What Made Kentucky Famous.
Usually, I try to do a minibio of someone interesting on Tuesday afternoons, but you know what? I’m just going to make an incomplete list of several Kentuckians who are or were awesome and conclude said list with a brief statement, inspired by yet another Will Russell brainchild. Please watch this brief video before continuing.
So, the good folks who wanted to make this a reality (now on hold) asked people to pick their favorite Kentuckians to be memorialized in stone, like the other, less fun Mount Rushmore. With respect to the ones chosen (Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders, and Secretariat), here’s an alternate list that is probably equally deserving.
1. Loretta Lynn. I am going to do a little feature on Miss Lady later this week, but a word on the woman: she’s had dozens of amazing records, was a live-out-loud feminist, and somehow still manages to maintain this wonderful place, where a lady (me) may get as many biscuits with gravy as her heart desires.
2. Duncan Hines. Duncan Hines was kind of the original (and not terrible) Guy Fieri. He wrote these little guide books that had out-of-the-way places to get tasty food. One of the places he put on the map was Sanders’ Court and Cafe– the original KFC in Corbin, Kentucky. This was all before he founded the company that brought us funfetti.
3. Robert Penn Warren. RPW was only person to win a Pulitzer for poetry and fiction, but you don’t care about that. Okay, his racial politics were not really to any modern person’s liking, but his work with the Agrarians? Fascinating. All the Kings Men? A feat of intellect and one of the top ten best novels I’ve ever read. His Understanding Poetry textbook? Probably the best poetry text I have read. This guy was a giant of American letters.
4. Hunter S. Thompson. What can I even say? He is from Louisville and attended my rival high school. He was wild. He did drugs I cannot pronounce and he did them with great regularity. He was played by yet another excellent Kentuckian in his own bizarre biopic. I have a series of portraits of him framed in my living room. My roller derby name is Huntress Thompson. Read this. Watch this. Be convinced of his inimitable, unspeakable genius.
Runners Up: Edgar Cayce (Kentuckian Most Committed to Being a True Freak), George Clooney (Kentuckian Most Pleased About Being Himself), Daniel Boone (Kentuckian with A Great Hat), Ephraim McDowell (Kentuckian Least Concerned About Anesthesia), Thomas Merton (Most Saintly Kentuckian), Bobbie Ann Mason (Kentuckian I Want to Hang With), Diane Sawyer (Kentuckian Most Maligned by Bill O’Reilly, Who Is A Gigantic Ass), Wendell Berry (Kentucky Author Who Most Liked the Pie I Once Served Him), John Scopes (Kentuckian Most Dedicated to Teaching Evolution), Mary Todd Lincoln (runner up, Kentuckian Most Committed to Being a True Freak category), Louis Brandeis (Most Handsome Jewish Kentuckian Supreme Court Judge), Billy Ray Cyrus (Best Kentucky Mullet), Jennifer Lawrence (Kentuckian I See Most Often at Zanzabar), D.W. Griffith (Kentuckian Most Influential in Modern Cinema), Henry Clay (Kentuckian for Whom The Most Things Are Named)
Okay! Who did I miss?