Mention Appalachia in a room full of sophisticates, and let the jokes fall where they may. "Toothless hillbillies," "moonshine-drinkin' Daisy Maes" and "banjo-pickin' corncobs" will probably feature prominently in most of the jokes. Give the snobs a few moments to enjoy their jests, then drop the bomb on them: Their beloved New York Times was at one time helmed by Adolph Ochs, and said publisher hailed from the Appalachian region. HA! The Grey Lady has a little moonshine in her after all.
Jeff Biggers debunks the stereotypes about Mountaineers in his book The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture & Enlightenment to America, a rollicking journey to the truth about this maligned section of our nation. Biggers shows that far from being a backwater of ignorance, Appalachia has provided America with some of our greatest patriots, musicians, poets and socially progressive thinkers. He reads from and discusses his book at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Admission is free.
Tue., Feb. 7