An English In Kentucky


















Thursday October 3rd 2012    Tim Candler

     I would suggest a current preoccupation with early Nineteenth Century Europe and the various meanings more recent minds have given the Assyrian's grasp of their sun, has its root in the coming general election here in the United States.  Nineteenth Century Europe was the Industrial Revolution.  Old ways of 'being' forced apart by what have been called 'inevitable material forces,' a struggle that lead to tremendous upheaval that included the wars of the Twentieth Century, a widening of the property owning class, the flushing toilet, the word 'nihilism,' and so many other examples of the use to which surplus has been put.  But The United States, in the Nineteenth Century, was a very new nation, it was writing its own history, creating its own meaning, enjoying a bounty of land, of untapped resources and an increasing majority of its people came from an immigrant class hungry for riches and newness, through chance or through work or through services to Barons of industry, or by introducing all the Birds mentioned in Shakespeare to Central Park.   The European experience was dominated by an aristocracy, its entails and inheritances, its tribes and their quarrels.  The English Factory owner did not rule until maybe Thatcher.  Not so in the United States.  And here where I live, that difference has been given a halo.

     In its ascendancy the United States grew to dominate manufacture, the power house of capital, it was something called freedom that determined position, certainly not birth, or so it was claimed, despite other opinions and the odd anomaly which still includes an emotional understanding of race.  Then about thirty or forty years ago factory owners concluded that manufacture was easier to accomplish elsewhere.  Worth noting that thirty or forty years ago here in the United States, Wall Street was briefly considered a back water of gadabouts and gamblers, who sometimes would stand upon window ledges, until bankers smelled new sources of profit in a redefinition of property and the political class smelled patronage, which is how the world turns, on its ability to forget.  And, inevitably there are some who now dream of returning to the Job Creating Caliphates of Ford, Guggenheim, DuPont, Duke..... by putting a private equity mogul in charge.   I have heard ideologues call this dream of  Eden, "unshackling the genius of the American People."  Which is one description of  two hundred and forty years of ascendance or busy-ness, even if the phrase has a wide open meaning, like the mouth of a Crocodile or of an opera singer.  And, inevitably there are some who think repeating the past might not produce a work of genius, but rather they prefer to think of it as the rumble of yet another aristocracy, its entails and  inheritances, its tribes and their quarrels.  The last Assyrian King ruled a country powerful in every way.  When he died the struggle between his brother and the general of his army, so weakened his people that a few years after his death Nineveh and its commercial out posts fell to Babylon.  Assyrians had ruled Nineveh, which is in Northern Iraq, for around two thousand years. And maybe tomorrow I'll further unshackle myself from limbic convulsions of the past twenty four hours, make a two hundred year journey to Grasmere, and here in the sweet hills of Kentucky, I'll address the essay Wordsworth's friend De Quincey wrote about John "Walking" Stewart, which I am certain will calm everyone down.


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