Monday, January 28, 2008

Disdain for the Rural in Vandalization of Robert Frost Home

A story by Dan Barry in yesterday's New York Times tells of the vandalism of Robert Frost's farm house in Ripton, Vermont. The story is titled "A Violation of Both the Law and the Spirit." It's not at all clear that the drunken youths who had a party there, vomiting, urinating, and spraying the fire extinguishers as a parting gesture, knew the history and significance of the house. One anecdote, which Barry no doubt shares for shock effect, certainly caught my attention: An officer at the state police barracks where some of the youths were booked for unlawful trespass and unlawful mischief tells of one of them, apparently unrepentant and unruffled by his arrest, asking if he could use his mugshot on his Facebook page.

To me, the youths' actions constitute a disregard for more than Robert Frost and his "spirit." They represent more than the defilement of a historic house. In part because of the house's locale, in part because of who Frost was, they show disdain for the very rurality that the poet observed so keenly and about which he wrote so eloquently.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know, of course, but it's possible that you overestimate the thought and care that the youths put into their actions. It's possible that they just picked a rural location because it was easier to not get caught in a place out in the woods. It could have been a disdain of the rural, of course, but from your account, it's hard to see the basis for a conclusion that it was a political statement.