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MARCH 23, 2011
THE FIRST MASTERS TOURNAMENT TOM WOLFE NEW AMERICAN JOURNALISM
BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL
AMERICAN PATRIOT TOM WOLFE NEW AMERICAN JOURNALISM
6 AMERICA’S CLASSIC BALLPARKS
BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL BREEDS CONFIDENCE
AMERICA’S FUN FOODS
BAKED BEANS EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT REMINDER
THE GOLDEN AGE OF
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
THIS WEEK IN AMERICAN HISTORY
TOM WOLFE’S NEW AMERICAN JOURNALISM
Tom Wolfe has been at it for sixty years now, writing some of the most incisive, witty and necessary critical observations of America’s social evolution. Famously clad in a southern gentleman’s white suit, the author is a mainstay of the television and lecture circuit – his insights into American culture have proven true as one generation gives way to the next. Responsible for three novels, twelve works of non-fiction, and the literary style known as “New Journalism,” Tom Wolfe has produced a body of work key to understanding postwar America. 4 AMERICAN PATRIOT
Born into a successful Virginia farming family, Wolfe was given the means to pursue his early inclination to writing, penning biographies of Napoleon and Mozart before reaching the age of ten. As a young man armed with degrees from Washington and Lee University and Yale, he declined offers of an academic career to work in journalism. He was hired by the Washington Post on the cityside beat, but Wolfe expanded his repertoire to foreign and humor writing, while beginning to experiment with literary feature stories. Having moved on to the New York Herald-Tribune in 1962, Wolfe was encouraged to break with traditional journalistic techniques by his editors. His breakthrough occurred during the 1962 newspaper strike, as a freelancer for Esquire Magazine. His unorganized thoughts on the subject of cars and car culture ignored journalistic rules and conventions; the editors ran his ramblings unaltered and the controversial style of “New Journalism” was born. Wolfe’s style proved popular, taking on the radically changing culture, politics and art of postwar America. His first foray into booklength journalism proved to be a defining work of the decade. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,
At 54 and having revolutionized journalism, Wolfe moved on to his long-held dream of writing a novel that would capture the spirit of America’s disparate social classes. First serialized in Rolling Stone, Bonfire of the Vanities became a bestseller with an award winning film adaption. Like the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Bonfire of the Vanities is for many the best writing whose subject was a troubled, conflicted, decadent decade in American History.
a study of intellectual drop-outs and their exploits, is the essential study of the hippie phenomenon. Later, he abandoned analyzing the “Me Decade” for other notable works during the 70s – penning “The Right Stuff”, a paean to the bravery of early Astronauts, and two notable works of architectural criticism.
In later years, Wolfe has become ever more the contrarian. Riling the literary establishment, Wolfe was a steadfast supporter of George W. Bush, and now sports an American flag pin on his iconic white suit. His writing continues, with a new novel due in 2012.
AMERICAN PATRIOT 5
FENWAY PARK AMERICA’S CLASSIC BALLPARKS
6 AMERICAN PATRIOT
Two weeks before the 2010 special senatorial election in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe asked Martha Coakley, the frontrunner by 15 points, if she had grown too passive in her campaign. “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” was her response. Two weeks later, Coakley had lost the election after a stunning freefall, and was accused of elitism and ambivalence to the electorate. It was the reckoning of a truth known to Massachusetts politicians: The Red Sox are first in the hearts of Bostonians, and don't say anything bad about Fenway. Last year, over 3 million people attended a game
run hitters, is the parks' signature touch. Seats
at Fenway Park. Despite being a relatively small
above the Monster were added in 2003 and
and old fashioned park, with few amenities,
are highly sought-after.
essentially no parking, and in a part of town impossible to get through or into on game day,
Fenway Park has played host to some of base-
Fenway park remains a perennial attendance
balls truly historic moments. There were the
leader. One of two original stadiums still standing
1946 and 1999 all star games, the 1976 Carlton
(Wrigley Field being the other), Fenway is a
Fisk “wave off” home run, World Series games
simpler, purer, and more satisfying place to see
in 11 of its seasons. Still, it was a history of
a baseball game. Its record 500th straight sell-
heartbreak that defined Fenway for 86 long years.
out was recorded in 2009, its partisans span all
From 1918, the year Babe Ruth was traded,
classes and status of Bostonians.
the “Curse of the Bambino” hovered over the Red Sox. The curse came to define Red Sox fan-
Opened in 1912 and constructed for a cost of
dom, as casual fans became diehard sufferers.
$650,000, Fenway Park was built on filled-in
In 2004, the Red Sox beat the hated New York
marshland locally knows as the “Fens”. The
Yankees for the American League Title, and
construction, lasting one year, produced a stadium
defeated the St. Louis Cardinals for a long
as outwardly humble as the industrial neighbor-
hood that surrounds it. The field itself is well representative of early ballparks; the playingsurface dimensions are oddball and angular, many seats are situated behind steel columns, obstructing view, the field appears close and intimate to spectators. The famous “green monster,” the left field wall that measures 37 feet in height and is a favorite target of home
A trip to Fenway is an almost religious pilgrimage for the devout baseball fan. Immortalized in numerous films, attended by millions, and occasionally the center of political controversy, Fenway will remain the capital of the national pastime.
PLAN YOUR NEXT VISIT TO FENWAY PARK HERE AMERICAN PATRIOT 7
LIVE UNITED: JOIN HANDS. OPEN YOUR HEART. LEND YOUR MUSCLE.
FIND YOUR VOICE. GIVE 10%. GIVE 100%.
GIVE 110%. GIVE AN HOUR. GIVE A SATURDAY. THINK OF WE BEFORE ME. REACH OUT A HAND TO ONE AND
INFLUENCE THE CONDITION OF ALL.
GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
Want to make a difference? Help create opportunities for everyone in your community. United Way is creating real, lasting change where you live, by focusing on the building blocks of a better life– education, income and health. That’s what it means to Live United. For more, visit LIVEUNITED.ORG.
BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL BREEDS CONFIDENCE 8 AMERICAN PATRIOT
The British won the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 early in the Revolutionary War. Sort of. They managed to take the hill back from the Americans who were encamped there to encircle and trap the British in Boston. But despite the final result, the battle was a moral victory and a confidence builder for the young American army since they fought ably and held out for hours against superior numbers and firepower before finally succumbing. Also, for the record, the American’s actually fortified and defended Breed’s Hill, a few hundred yards away from the higher and more famous Bunker Hill; military experts say they the Americans might have prevailed had they dug in at the higher Bunker Hill, more difficult to climb and closer to escape routes. The battle itself began when British General William Howe landed his troops on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking Boston. Nearly 2,500 Redcoats made a frontal assault on the hill. On the American side, roughly 1,500 armed farmers and storekeepers were trained and inspired by General William Prescott who, during the battle, won enduring fame by declaring, “Don't one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the British were within 40 yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, forcing the British to retreat. After reforming his lines, Howe attacked again, with much the same result. For two and a half hours of intense battle, greatly
outnumbered, the Americans held out. Low on ammunition and supplies, when Howe’s men charged the hill for the third time, they reached the top and engaged the Americans in bayonet and hand-to-hand combat. The 700 exhausted defenders had been sent no reinforcements and had no more powder. They fought desperately but could no longer force the British back. Most ran up and over Bunker Hill into the roads that led to escape. When it was all over, nearly 1,000 British were dead, along with 370 colonials. The American hero was clearly William Prescott who planned and commanded the defense with a ragtag citizen army. For British generals William Howe, Henry Clinton, and John Burgoyne the battle was the start of years of frustration trying, and failing, to subdue the Americans. Memorials of the battle abound, including the Bunker Hill monument as part of the Freedom Trail, and the battle has become integral to the legend of how American patriotism can sustain itself against all odds. VISIT THE BUNKER HILL MONUMENT
AMERICAN PATRIOT 9
AMERICA’S FUN FOODS
BOSTON BAKED BEANS 10 AMERICAN PATRIOT
July is National Baked Bean Month, celebrating this classic, national comfort food. In fact, baked beans have been popular in North America since before the Pilgrims landed on the eastern shores. Although many people think of Boston as the birthplace of the recipe, according to the National Restaurant Association, the Narragansett, Penobscot, and Iroquois Indians created the first baked bean recipes. The critical ingredient, maple syrup, was discovered by the Iroquois. With its discovery, Native Americans created baked bean meals that featured maple syrup and bear fat. The beans were cooked in earthenware pots that were placed in pits and covered with hot rocks, and stored as well for later meals. Scholars believe the Pilgrims learned how to make baked beans from the Native Americans, although they began substituting molasses and pork fat for the maple syrup and bear fat. This dish was perfect for the Pilgrim household. Pilgrim women were not allowed to cook on Sunday, because of their religious beliefs, and the baked beans could be prepared the night before and kept warm until the next morning. During colonial days, Boston became famous for baked beans, hence the Boston
Baked Beans that we’ve all heard of and the reason the city is nicknamed “Beantown.” Boston had become a major producer of rum. Molasses, the main ingredient for rum, was very plentiful and the recipe for baked beans was altered to include molasses in place of maple syrup. Salt pork was substituted for the bear fat and Boston Baked Beans were born. Ironically for “Beantown,” there are no companies presently making the dish in the city and only a few places that still serve them. Still, the legend lives on: the official state bean of Massachusetts is the baked navy bean (also called pea bean, boston bean, or yankee bean), recognized in 1993 by the state legislature. Today, this American favorite has many variations. When making baked beans, you have the freedom to experiment with different bean varieties, spices and ingredients — among popular versions are Bourbon Baked Beans, Southwestern Baked Beans, Hawaiian Baked Beans and Cowboy Baked Beans — to create a dish that suits your taste. CLICK HERE FOR FOURTH OF JULY BAKED BEANS AND OTHER RECIPES
AMERICAN PATRIOT 11
THE GOLDEN AGE OF
Short-lived as it may have been, the Muscle Car Era of the mid-to-late 1960's had an undeniable impact on American cultural and political life. The muscle car — a cheap, smallish, stripped down American coupe with a big engine — was a generation-defining fad for the baby boomer generation, while simultaneously derided as unsafe and unclean by safety and environmental advocates in efforts to create progressive laws and regulations. Both the jukebox and the box office were full of homages to the muscle car during its brief reign, roughly the years 1964-1970. “409”, “GTO””, “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” and “Shut Down” were chart toppers; “Bullitt”, “Vanishing Point” and “Two Lane Blacktop” were films that featured muscle cars as main characters. The cars were also characters in congressional hearings, as crusaders pointed to the outsize highway fatalities and air pollution that coincided with the muscle car craze as justification for laws like the Clean Air Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The birth of the muscle car can be traced to 1949, when Oldsmobile took a standard lightweight sedan and crammed a high-compression V8 under the hood, calling its hybrid creation the “Rocket 88”. This car and other early variations, such as the Chrysler C-300, set track and speed records but had modest sales. The true purpose was to showcase the brand, attracting young customers to showrooms. For years, the automakers produced limited editions for NASCAR, drag racers, and the occasional buyer. It wasn't until 1964, with the introduction of the John DeLorean-designed Pontiac GTO, that the Muscle Car Era began in earnest. The GTO was based on the run-of-the-mill Pontiac Tempest, with a significantly upgraded engine and a host
of options. Despite its spartan interior, questionable handling and poor braking, the blazingly fast, affordable GTO was a hit. Though GM anticipated selling a mere 5,000 GTOs a year, the model sold in excess of 35,000. Other carmakers quickly followed suit, stripping their sedate sedans of excess weight, and adding in power and performance upgrades. These included the Dodge Charger, Ford Torino, Plymouth Road Runner and the Chevrolet Chevelle. The cars dominated youth sales for the better part of a decade. The trend died a quick death. Between 1970 and 1973. The Clean Air Act meant automakers had to markedly increase fuel efficiency by shrinking engines. Public safety campaigns by Ralph Nader and others would require the quality and cost of vehicles to go up and power to go down. Insurance companies raised rates. And, finally, the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo saw a rapid and sustained increase in the price of fuel, and a lowering of fuel quality. Despite its ignominious death, the muscle car still commands strong feelings of nostalgia among car enthusiasts. Quality examples today can command a price exceeding that of a new luxury car. Again seizing on the desires of the car-loving public, American automakers are reviving old nameplates and styling in an attempt to cultivate another golden age of American muscle. CLICK HERE FOR A CALENDAR OF UPCOMING CAR SHOWS AMERICAN PATRIOT 13
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“[The Camp David Accords] prove that with good faith and some courage on both sides and with strong support and encouragement from the United States of America, particularly at the highest level, that very difficult problems in the Middle East can be overcome, that Israel and its neighbors can negotiate successfully an agreement for peace that's mutually beneficial and that it can last for a long time. As a matter of fact, the treaty that we worked out between Israel and Egypt, not a single word of it has ever been violated on either side." — PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER ON THE SUCCESSFUL TALKS BETWEEN ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER MENACHEM BEGAN AND EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT ANWAR EL-SADAT THAT CONCLUDED IN THE ISRAELI-EGYPTIAN PEACE TREATY OF 1979.
14 AMERICAN PATRIOT
THIS WEEK IN
1934. Arguably the greatest of all golf tournaments, The Masters tees off in early April. The first such tournament began in 1934 when Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts decided to hold an annual event. Interestingly, they first called the competition the Augusta National Invitation Tournament because Jones thought â€œThe Mastersâ€? was too pretentious. The current name did not stick until 1940. Horton Smith won the first tournament but he did not wear the famed Kelly-green winners jacket now so closely identified with the event; it was not introduced until 1937 and did not become world-renowned until Sam Snead donned it in 1949.
AMERICAN PATRIOT 15
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