Saturday, February 20, 2010

Derby Season

Ugh. I dislike Derby Season more with each passing year in Kentuckiana. Joe & I had the good sense to abandon our Jeffersonville apartment in favor of the cabin in French Lick for Thunder Over Louisville this year. Thankfully the Our Haven Beltane festival happens concurrently with actual Derby day, giving us a convenient excuse to leave town each year before the mint-julip flavored madness sets in. (I far prefer a nice light melomel, or a woodruff-muddled rhine wine for this time of year, thank-you-very-much.) I've never been much for the slavish devotion to Old South tradition that crops up in our otherwise surprisingly liberal city during the first days of May, nor the weekend-warrior class of seersucker suited bourbon gentry that prefer to mask their spring debauchery in the form of a horse race rather than a more frank, sexual, and pagan form.
Each year at this time I like to read the reflections of a certain native Louisvillian on his experiences at the Derby. Hunter S. Thompson's "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" was his first ever article written in the "Gonzo" style he would go on to make legendary. For me Thompson's article validates my choice to seek tradition for this hallowed weekend in a deeper way than the near-Roman vomitorium spectacle of the Churchill Downs infield. Dance around a maypole, race around a track. The rose garlands are all the same. The libations will flow as freely. A winner is crowned. Spring is triumphant.

Reposted from MySpace blog April 28, 2008

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