From an extremely different era 14
Lindsay MacHarrie's Can you imagine that
is broadly similar to Hix's Strange as it seems
. MacHarrie didn't have a large staff, so he wasn't able to write and dramatize history and science on the same scale as Hix. MacHarrie did communicate the same courtesy and RESPECT for ordinary people, especially Southerners.
Can you imagine American media respecting Deplorables? It was common in the '30s.
In this episode,
a historical anecdote demonstrates RESPECT for work and skill, also common in '30s media and extinct today.
Andrew Johnson was governor of Tennessee before he accidentally ended up as president. And before he went into politics he was a tailor. He was trained by involuntary servitude in chains, which wasn't unusual for poor whites. This form of slavery was still common in 1900.
While governor, Johnson received a gift of fireplace tools from a judge who had been a blacksmith. The judge had made the tools with his own hands on his own forge. So Johnson found out what size the judge wore, and made a suit for the judge with his own hands.
Pay for REAL value with REAL value. Emerson (who was writing at that time) would certainly understand.
= = = = =
Later, here's the story as written in Sat Eve Post in 1929, probably MacHarrie's source.
It seems that Judge Pepper had been a blacksmith before studying law and being later elevated to the circuit bench. When his friend Andrew Johnson was elected Governor of Tennessee Judge Pepper went into a nearby blacksmith shop, selected iron to his own liking, and with forge and hammer made a substantial pair of shovel and tongs for his friend's gubernatorial fireplace. Not to be behind courtesy, Governor Johnson got a tailor to give him Pepper's measurements, selected the best piece of black broadcloth in town, and sat cross-legged on the governor's table in the State capitol behind closed doors at night till he finished the garment. His letter to Judge Pepper, covering two long pages, is typical. He reminded his friend that he was "a mechanic, a plebeian mechanic, and not ashamed or afraid to own it, in or out of office." He cited a list of great artisans and mechanics "from Adam and Tubal-Cain down to the present time," and showed how much more praiseworthy they were than those "who have no merit of their own and rely on those who have gone before,
preferring empty shadows where all merit has run out."
Labels: Emersonian justice, skill-estate