What lasts: an atlas of culture

In the 1920s, when Indiana was under the political control of the Ku Klux Klan, the Hoosier bard James Whitcomb Riley’s home town of Greenfield was one of the “sunset towns”: towns where no black person could safely be after dark.

In 1964 and ’65, when I resided in Greenfield (“lived” would be the wrong word), it was linguistically different from Indianapolis, just a few miles to the west. In Greenfield coffee was served in a two-syllable coo-up, what swam in water was a feesh, and if your car got stuck you’d have to give it a poosh. Also, at the time in Greenfield, everybody had to count their change after every purchase, because if they didn’t they’d be shorted every time.

Fifty-six years afterward, the New York Times reports this.



And Greenfield, here’s your money shot.




I feel very strongly that as governor, I need to protect the basic expectations of privacy that all individuals should be allowed to have, especially in the sanctity of a restroom.

— Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina. Colin Campbell, “Politicians seek to score points after NC nondiscrimination bill.” Miami Herald 25 March 2016. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article68212887.html


The word means “holiness.” Ultimately it derives from the Latin verb sancio, to make inviolable.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

— Exodus 3.5-6