|This article won a "readers' choice" award|
from the Outdoor Blogger Network
This is not an album review or a book review. It wouldn't be fair. You see, I've read most everything that's been published by Hemingway and about Hemingway. The outdoorsman. The writer. The undependable human being. The loose cannon.
I have read detailed accounts of his good times, and even moreseo, his fascinating and horrible last years, culminating in his brutal suicide. I remain amazed at how sick the gifted mind can be. I've also marveled at the way advertisers, and human beings in general, can mythologize about such conflicted characters in history - reduce them to a cheesy tag line, or an advertising slogan. Ah, yes. Our idols.
In the bigger picture, why do we so easily dispose of accurate, complex descriptions of historical figures, and instead distill and photoshop those figures into a Dos Equis ad and say, "Awesome - I can relate to that!"? You may be asking, "Dos Equis? What in the world are you talking about?" Well, how about this redux of Hemingway, that pre-dates Kenny Chesney's album by a few years?
One review offered up that Dos Equis' character was like a hybrid of "Hemingway, Burt Reynolds, Bill Murray, Royal Tenenbaum, and Don Draper." Funny!
In so many ways, it's a re-manufacturing of a real human's life, to help their image fit a certain corporate product. Think about how scary - and sad - that is. Now think about how often you (or people you know) let these false personae into their lives, only to feel bad about not "measuring up" to the fake idol?
So........what of "Hemingway's Whiskey" particularly? Did Hemingway even drink whiskey? Well, it seems pretty certain that Hemingway drank anything and everything put in front of him, at some point during his life. Numerous sources (here's one) talk of his early love of wine, then rum "grog," then brandy, then wine again, then rum (the early Key West years), then more rum (the Cuba years), then Scotch and Soda (the later Key West years). And absolutely, there were gallons and gallons of whiskey mixed in there for good measure.
But in everything I've read, Hemingway never seemed to prefer whiskey. Which tells me that the song and album "Hemingway's Whiskey" reflect one of two things:
|Hemingway's Daiquiri - frowned|
upon by the Nashville
2) Perhaps Guy and Kenny came to the realization that their fans do not want to hear a poignant and tragic song about "Hemingway's Fruity Rum Drinks with Extra Whipped Cream and Triple Maraschinos." That makes "Hemingway's Whiskey" a marketing ploy for a specific group of people - not an honest song about hard times and a troubled mind.
|Real life is significantly darker than some beach bum tunes...|
Hemingway was an amazing human being and an outdoorsman of significant accomplishments. The dumbing-down of his story into a pop-country tune featuring a socially-acceptable liquor is a real shame, but it's no worse than a million other marketing ploys (or genuine public misunderstandings) that re-cast historical figures everyday. And in an era when the words "celebrity" and "outdoors" are increasingly written together....this is just the beginning of the rebranding. I urge you all - don't buy into it. Keep reading, keep learning why men and women in history did the things they did. Don't expect Hollywood and Nashville to give it to you straight.