I’ve been spending some time over at The Literature Network, a database of books in the public domain. I started with the first author on the list, a certain Henry Brooks Adams, who as it turns out was a descendant of former US presidents John Quincy Adams and John Adams. The book is entitled Democracy, an American Novel, and takes a close look at politics of the late 19th Century. One of the characters in the story takes a jab at my home state, good ole CT:
“Are you financier enough, Mr. French, to know what are the most famous products of Connecticut?”
Mr. French modestly suggested that he thought its statesmen best answered that description.
“No, sir! even there you’re wrong. The showmen beat you on your own ground. But every child in the union knows that the most famous products of Connecticut are Yankee notions, nutmegs made of wood and clocks that won’t go. Now, your Civil Service Reform is just such another Yankee notion; it’s a wooden nutmeg; it’s a clock with a show case and sham works. And you know it! You are precisely the old-school Connecticut peddler. You have gone about peddling your wooden nutmegs until you have got yourself into Congress, and now you pull them out of your pockets and not only want us to take them at your own price, but you lecture us on our sins if we don’t.”
Ascribed to the character Senator Ratcliffe, an Illinois Congressman, in chapter three.
This got me too thinking about what Connecticut’s most famous products are today. ESPN and WWE come to mind, both of which are now worldwide institutions for better or worse. I’m still not sold on the statesmen, especially Lieberman and former Governor Rowland. What else is there? Yuppies?