February 9, 2011

February 9, 2011

The Virtue of the Golden Leaf

Several weeks ago, I spent a long weekend visiting friend-of-blog Amanda in the Raleigh/Durham area. Though not my first visit to The South, I definitely saw a few things that made me raise my eyebrows even more judgmentally than usual.

Like the Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum. An historic site so unabashedly pro-tobacco, one must respect its dedication to the proposition that all men are created equally prone to enjoy tobacco if they would just try it already, and also if the stupid health lobbies would just shutup.

The orientation film (title: “The Virtue of the Golden Leaf”) opens with quotes from stodgy Englishmen on the “evils” of tobacco. But since they’re British, they are obvious wrong, right?

Visitors then walk through a small museum where they learn the methods for growing, harvesting, and selling tobacco.

If you elect to go on the guided tour, you get to see the building where Washington Duke’s empire started.

It wasn’t much to begin with, but he managed to make enough to endow a pretty awesome university in perpetuity (Go Blue Devils!) and also, the entire RDU area.

So despite my enjoyment of clean cancer-free air, I thought this place was, well, a hoot. Your personal feelings about tobacco aside, you can’t deny its importance as a cash crop.

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