Image by Peter Schrank, from The Economist
This long holiday weekend, as I sat in my in-laws' living room watching the "football" and sipping red wine, I flipped through a copy of that legendary publication all students of international politics are giddily attached to, The Economist. That is when I came across this article on two subjects near and dear to my heart: Dolly Parton and her happy little kingdom in Sevier County, Tennessee. It's a great little read and it gives me a taste of the happys. Let me give you a test paragraph:
Sophisticates sneer at Ms Parton's theme park. The Daily Express, a British paper owned by a man who also peddles pornography, calls it "tacky". But the values it represents are as American as a 3lb-pound slice of apple pie. Dollywood's calorific abundance is quite healthy compared with Hershey Chocolate World in Pennsylvania. Its patriotism seems restrained next to nearby Patriot Park, with its annual Patriot Festival. Its brand of Christianity is less in-your-face-than, say, the Holy Land Experience in Florida. It is tolerant, too. Ms Parton has many gay fans, who who hold unofficial get-togethers at her park. Her grandfather was a hellfire preacher, but Ms Parton has an empathy for sinners. As a girl, she thought the town hooker in her make-up and stilettos was the prettiest thing she had ever seen. "She was trash," Ms Parton tells interviewers, "And I thought: That's what I want to be when I grow up."Good stuff.