Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Old Kentucky Home

Bobbie Ann Mason, a wonderful short story writer from Kentucky is probably the most famous literary personality in her state. (If you're looking for a great summer read, try In Country, a beautiful novel about a 17 year old girl trying to understand her father who fought in the Vietnam War). Because of her celebrity, she was asked to write a series of pieces in the New York Times on the current state of Kentucky. Read her short opinion piece -- by clicking on the blog title above -- and see if you find any connections with the play we're reading, with other current issues in the news, or with anything we've studied this year.

12 comments:

Sam B. said...

It seems as if Kentucky has been at a crossroads throughout its history, whether it be with Indians, being a border state in the Civil War, or now having to take the "burden of the world's poisons." One comparison you can make to The Kentucky Cycle is the fact that this article even says that Kentucky used to be a farm state, and that Kentucky's economy depends on land. This has to do with the idea that the Rowen family was so obsessed at acquiring land because they knew that it would boost their economic profit.

Josh said...

To me it seemed as if in the article Kentucky was being described as a like a trash dump, an interesting place to base out play. It was done for a reason obviously. Why was the play not called the New York Cycle? or the Florida Cycle? Its because these states havent been taken advantage by so much as Kentucky has. The uranium just sitting in the depositories stationed just outside richmond would not be found most places in the country. The Author wanted to have a plot that allowed his characters to want to constantly keep working to that american dream of owning vast amounts of land.

In kentucky people were always wanting land and wanting to increase their land amounts, which would let them buy more whisky. Because of this trend against the farm though, i wonder what this states future looks like? To me its as though were headed into darkness. beat.

Brandon said...

^haha at "beat"

With regards to the "search function" in the blog, most people already have a "navbar" to search the blogs that's a default option in these blogs. It's not on this main blog, but it's on mine and most other people's.

I think the most obvious comparison is with how large corporations dominate and ravage the land. In the Kentucky Cycle, a company based in NYC ravaged the land and left the creek/river filthy.

An interesting thing was about how the author talked about how we "might not remember" the sludge spill in 2000. Although I was only 7, I frequently hear about the Exxon Valdez spill while I had never heard about this disaster which was a "greater toxic accident". Perhaps this ties in with our discussion about how the media tends to focus on certain issues to attract people more. While an oil spill killing tons of sea birds and destroying the ecological community in the beautiful Alaska may attract many viewers with the pictures of the destruction, a story of spill in a pond in rural, "remote controlled" Kentucky may not be that appealing.

Brandon said...

Sorry; the navbar is in the top left hand corner of some blogs.

Sara D said...

It is clear that Kentucky is not without its problems. In the Kentucky Cycle, the Indians are obviously the first people there. Next comign in is Michael Rowen who is forcing them out for his own needs, which is land, which leads to money and power. In this article Mason says, "Historically, outsiders have dominated the place" Clearly this has been a theme in Kentucky whihc has been apparent throoughtout all of the book. Now, the government wants to dump this "poison" into Jentucky, something that is proabbly not wanted by the people.

Hannah D. said...

I agree with what everyone is saying. I do not think that a lot of people understand how unfair it is for the people of Kentucky, that we can live some 300 miles away from disaster. The article talks about how deadly the weapons are that are just lying around. What says that they can't detonate at anytime without any explanations? The land in KY should be used for something better, and not just for a mine or a place to throw our trash into. The article clearly relates to the Kentucky Cycle because of the Rowan family's need for land, and in the end, it is just being controlled by an outside source.

Elizabeth L said...

"In rural Kentucky, where the health of the land once meant plowing manure under the soil each spring, the future is not in cows and corn. We’re now poised to take on the burden of the world’s poisons. Y’all come!"

Bobbie Ann Mason quotes in her New York Times, "Pick Your Poison" refers to how the once farm land has turned to a 'pilot plant'. She refers to Kentucky like a remote control that is dominated by outsiders coming in and changing things to benefit themselves. IN the Kentucky Cycle we see this a lot. In the first scene when the white man (the outsider) takes the indians land (insider) why do you think indians are called native americans? because they are native to North America. I know things change and things definately change in the kentucky challenge sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad, but it always has to do with whoever has the most money which equals power like in the Great Gatsby... but as we have learned that that doesnt always equal happiness.

Agretch said...

I agree everyone that it seems easy to sit back and not worry about it because we're so far away, but for the people of Kentucky this has always been and will continue to be a major problem. They have been under the control of outsiders since their existance and because the majority of the money is maid through mining which is owned by out of state companies it will most likely continue to be that way. It is also obvious that these outsiders don't care what-so-ever about the people of Kentucky, an example of this being the weapons lying around that could explode killing thousands at any time. It seems like Kentucky is just the work horse of the nation, no respect but does all the hard work and gets paid little for it. This reminds of the middle east. They are mainly used by the outisde world for their oil which we all depend on, yet we treat them with no respect and force our opinions upon them. They have no choice and are forced to change their way of life because of us, just as the people of Kentucky have had to since mining took over the state way back when.

Andrew said...

well, gretchko said that it is easy to ignore the problem because Kentucky is so far away. However, Kentuckey really isn't that far away. That's why it has been taken advantage of for so long. It is literally right in the heart of the country. It is closer to more states than any other. Therefore, Kentuckey is liable to become the garbage dump for every surrounding state. Fair?

Eli said...

I wonder what type of research she did on this. Did she travel to every corner of Kentucky to find out what was going on. There is room for error, and I wonder how much time she really put in before 'venting'

arcohen said...

Eli, I agree with you. It is very doubtful that there is bias in her research, as in every research...to prove a point.I think before Warren makes a claim, it should be proven 100%, by raveling to every town in kentucky, or else it is a generalization!

Tyler said...

I agree with what ali and eli said, there is so much room for error. To be able to accomplish this work one would need to take in so much information and evidence it is overwhelming. A little mind Boggling.