If you’ve met John Hammontree, you probably know at least these three facts:
He loves Kanye West.
He’s a huge Disney fan.
He’s really into politics.
Then it won’t be a surprise when you hear what Hammontree selected as the album, film and book that most shaped him.
Hammontree, who is in charge of opinions and commentary for AL.com, is a cohost of Triple Take. On each episode, we talk about the art that’s shaped us, and this week it’s his turn. Kanye West’s “The College Dropout,” “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” and “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren offer insight into why Hammontree is the man he’s become.
On Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”:
“I think he was giving us an invitation, way back in 2004, to come on this ride with him where he was going to be able to look at and comment on and reject materialism while also wanting to spend all his money at Jacob’s.”
On “Beauty and the Beast”:
“There was a thing that drove Walt Disney. He had a lot of darkness in his life, and he always tried to produce something good and light in order to combat that. That’s what I’ve always liked about Disney–it’s this nice ideal you can return to.”
On “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren:
“You can’t be a Southerner without being obsessed with the past. It’s impossible. It’s in our DNA, whether you’re somebody who’s obsessed with a lost cause or somebody who is obsessed with the civil rights movement or just obsessed with the 1966 Alabama football team. It’s a very nostalgic part of the country. I think part of that is because we are constantly reminded of our past in a way that other parts of the country, maybe outside of New England, aren’t. We are more reminded constantly with all of our past, and in a way that can be both romantic but also harshly critical. I think I do a lot of examining my own history but also looking at that through the prism of Southern history. You have to start breaking things down and trying to find the nuances there.”
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