Wait, There’s More
In our last issue we listed 48 things that wouldn’t exist (at least not as they are) without the Granite State. Seems we missed a few, but our readers were paying attention. Here are their additions to the list.
Keep in mind that we are factoring in the “butterfly effect,” which suggests that a change in one pixel of the time-space continuum can ripple throughout the cosmos and potentially change everything. For instance, if Velcro had never been invented in New Hampshire, who knows how many presidential candidates might have stepped on their own shoelaces while on treadmills at Planet Fitness and fallen into the path of a fast-rolling Segway during a New Hampshire primary and thereby never risen to power and influence. It’s a sobering thought.
And speaking of sober, did you know the world would not have the classic coming-of-age-while-intoxicated film “Animal House” were it not for Dartmouth College? Dartmouth’s notorious Alpha Delta fraternity house that inspired the film has had some rough times since then, and in 2015 Alpha Delta lost an appeal to stay on campus after it was accused of branding its pledges on the buttocks with hot pokers. While it might be better had that incident never occurred, think of the loss to American popular culture with no Bluto Blutarsky, and with John Belushi never getting the star moment that launched his film career. Feel free to quote your own favorite lines from the film, and then imagine a world that never heard Dean Vernon Wormer declare, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
And here’s another one from a slightly more family-friendly film: Imagine a world without Bambi. According to New Hampshire filmmaker/animator Diane Heller, the original animation artist for Bambi assured her that a photo of a New Hampshire deer was used as the model for Thumper’s best pal.
And without Bambi, there would have never been the cult short film “Bambi Meets Godzilla,” which is frequently listed as one of the most significant cartoons of the 20th century for influencing an entire generation of snarky animators. (Hello, “South Park”!)
Ever wonder why you hear so much about the need for presidential campaign finance reform but never hear about any actual reforms? So did our own feather-hatted wise woman of politics, the late Granny D, who, in 1999, began her walk across the entire country at age 89 to raise awareness of the malign influence of big political donations. Granny D (actually Doris Haddock of Dublin) even managed to get Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Claremont, to shake hands and agree to work on it. Not sure what happened with that, but at least it lifted the subject into hopeful visibility until the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision seemingly stabilized things at their worst.
Finally, one we shouldn’t have missed: Someone reminded me that our country’s shelf of home movies preserving all our favorite events, pastimes and people would be pretty bare without the exhaustive documentary work of Walpole’s Ken Burns.
After his most recent “big” documentary on American country music, Burns is tackling another smaller subject — assuming anything done regarding the great Ernest Hemingway could be considered “small.”
Burns’ new opus on Hemingway (just three episodes and six hours!) will air on PBS in April. And while you might think that there are no other connections between the Granite State and “Papa” Hemingway, think again. After their divorce, his first wife, Hadley Richardson Hemingway, met and married Paul Scott Mowrer — our state’s first poet laureate. She’s buried in the Chocorua Cemetery in Tamworth, joining a number of famous people who loved the soil of our state so well they literally became part of it.