Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Monday, May 9, 2016
Chesapeake Bay Journal I : Chestertown
High Street in Chestertown (photograph: Jennifer Schmidt)
The Eastern Shore of Maryland lies on the Chesapeake Bay.
Chestertown, a village along the Eastern Shore, with a revolutionary heritage is famous for
its Tea Party Festival. Back in 1774 the inhabitants of Chestertown showed their allegiance to their Boston confreres, and to British sanctions, by prohibiting the buying and selling of
tea. You may recall that tea is a nickname for marijuana, but life was simpler
back in those days and one wonders how the current populace stand with respect
to the Tea Party today. Maryland straddles the lines between the blue and red
states. For instance The Chestertown Spyran a piece entitled “GOP Candidates Bring Anti Government Message to Government’s Backyard” (4/21/16) The crux of
the article dealt with the fact that the tea party message of small government
might not resonate in a place where so many people, due to the proximity to
Washington, enjoyed the benefits of federal jobs. The Spy reported,“The fact
is, 503,000 hold local, state and federal government jobs, according to March
statistics from the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. That
accounts for roughly one in five jobs in the state. In addition, the federal
government alone spent $15,834 per person in Maryland in fiscal 2014—27.5
percent of the state's total economic output, according to a Pew Charitable
Trusts study released in March. Only Virginia receives more federal dollars per
person.” You try to absorb facts like these as you drive through the flat
verdant landscape abutting the tidewaters, famed for its crab cakes. If
you gravitate to traditional plantation redoubts you might want to try the
gracious Southern Style Brampton Inn situated amidst refulgent landscaped
gardens. Is this the world the Tea Party wants to preserve? Maybe so, but the
irony is that for the residents of Kent County in which Chestertown sits, the
Federal government is the biggest show in town. You can’t run a luxury inn
unless you have someone to butter your bread.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.