Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Thoroughly Modern Woman

This past week, Andalusia welcomed our new media intern Kayla Doetsch (www.kaylajohanna.com), a mass communications student from Georgia College and State University. Over the next few months, Kayla will be helping to ramp up Andalusia’s social media interaction – posting her photographs and videos to our various sites. As Kayla explores the different ways to involve Andalusia with social media, we could not help but wonder what Flannery would have thought of all our endeavors. 

We are not the first to follow this line of purely speculative inquiry – Paige Henson of The Telegraph, and Mark Jurgensen, Andalusia’s former Visitor Services Manager and intrepid blogger, both delved into the subject in November, 2013 (http://andalusiafarm.blogspot.com/2013/11/flannery.html). Henson conjectured that O’Connor would have likely taken to social media, while Jurgensen was not so certain, suggesting that O’Connor was a Luddite due to her dislike of the “newfangled” electronic typewriters. The term Luddite is an interesting one – originally referring to a group of English workers from the early 19th century who, believing industrialization threatened their livelihoods, went on a rampage destroying the machinery that was thought to supplant them.

Luddite has since come to refer in general to those who oppose new technology or industrialization. While pondering this term, I reflect on the ways in which O’Connor and her mother, Regina, could hardly qualify as such. While the farming operations at Andalusia weren’t necessarily on the cutting edge of farming technology, they certainly kept up. O’Connor had even purchased a Hotpoint refrigerator/freezer for her mother in 1956 after she sold the TV rights to her short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” as well as a window A/C unit for her bedroom in the early 1960s. And although it is true that O’Connor preferred her Standard Royal Typewriter to the “newfangled” electric one, it was not because she was averse to advancements in technology – in fact, she had tried an electric typewriter provided by the Whipple Office Equipment Company for several weeks before sending it back, requesting they return her Standard Royal. While time distances us from O’Connor, it is worth remembering that she was not only a contemporary writer, but the various modern conveniences that she invested in also help to remind us that she was indeed a woman of her times.

April Moon, Operations & Visitor Services Manager
The Flannery O’Connor – Andalusia Foundation

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