It is distressing to many that President Obama chose not to attend ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address. But the president, no doubt, has his reasons and among them, the one most deserving of respect, perhaps, is the fact that he is an orator, himself and … well doesn’t want to invite comparisons that are less than flattering.

It’s what Flannery O’Connor had in mind, no doubt, when she wrote of the challenges the sheer presence of William Faulker created for the Southern writer:

The presence alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down.


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