Monday, November 10, 2008
What IS a Transylvania Gentleman?
Believe it or not, it's only a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of this blog. And after nearly a year of being asked "so, uh, what IS a Transylvania Gentleman, anyway?", I'll try to elaborate somewhat.
First, formulate in your mind's eye the image of the classic old-school "Kentucky Gentleman" mythical archetype. You know, the string tie, the cane, the hip flask of bourbon, a silver cigarette case in one inner coat pocket and a silver cigar tube in the other. Perhaps a fancy Zippo in another pocket, and a deck of cards and pair of dice in yet another. And maybe a tin of British snuff, pocket knife, today's racing form, condoms, and a little black book. (Obviously, Kentucky Gentlemen need a lot of pockets to lug around all their gee-gaws and guy-goods.)
Now, fold in the concept of Transylvania, which is what this area used to be called before a bunch of crooked bankers and politicians stole it fair and square from pioneers Richard Henderson and Daniel Boone. Many Kentuckians today look to Transylvania as a symbol of Kentucky's former frontier glory days, much in the same way the Weimar Republic is viewed as a symbol of more glorious times for Germany before World War II.
Combine the two concepts and you've almost got it. But it's important to throw in a little philosophical line-drawing in the sand:
First of all, this is a boy-blog. Though Professor Dockery and I are hardly textbook examples of macho, we recognize a certain value in the concept of the private gentlemen's society, from the Knights Templar on down to the Little Rascals' He-Man Woman hater's club. Think of it as Maxim magazine for Kentucky louts and oddballs, or the early Playboy magazine, which filled a real void in the 1950s by presenting men with discerning tastes with info on where to buy the coolest new shit.
Secondly - and I can't stress this enough - you don't have to be wealthy to consider yourself a Transylvania Gentleman. The point is that, even if you live in a trailer in Brodhead, even if you're homeless, you are dead convinced of your own worthiness to have cool shit and lead the good life. That's self determinism, Jack. And the hallowed fraternal Old Older of Transylvania Gentlemen is here to tell you to that you deserve to drink fine liquor, smoke fine cigars, have cool toys, and wonderful women. You deserve it, dear reader, dude, as dictated by ancient decree from forces greater than you and I understand.
It is your Transylvanian heritage, young Jedi.
There's more yet unsaid, but truth is a four-dimensional cheese that must be approached carefully by three-dimensional rats.
- - JSH