"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Apollonian or Dionysian? This is the key distinction. The Massachusetts state of mind is modeled on Apollo, the sun god and far-darting bowman, as in Shelley's "Hymn of Apollo":
I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself and knows itself divine;
All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine is mine...
Ted Williams, more like a god than a man, was Apollo in a Red Sox uniform. Bill Russell of the immortal Celtics drew an uncrossable Apollonian line against Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers. John F. Kennedy was bewitchingly cool Apollonian rationality and restraint in a Massachusetts politician. Barney Frank and the late Tip O'Neill (in the "Sodom and Begorrah" congressional delegation) are Dionysian exceptions that prove the Apollonian rule. Dionysus was the "jolly god," the god of earth and wine and animal spirits, promoter of civilization and lover of peace. But the distinctive heroes of Massachusetts mythology, from Emily Dickinson to Pedro Martinez, reenact the Apollonian drama of the mind in triumph over nature.
Re religion, Lydon writes:
Catholic or Protestant? Massachusetts has always felt to me like a Protestant place, probably because the dominant Catholics here of the Irish persuasion have so much Calvinist Puritanism bred into them (us!). It's another instance where the best statistics tell you very little.
Interesting stuff, from a thought-provoking publication: See also their American political map, Beyond Red & Blue.