KILL DEVIL HILL
As traditionalists endowed with deep veneration for that which was created before us, the Roger's crew believes that both Nature and Great Literature should be conserved for future generations. In the same way we inherited the Western Heritage, so too have we inherited the Earth, and it is our moral duty to preserve both for our children. What it all comes down to is that we have as much honor and respect for our forefathers as we do for our children, and thus we stand in stark contrast to the liberal boomers, who deconstructed their forefather's intellectual masterpieces, funded the desecration with their children's money, and are now in the process of abandoning them to a colossal debt.
Mountain peaks amidst October's glory,
I pause at the pinnacle, touch the point,
I tread lightly, leave with but a story,
with the fleeting view these words I anoint.
A field of raspberries, fourth of July,
For a moment I lose her amongst the rows,
Serene green 'neath the Carolina sky,
Silent, windless still, in my heart it grows.
Surging Hatteras surf in December,
Standing beyond the breakers on my board,
I often voyage here to remember,
The tranquil sublimity of the Lord.
These are the places I pause, stand in awe,
Of man's freedom under Natural Law.
In the spirit of preserving theWestern traditions and the earth's natural beauty and resources, we have established a new site, www.killdevilhill.com, dedicated to conserving the Great Books and The Great Outdoors.
The Roger's crew are great fans of hiking, windsurfing, and mountain-biking, but rather than smoking a joint at an outdoor concert on Earth Day, like an eco-feminist might do, we'd rather read poetry by a campfire. Rather than viewing science, technology and the free market system as responsible for environmental degradation, while accusing man of "raping" the earth, we'd rather study science and engineering, for we view science and technology as great assets for identifying environmental problems, cleaning up the environment, allowing us to devise more energy-efficient devices, and providing renewable energy sources. Rather than seeing big government as a solution to environmental problems and cultural problems such as illiteracy, we see the moral, free-thinking individual as the solution. Children shouldn't read because the President sets aside a few billion dollars for educational bureaucrats, but they should read because it is something that their parents hold as sacred. But due to the secularization of society, and the misapplication of the scientific method to the soul, many children today grow up without parents, or at least without their own, and I say that a child is best taught of honor, love, and committment by parents who honor, love, and commit. Freudian scholars and assorted perverts have delighted in the fact that Darwin demonstrated man to be related to apes. Because apes (like scientists) refrain from making value judgments which lead to oppressive institutions such as marriage, the liberal experts have gleefully concluded that humanities professors should also refrain from making value judgments. And so it is that fathers and mothers are freed from the divine task of raising their children, while the tax-paying citizen is called upon to pay government bureaucrats to do it. In this value-free context, Toni Morrison can be better than Shakespeare, and Joyce Carol Oates can be better than the Bible. In fact she is better, for the Bible makes value judgments, and thus it is banned from schools, while Oates' sick profanity flows freely, protected by the First Amendment. This is definitely what Jefferson, who credited God with granting us liberty when He gave us life, had in mind.
The free-market system cannot tolerate the contamination of the environment. Polluting air, water, and land is a violation of private property rights, and too, if the innocent party incurs the costs of cleanup, they are helping to pay for the polluter's production, which runs counter to the principles of the free market. And by contaminating the air which we breathe or water which we drink, the polluter is charging us far more than mere money, as we end up paying for their cheaper production with our health. The free-market system must exist within a moral context, where laws exist not to empower regulative bureaucracies, but to preserve justice. Prudence marks the often fine line between these two manifestations of law, and thus the Word, by which we grasp the subtle and define morality, must be honored, preserved, and passed along in our educational institutions. A sound mind and a sound body exist in symbiotic equilibrium, and thus conserving the Western heritage and the Good Earth are one and the same occupation.
Those endowed with veneration, those who value tradition, are both cultural and environmental conservatives. T.S. Eliot said, "I would not have it thought that I condemn a society for its material ruin, for that would be to make its material success a sufficient test of its excellence; I mean only that a wrong attitude towards nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude towards God, and that the consequence is an inevitable doom. For a long time we have believed in nothing but the values arising in a mechanized, commercialized, urbanized way of life: it would be as well for us to face the permanent conditions upon which God allows us to live on this planet. . . We have been accustomed to regard progress as always integral; and have yet to learn that it is only by an effort and a discipline, greater than society has yet seen the need of imposing on itself, that material knowledge and power is gained without the loss of spiritual knowledge and power." And too, Russel Kirk echoed these sentiments, as he rejected the "practical conservatism which has degenerated into mere laudation of private enterprise, economic policy almost wholly surrendered to special interests." He "indignantly denie[s] that his conservatism could or should be identified with businessmen." Kirk condemns, "the modern spectacle of vanished forests and eroded lands, wasted petroleum and ruthless mining, as evidence of what an age without veneration does to itself and its successors."
But again, we do not see this as an attack on the free-market system, but rather it is a criticism of a free market in an amoral context, a free market sans veneration. A free market system without a sense of poetry, in which poetry has been banned-- and thus it is not a true free market system which we criticize, but the shell of one. Rather than adversely affecting the economy, responsible environmental regulation can spur new industries, such as those which have been successful in California. Companies dedicated to environmental assessment and cleanup, as well as to the development of renewable energy sources and more energy-efficient devices, have become part of a multi-billion dollar sector. A future issue of THE JOLLY ROGER will be devoted to conservative environmentalism, and at www.killdevilhill.com, Elliot is setting up a web page dedicated to environmental physics.
Carolina sky, cutting edge of rock,
On top of the world, the blue ridge mountains,
She touches me-- soaring right there's a hawk,
Stationary-- on the thermal fountains.
Unpromised promises, understood pledge,
In parallel, silent understanding,
So close that words would only be a wedge,
Always there and yet never demanding.
Shared belief and quiet fascination,
Appreciation of the subtle things,
Curious about an explanation,
Yet knowing without the hawk spreads his wings.
Not what you intend, but how you play it,
True love is never having to say it.
Reflecting on the beauty inherent in nature, Richard Weaver once said, "What humane spirit, after exposure to modern journalism and advertising, has not found relief in fixing his gaze upon some characteristic bit of nature? It is escape from the sickly metaphysical dream. Out of the surfeit of falsity born of technology and commercialism we rejoice in returning to primary data and to assurance that the world is a world of enduring forms which in themselves are neither brutal nor sentimental." This is why it's awesome to get out to Kill Devil Hill every now and then, to mingle with the first principles, and let the ocean wind polish the essence of existence that often becomes tarnished in landlocked souls. Poetry is best read in nature's company.
There are a number of reasons which guided our choice of the name killdevilhill.com, and some of them are rooted in the legends about how Kill Devil Hills originally got its name, which are as numerous as the sandy dunes that line this Outer Banks beach town. The name Killdevil Hills first appears on a map in 1808. Kill Devil Hills begins showing up on maps of the northern Outer Banks around 1814.
One popular account concerning the origin of Kill Devil Hill says the town was named after a Jamaican rum called Kill Devil that was described in historical accounts as a hot, hellish, terrible liquor. William Byrd, returning to Virginia after a 1728 trip to the barrier islands, reported drinking rum that was strong enough to kill the devil.
A far-fetched variation on the tale says a ship carrying a cargo of the caustic liquor wrecked offshore. A resident nicknamed Devil Ike volunteered to guard the rum. Not wanting to snitch on neighbors who stole the coveted cargo by tying ropes around crates and dragging them off with horses, Devil Ike explained that the devil had stolen the goods, but he had caught and killed the devil by the sand hills. However, we're not big drinkers aboard The Roger, and this doesn't have too much to do with why we chose the name.
The term "kill" is a Dutch generic term meaning stream or channel and the term "devil" used to refer to a sand spout or whirling dervish. While the combination of these two terms in this area utilizing their meanings is plausible, it is not likely because there was no Ducth influence in this area. A more acceptable explanation of the name origin is that the area was once the home of many Killdee or Killdeer, a common shore bird, and the name evolved from Killdeer Hill to Kill Devil Hill.
Kill Devil Hill is the largest sand dune of the group, and it's also the site of man's first powered flight. From infront of this ninety-foot dune, that is now marked by a trapezoidal national monument commemorating aviation's original event, Wilbur and Orville Wright completed the world's first powered airplane flight on December 17, 1903. Although they lacked formal technical training, the brothers also conceived of and built the first wind-tunnel, so as to conduct the extensive studies of wing sections which eventually made flight possible. Before this the two entrepreneurs ran a printing press and published the daily paper in Dayton Ohio, until the bicycle became a hit in the late nineteenth century, whereupon they sold the paper and opened a bike shop. The idea of powered flight, having lodged itself in their souls as children, inspired them to experiment with kites in their free time, and it was by doing so that they conceived of a way in which an airplane might be steered by warping the wings. It is this same basic principle which is responsible for the steering of all aircraft today. They were the classic American entrepreneurs, and reading about their stalwart, unwaivering faith in their ability to accomplish the supposedly impossible is a total inspiration. Imagine designing and building an airplane without power tools, without government grants-- with cloth, wire and wood-- and then, after that, learning to fly it. And thus we salute the Wright Brothers.
Yet another legend says that a banker, who had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for gold, had made an agreement to buy his soul back at the top of Kill Devil Hill. The banker dug a hole at the top of the hill, and when the Devil came to collect his money, the banker stood before the hole, holding out the bag of gold. The Devil, not discerning the hole, fell down it, and the banker subsequently covered him with sand. And thus the Devil was killed in the hill, which is pretty cool, although a bit hard to believe.
One final legend concerning the derivation of Kill Devil Hill states that Eighteenth-century sailors navigating the sound reported that the area's shallow waters were enough to "kill the devil to navigate." The hill stands as a Northern marker of the Outer Banks and the, "Graveyard of the Atlantic." "It would kill the Devil to navigate that hill," is how one Florida-bound Virginia sailor put it.
And we too have heard it time and again that it would kill the devil to navigate the hills of contemporary popular culture, and create a common literary context where words exalt the sober soul, awaken the moral imagination, and endow our existence with honorable meaning rooted in the eternal forms. "It would kill the devil," to navigate through the slacker-smoke-a-joint-MTV-U2-commercial-trainspotting-god-is-dead-neon-postmodern rock fog, avoiding the ever-shifting shoals of selfish relativism-inspired bureacracies, steering clear of the ever-growing shallow shoals of women's studies departments and multicultural curriculums, and navigating around the waterlogged hulls of intellectually-indifferent admini$tration$. But we've done it, and we're going to keep on doing it, with verve, tenacity, commitment, courage, confidence and honor. And I've come here today, to stand upon Kill Devil Hill and claim it as ours, to say that we, the intellectual rebels of The
Jolly Roger, are here to redeem the times, redeem the dream, and deliver a literary and cultural renaissance. The sword of our imagination is drawn, not to attack the nihilistic postmodern fog, but to defend that which we create.
We don't mind slackademics-- they're pretty much harmless unless you happen to run aground in their departments-- but we're tired of funding their arrogant nihilism. And while the NEA, the NEH, PBS, NPR, and University Presses each claim that they only soak up a very small fraction of tax dollars, when you add them all up, it's more than a few doubloons. And plus it's not just the money we're concerned about-- it's the vast cultural costs incurred by the socialization of the arts, for it allows failed-artist bureaucrats to redefine literature and art as something that people fund instead of enjoy. The artist and intellectual no longer exist to serve the people, but the people exist to serve the artist and intellectual. While The Jolly Roger, sailing under the flag of the free-market system, has become the world's largest literary frigate without one nickel from the government, our tax dollars are continuously being plundered to support university presses which publish the NEA-funded lesbian literature which get advertised on NPR and praised in NEH-funded journals. What the crew would like to see happen is for the government to sever their funding, so that the artificial socialistic barriers to Greatness that we're forced to pay for, which we have been forced to navigate around, would be removed, and the Natural waterways would open up for literary commerce in the free marketplace of ideas. Thus the honest man would be afforded the opportunity to make a living serving the contemporary soul with a literary renaissance. I've been walking the streets as of late, and I say it's what my generation wants.
Just as the Wright brothers heard countless times that flight was impossible from the contemporary experts, so too do we hear time and again that being a conservative and an environmentalist is impossible, that believing in God and being an intellectual is unlawful. Time and again we hear from college loan-subsidized slackademics that Great Literature is gone for good, that rhyming, metered poetry is dead, along with moral absolutes, that marriage is an antiquated patriarchal form of oppression, that life fundamentally sucks, and thus that it is cool to drink, induce drugs, and kill your eternal soul because it never existed in the first place. It has become cool to resign yourself to the fleeting pleasures derived from consuming the material, adopt the slacker attitude, and refrain from passing judgment on the dark side of the sixties, during which the traditions which served men for thousands of years, which provided children with parents, husbands with wives, and people with meaning, were razed so as to clear the way for secular government bureaucracies and mallapalooza. And woe to the liberal boomers when my generation sobers up, when the adolescent buzz fades, and we awaken to tomorrow's cultural void. For in the beginning, in the absolute void, God said let there be light, and if ever darkness should fall, He shall say it again.
For now, now that there's little left to deconstruct on college campuses, now that the spiritual institutions and traditions that rock'n'roll rebelled against no longer exist, it's time for this generation to turn down the radio, turn off the TV, pick up the Great Books, and pen new works within their rich context.
Set sail searching for the land of meaning,
Where love endured and promises were kept,
Where God inspired the mystical dreaming,
Words captured secrets misty May nights wept.
Where character mattered, the truth triumphed,
A generation knew love once again,
By virtuous actions vile thoughts were trumped,
Late Misty May nights were captured in pen.
Rock'n'roll replaced by the rock of ages,
Contexts nobler than mere pictures and sound,
With Shakespeare, Melville, all the silent sages,
Eternal forms, the permanent profound.
Those things ye seek, ye'll find within yer will,
For that is where I found Kill Devil Hill.
And as I stand on Kill Devil Hill, my shadow stretching towards the ocean as the sun sinks over America, my spirit answers that whimpering call of the forgotten Truth's distress, taking it beyond the breakers, beyond the Diamond Shoals, beyond the dusky horizon that my limited eyesight presents me with. And I'm scared. For inspite of my private optimism, which marks me as a madman in New York literary circles, there are times I have sensed that my generation no longer cares, that we have become jaded, that we have become slackers, that we have lost the hope and desire for the rational dream, for a common grounding, for a deeper meaning, for a profound existence, for religion. That we have lost hope along with values, meaning along with faith, that we have lost the Word. I have heard and sometimes sensed that words mean nothing, as I have seen promises forfeited upon, friends jilted, and the dishonest excel as if dishonesty were a merit. I have sensed an indifference out on the streets to the fact that while nine out of every one thousand marriages ended in divorce in 1950, now over five-hundred do. I have heard that we believe that God doesn't exist, that relationships are for temporal, physical gratification, that two-parent families are an antiquated ideal, founded upon ignorant myths. I have heard that art and history are over, that aesthetic right and wrong are indistinguishable, that postmodern secularism has triumphed, and thus that the noble individual should shoot heroin, pick up a guitar, and resign himself to serving the bureaucracy that sedates the dreamless multitudes. All these elements have been weighing upon my landlocked spirit, and now, with my soul set free upon its mission, I stand here on Kill Devil Hill, apprehensively awaiting its return. For even if it should be successful in navigating the shifting shoals and reaching the forgotten Truths, it shall not find reason to return without that second voice.
And when my spirit reaches that undiscerned locale beyond the breakers, when it mingles with the Greats who have reflected upon God before me, out where Truth and the first principles are indistinguishable, where words find handholds upon the rock of our eternal souls, where we're inspired to think in infinities and aspire towards eternities, I find that I don't hear one single voice calling me back, but I hear 12,000, where only one would have been enough.
And so I invite you to stand on top of Kill Devil Hill, and witness firsthand these things that I have spoken of. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
All the best, Becket Knottingham, February, 1997
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 1997 14:45:40 GMT
Subject: Drake raft
Hello there Elliot.. You may be wondering who the hell i am.. well i met you two summers ago in Linda's bar on Franklin St. I was the English nanny, friends with the spanish girl Pillar. Well anyway i read your book that you sold me..The Drake Raft Field Trip (The Tragedy of Drake Raft). I was really engrossed by it when i took it babysitting with me and their dogs decided they wanted it for lunch.. So now i am left at the part where they were gonna have a concert?? What the hell happened at the end.. please tell me.. I hope that you are still using this Email. from Hazel Butler.
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Avast! I've seen liberals do the same thing to Shakespeare! Of course we'll send ye a new on! The Drake Raft Field Trip can be bought at http://jollyroger.com/drft.html
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 10:34:00 -0700
Subject: I know your pen
Captain, or maybe I should say Elliot,
Ahoy how ye be good matie? I tried to send this mail once, but apparently I have screwed up and will have to send it again. I have just finished reading your news letter for this month. It says you're a ghost. Well I will tell you Captain or maybe I should say Elliot, I know your pen, and the true answer to the mystery of the Jolly Roger. I haven't spoken until now out of love for your work. The fact still stands that by any name you hold a pretty pen. I have read "The Drake Raft Field trip" and loved it. I tip my hat to ye, to speak the truth can be a hard thing to do. At the same time running a ship can be a hard thing to do as well. I dabble both in html and in writing poetry, and I lend my fingers or my pen to your service. I currently am going to order my own copy of the D.R.F.T. and your sonnets, I would like to support the good ship as much a possible. If there was a time when I wanted to send the good ship a picture, a little art work, how would I go about it? Take care of yourself Elliot, may the Lord protect you and keep you.
At the good ships service,
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: At yer service, matie, and God bless ye too.
From: goleson@-------- To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Ahoy!
As I read your Declaration of Independence From Slackers, I thought of this Heinlein quotation that might strike your fancy:
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as bad luck."
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Ahoy! America's about protecting the individual so that all might benefit. America rocks.
From: Jonas Made
To: Red Avenger
Subject: Re: Welcome aboard THE JOLLY ROGER!
Thank you! I have just seen the future of literature laid out before me, and it is beeeeautiful!
The problems you describe are just as endemic in Britain - desperate... I have formed a small literary group here in Durham which coincidentally conforms to the JR constitution; we will be bringing out an anthology sometime in 97 so if you're interested in reviewing it (I would be honoured) let me know.
Inspiring, truly inspiring!
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Avast! The UK rocks too!
Subject: Your sonnets
I'm a physics major at Sam Houston State University and I must admit I just fell in love with the sonnets. Is there any chance that they are all published somewhere somehow? (If there's info in the site on this don't get mad at me, I just got too excited and didn't bother to read anything else.) Also, I am the secretary for our chapter of the Society of Physics Students and thus mainly in charge of coming up with new t-shirt designs (being the most creative one helps too) and I was wondering if there was any way (If my chapter agrees to it) for us to print one of the sonnets (with all pertinent information as well) on some shirts. We are a non-profit organization and we use the money from t-shirt sales to help pay for food, gas, and hotels at zone meetings and also for our annual scholarship given to a qualifying member.
Oh, if you're interested at all, I would be more than happy to send you copies of the designs of the shirts that I created in either text or Word Perfect format.
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Avast! Feel free to use the sonnets, as long as ye send us some shirts. You can buy Drake's collected sonnets at http://jollyroger.com/loot.html
To: "'-Raft, Drake'"
Cc: "Coman, Curtis"
Subject: Trial by Moonlight
Ahoy, Red Avenger!
Billy Bones reportin' fer dooty, sir. The latest issue of the Jolly Roger was, as usual, excellent. You fellows do have a knack for pouring out your soul.
I re-read "A Nantucket Ghost Story" when you re-sent it back in October, and that, combined with some of the sonnets in the last JR, got me to thinking a lot about my younger days (I'm only 34, but I'm happily married now with two children, a cat, and a house in Atlanta, so there's been some water under the bridge since those days!). I was reminded of a little ploy I used to use when I was living in Virginia, amongst the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and I went out on the occasional date. There was a special spot along the road near my house where, after dinner or a movie, I would park, we would get out of the car, and look out over the valley near my town. There were no lights for miles around ,and there would be the dark pastures and woods before us, and above us a black field of stars spread out across the Southern sky. I didn't necessarily have any romantic designs (although there were a few girls whom I wouldn't have minded cuddling up a little closer to!)...I just wanted someone with whom I could share the moment.
I guess it was a test of sorts; I wanted to see how the girl reacted to this sort of sight. What was I looking for? Perhaps a commonality of feeling, a sense that she, too, understood that we are more than the sum of our parts, that there is wonder and beauty around us ( and within us) if we only take the time to look and don't allow the cares of this world or the nihilistic intelligentsia to take it from us. I guess I was looking for the same thing you were looking for in the graveyard. A few years later, I found the girl who understood my longing perfectly, because she felt it too, and we've been married for ten years now.
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Cool story-- I'm sure you guys will continue to have fun and things. It's always a pleasure to hear from ye, Billy Bones.
From: Debby Jerez
Subject: silence poem
I'd appreciate it greatly if ye'd ship me a copy of the bit about perfect silence. My e-mail is djerez@brill---------- I was intrigued with those insightful words, and I've a mate or two that'd enjoy them just as I did. Thank-you for yer time good sir. -Lilbrat(a homesick deckswab)
THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Avast! Here's Silence-- by Drake Raft
I know where the most perfect silence is,
Seen it in the wild blue off Hatteras,
A mile out, rainbowed sails in silent bliss,
Looked like they'd collide, but they safely passed.
I know when the most perfect silence is,
Down a dusty Ohio road, high noon,
No shirt on, being burned by the sun's kiss,
Sixteen, takin' my time-- it was still June.
I know what the most perfect silence is,
It's what we say when falling out of love,
It roars and thunders right through the kiss,
Says all that no words can ever speak of.
I know why the most perfect silence is,
It is there for the whisper to be born,
The whisper in her ear became the kiss,
Just a dream in DC early one morn.
I know who the perfect silence is for,
It is for the ones whom we love the best,
It is there to protect them from our core,
By the silent trust we all seek to rest.
And I know how rare that silence can be,
With everyone talkin', it's hard to hear,
But I know I felt it, on the streets of DC,
The sound in her eyes-- it was crystal clear.
And it brought back to mind the rainbowed sails,
And the way it looked like they would collide,
Like two souls set upon fate's iron rails,
But the most perfect silence never died.
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