Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Annoying Group of People #3: Long Islanders

Sure, sure, we knew that. But who knew just how long they've been annoying? Get this. I'm currently reading James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham. I've been reading it for a month because it's so long and detailed and plus I'm busy, but it really is historically fascinating and I have plunged into the world of ol' JM and all his peeps, such as Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe (they were all Virginia buddies) and eventually Dolley (whose Quaker parents are totally righteous, by the way!) and so forth.

One of Madison's pals from the "College of New Jersey at Princeton" was Philip Freneau, who by the way became quite the poet of their generation, so you know he's awesome, and literary. After college, Madison and his crew totally kept in touch while they all tried to figure out what to do with their lives. (Yes, another president in my bio-reading quest who at first had no clue what he should do with his life. Four for four.)

Madison was hanging out back at the farm plantation in Virginia, and friend Freneau was trying his hand at a teaching career, which he later abandoned. Freneau wrote a letter about how school teaching sucked. He had taught in Long Island for only a couple weeks, but loathed it because his pupils were "a brutish brainless crew...void of reason and of grace."

Ha! That's my boy, Freneau! I was ready to leave the brainless crew of Long Island after two weeks as well. Perhaps we poets just don't belong there.


Anonymous said...

Stumbled across this blog, and I'm just curious as to who exactly you are insulting.

When you say Long Islanders are an annoying bunch, are you referring to today's colloquial definition of Long Island, which refers to the counties of Nassau and Suffolk only, or are you using Freneau's definition, which includes modern day Brooklyn and Queens?

Considering that he taught in Flatbush (Brooklyn), I was just wondering if Long Islanders are the only annoying ones, or if Brooklynites were also included.

linda said...

Oh, my favorite: anonymous commenters.

Well, allow me to clarify. I am insulting Long Island by today's Nassau/Suffolk definition, and I am doing so by expressing the joy of the easily amused (that's me) upon discovering a 240-year-old insult of "Long Island," which is the same in name (and, an argument could be made, roughly the same in character in that they are people living outside of the big bad New York city limit).

I have a separate disdain for many NYC residents, including Brooklyn and Queens, which is based on them thinking theirs is the only city in the country/world in which it is worthwhile to live.

The insulting of Long Island and "Long Island" in the post was all done sardonically. As opposed to the first sentence of this comment, which was sarcastic.

To be clear on that one: I am making fun of anonymous commenters, because I think they are cowardly. But for the most part they are not as annoying as Long Islanders.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Cowardly? Yes, and flexing internet muscles makes you courageous. For some reason when I click name/url nothing comes up, and instead of messing with it, I just chose anonymous.

I'm a blog reader. It's not like we know each other, so I don't see how not leaving my name affects my comment, but whatever.

I won't waste anymore of your or mine time, k? Later.

-Andy K., AZ

linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
linda said...

Touche about the flexing internet muscles. Oops. I didn't actually mean to sound like a jerk - especially because you made a good point about Long Island, but also because there's no reason to be a jerk.

I was probably fishing a bit to provoke b/c there's been an annoying anonymous commenter in the past who is a coward. Never know when he's going to pop up.

Don't know what's up with the name/URL thing; thanks for pointing it out. And serious mea culpa for not toning down my misinformed gut reaction.

I hate Long Island. It makes me cranky. And now look what it's done.