Monday, July 05, 2010

What will Jack Conway say at this year's Fancy Farm?

Fancy Farm, Kentucky's traditional old-time political stump event is banning profanity. Da ..., er, I mean, that's a shame. What is Jack Conway going to say this year? "I'm one tough cookie?"

But the big question is, will this new rule placate John David Dyche, who last year (or was it the year before, or the year before that?) wrote the whole Fancy Farm thing off as an disturbing display of course behavior that clearly scared his horses.

"The Fancy Farm follies," he sniffed at the time, "are mercifully over." He acknowledged, with all the grace and dignity of which he is capable (and that is substantial) that the speaking and heckling for which Fancy Farm is famous can be "fair," but added (and one can imagine him clearing his throat at this to point to allow himself time to select just the right expression), "in these parlous times they seem almost recklessly inappropriate."

It is indeed sobering to consider how apparently oblivious were the hooligans crowded around the Fancy Farm stage that year to Dyche's severe state of discomfort at the proceedings. It could be the crowd simply refused to part when Dyche's carriage arrived.

"Americans," Dyche asserted, are troubled "economically and existentially." And I will confess Dyche is probably correct in thinking that most of the crowd at Fancy Farm did not have the existential condition of their fellow Americans on their minds. In fact, there were people dressed up in quite a variety of costumes, but apparently no one was dressed up as Jean Paul Sartre.

As I recall, Dyche--the liberals favorite Kentucky conservative--then went on to laud Greg Stumbo, indicating that the only parlous thing about the times is that there are ostensible conservatives lauding liberals on a fairly regular basis.

O course, the problem with Fancy Farm is not that there's too much profanity--or too little decorum. The problem with Fancy Farm is that there are no longer any politicians worthy of the event. The art of making ex tempore political speeches (and I throw in the Latin here in order to more effectively communicate this point to Dyche) has simply gone the way of the dodo.

Where are the Wendell Fords? Where are the Larry Forgy's? Where are the people who could grab a microphone and deliver an impromptu speech filled with barbed wit and clever satire.
These voices were silenced some years ago now, I'm afraid. Today, we have only the stuffed shirts who show up, speechwriter-written address in hand, to deliver a few canned jokes about their opponent, who, in return

Pity Jack Conway, who suffered the derision of almost everyone last year for a line he paid someone else to write for him.

The irony is that the hooting and howling that was once directed in fun at clever speeches and witty verbal take-downs of one's own favored candidate can now be directed legitimately at almost every speech given there, so illiterate--or, as Dyche would put it, "parlous"--has become the state of our politics.

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