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04/16/2011

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This makes little sense. Wendell Berry has always been careful to point out the flaws of local communities. Give me some time and I can come up with dozens of instances where he points out that the people and agriculture were far from ideal. This is such as strange phenomenon. Berry carefully addresses these objections to his work, but people somehow feel free to blithely ignore this aspect of his work and proceed to misrepresent it. How odd.

Berry's sanctimony can be grating, as when he extols the tobacco culture for the way it preserved his rural community, without mentioning the paradox he has dragged into the room. Kind of like defending the gracious way of life on southern plantations before the Civil War. A slight exaggeration but not by much. He has made invaluable contributions with some of his nonfiction regarding agriculture and agrarian values. But in the end, he's an artist, probably not a cohesive intellectual, despite his great intelligence. At any rate, he is at his best when he poeticizes or dramatizes his ideas. His novel Jayber Crow is on my list of all-time great books.

I like it when individuals get together and share ideas.
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