back to where you might live: New England Puritans & Cotton Mather. Not the South, my friend. Cotton Mather and the Puritans.
He’s the first one who started this “prosperity” narrative peddled by Joel O’Steen and others that if morally upright then Your God will bless you with material success stretching far past your wildest dreams. It’s called the “abundant life.” But allow me to use lower case. That okay? Let me offer a deft example. Wasn’t it Reverend Jerry Falwell Jr. who had a taste for the “abundant life” for a while there before he developed various other tastes & desires & predilections.
Author Sally McFague has other desires and she’s still sanguine:
Yet there is hope. On a hotter planet, with lost deltas and shrunken coastlines, under a more dangerous sun, worthless arable land, more people, fewer species of living things, a legacy of poisonous wastes, and much beauty irrevocably lost, there is still a possibility that our children’s children will learn at last to live as a community among communities, and perhaps they will learn also to forgive this generation its blind commitment to even greater consumption.
Yes, I suppose, U.S. Marine Amy McGrath does NOT have a snowball’s shot. However, both theoretically & karmically it’s possible a lightning bolt could very well strike Mitch McConnell & his money-loving wife smack dab between the shoulder blades. Of course, the only reason I’ve chosen to word it this way is not because one RNC couple would deserve such an end, at least not simultaneously, but because it might be needed to stop a seasoned “golem” in his tracks for good.
How will McGrath versus McConnell play out? Well, folks’ ideas & half-baked notions about various issues such as these are going to determined the outcome:
- Abortion & a woman’s right to choose.
(c) Overall USA economy and in-state Kentucky jobs.
Where is Amy McGrath right this minute? Waiting and laying low? She’s staying mum, watching the data, and hopefully staying very healthy along with her husband and her family. Frankly, as a Notre Dame star athlete, Amy McGrath still has the right background for a lot of people in my home state if they’d only give her a chance to show her grit and her hustle. McGrath’s military background will help her with some male in-state voters & veterans but it will hurt her, too, because sexism & gender bias are facts still writ large in certain non-egalitarian households of Kentucky.
A lot of these wives could use what Virginia Woolf once called around "thirty quid" a year, and maybe a cozy room or log cabin of their own, so they can breeze through Euripedes’ Lysistrata over this coming weekend to glean a few great ideas from that ancient Greek play.
Still, with mail-in voting I’m predicting a tighter race than ten points, but I won't be satisfied with a single-digit and thus easily juked outcome unless Amy McGrath is victorious, which now seems totally and supremely unlikely. However, jawboning into the wind, here are the facts on that “issue” that should not be in politics, anyhow, but unavoidably is a huge part of what Kentucky conservatives claim is a core-value issue:
for the record
In an October 2018 interview with Lawrenceburg, Kentucky’s Anderson News, McGrath said: “The claim that I’m somehow for abortion in the ninth month is offensive and ridiculous. There are ample restrictions on abortions and I am opposed to late-term abortions except when it comes to issues of the life of the mother.”
In a July 2019 interview with Louisville’s Courier-Journal, she said: “I think there are enough restrictions on abortion and they’re reasonable. So right now, you can’t walk into a clinic eight months pregnant and get an abortion, you can’t do it and that’s reasonable.”
According to FactCheck.org and the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on abortions in the USA, approximately 1.2% were performed at or after 21 weeks gestational time, according to 2016 data, and 65.5% of abortions were performed in the first eight weeks of gestation.
but of course, these are mere facts
We’ll need some Ross Perot charts at this point folks, and where did he and Admiral Stockton go to so quickly? Hey, death is real for ALL OF US. So let’s cheer up. How about some music? Because if 538.com is correct it looks like Amy McGrath might lose. But I sure hope not and that she’s shooting free throws right now in her spare time and visiting university campuses.
OMG, just looked it up! How exciting “The Palm Room” in downtown Louisville still exists, although its owner, Mr. Joe, has passed away. Just one tune. Time for a break. Cue up some Muddy Waters, or Hound Dog Taylor’s “Give Me Back My Wig,” or J.J. Cale’s “The Problem.” Be sure to memorize the lyrics.
Go Amy go! Go Amy go!
Fly high next week!
Keeping hope alive does matter!
Also, we all need the eggs, as the famous Woody Allen joke goes. Just try and t.h.i.n.k. of Kentucky a little more thoroughly, dear reader, okay? Would you please make the effort & give it a try? Go and visit. Who knows? You might even get a glimpse of some things ECO-FRIENDLY AND GREEN long before A.O.C. was a flash in her momma and her daddy’s eyes. Try to find the virgin forest area in the Red River Gorge, eat some burgoo, take your shoes off and stay a spell.
Visit a working farm for godsakes!
Maybe you’ll get lucky and glimpse our still living in-state prophet. His name is Mr. Wendell Berry and he still has a home place there, some real good ideas & books to consider and from what I understand he’s a real swell guy.
David Hatfield Crockett is a Kentuckian by birth. More than that, we do not know.
Kentucky ::: The Everly Brothers
Kentucky Blues ::: Little Hat Jones
Wild Dogs of Kentucky ::: Nervous Norvus
My Old Kentucky Home ::: Randy Newman