With my overbooked schedule, I’ve resigned myself to the truth that for now, this will be the T.J. Maxx of blogs. By the time the news reaches my poor little blog, the news has already faded from prominence. I think I’m OK with this, or at least I will be. I have to be, since academic and professional demands take precedence right now.
Now that I’ve given my little treatise on why I’ve been so horrendously behind in my blogging lately, I bring you this news item from Monday’s New York Times. A group of more than 30 high school hoodlums broke into and vandalized a farmhouse in Ripton, Vermont once owned by Robert Frost. There is an excellent narrated photo essay that accompanies the story.
The incident happened in late December. The news travels slowly in and out of Vermont, I guess.
I feel sick about this. How odd that stories of killing and natural disasters around the world pass regularly in and out of my mind, but this story has lingered in my memory since Monday.
How could someone do this? I think of Frost as a kindly old soul not unlike a provincial minister. I have a used paperback containing selected poems of his, the sort of paperback with a cracking binding, yellowed pages and that slightly sweet, dusty smell associated with old books.
Long before I discovered Dante and Proust, Frost’s simple measured lines hooked me into the world of words. Were these vandals aware of the power of words? Probably not. They were too drunk to care.
What did Frost ever do to anyone? I can see a more controversial writer, a Salman Rushdie, or John Steinbeck, whose works were burned in front of the public library in my hometown. But I’m giving these derelicts too much credit. They were just looking for a party. Get enough drunk minors together and bad things happen.
I might be overreacting, but this feels like a new cultural low.