The image of Richard Weaver that sticks in my memory is a disturbing one. He is standing before an audience in a conference room at Vanderbilt University, his gnome-like features barely rising above the tall, polished oak podium that holds his manuscript. He wears a brown, wrinkled suit, shiny at the elbows; and at mid-morning he is already in need of a second shave.
Slightly nervous, he reads in an accent that is decidedly east Tennessee or western North Carolina; for despite his education and his years at the University of Chicago, he is still a mountain man, with a nasal twang and hard R’s that sometimes sound more Midwestern than deep South. Because he is straining, his voice becomes almost shrill against a background of nearby crashing and shouting. The audience leans forward, cupping their ears, trying to make out his words above the racket.
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