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Cultural Literacy

May 26, 2010

“At the risk of sounding like Emerson writing to Whitman…”*

What a line! How great would it be to be sufficiently erudite that you could throw around such pomposities. I can be pretty pompous at times, but, really, I’m bluffing. I’ve read neither Emerson nor Whitman, and you can throw in Thoreau, Frost, Hemingway and assorted other essentials. I know Whitman lived in Brooklyn and wrote Leaves of Grass, after reading wikipedia I know Emerson was a leading figure in transcendentalism— whatever the hell that is. I also know Thoreau had some pond he liked, Frost got confused when out walking and Hemingway liked to punch and shoot stuff. But those details only keep me from looking panicked when someone brings one of them up, they don’t allow me to actually deploy them in conversation.

The only way I am able to deploy my pomposities is to use my fairly good memory and remember that most people are extremely poorly educated.

I offer a prize to anyone who can tell me what sounding like Emerson writing to Whitman means

*The opening line of the 1981 Presidential address to the Society for Textual Scholarship

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Fat Al permalink*
    May 26, 2010 5:40 pm

    But sufficiently pompous to refuse to add a title to your post…

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