Pipe Culture: The Aristocrat and The Farmer

Episode 234 · January 31st, 2018 · 59 mins 6 secs

About this Episode

This episode of Country Squire Radio is brought to you by Missouri Meerschaum and the Tin Society. We thank them for supporting this show, and we thank you for supporting them.

Episode 234: Pipe Culture - the Aristocrat and the Farmer

Welcome & Housekeeping: Jon David continues to lament on the struggles of life and how much his pipe has been an asset. Beau talks about Best of Jackson 2018, for which CSR was nominated for best local podcast. It did not win, however Beau’s Podastery podcast ‘Let’s Talk Jackson’ did win. Raleigh Pipe Expo Reception Party coming up soon on April 6, from 5-9pm at the Ramada Inn on Blue Ridge Rd. in Raleigh, NC. The Pipe & Tobacco Expo is on Saturday April 7th, 9am-4:30pm in the Holshauser Building at the NC State Fairgrounds. Texas Pipe Show Oct. 6 2018, additional info to come. Brady Muckelroy (listener) missed the Custom Cob Competition auctions, but made a huge extra donation. Next Custom Cob Competition may be on a different holiday this year, stay tuned! Jon David congratulates Peter Massey on his 100th Loyal Squire’s punchcard, which amounts to 150lbs purchased tobacco from the Country Squire. New pipe club members announced (I won’t try to butcher their names in text as well.) Addendum note: NOLA Pipe Club will be taking a day trip to the Squire on Saturday 2/24.

Topic: JD and Beau reopen the discussion on Pipe Culture, specifically looking at pipe smoking archetypes with community commentary provided by listeners, all detailed below. Additional thanks to www.reddit.com/r/pipetobacco for their contributions to this episode.

/u/SupraMario – “I'm in between both, I've got money to blow on lbs of tobacco and pipes I want...but don't (ok ok, not on the TAD part on the PAD I restrain myself). I own a farm but am a pencil pusher by day...So not poor, not super rich, own a farm, but work in an office.”

/u/LaphroaigianSlip – “The archetypes in my mind are this; one smokes a smooth red stain or black painted briar and the other smokes a humble cob. The briar has a brass or silver ash guard while the cob is unfinished and uneven at the top. The briar is either a Dublin or Billiard. The cob looks somewhere in between the style of Missouri Meerschaum's Mark Twain and The General. That is, the American farmer. The western European farmer would have a more local pipe made of briar, a small pipe with brown stain. Further east you might imagine someone farming in the hills of Greece with a simple bent Meerschaum, enjoying some Latakia with a bottle of ouzo. Further East still I in vision a Chinese farmer coming home in the evening. He sits down with his bamboo pipe. A durable piece that can last a lifetime, even be passed on generationally like a briar while having similar markings to the well worn corn cob pipe, familiar with being handled by dirty hands. It has the markings of earnest and frequent use. The central idea being that the farmer has his pipe from a more local and practical place while the aristocratic has the luxury of smoking something from another continent. The aristocrat has a clean smooth pipe, one in a rotation while the farmer's pipes each see daily use.”

Dillon Shalinder (sp?) – “When I think about the aristocrats, the rich types, I’m reminded of a neat movie called ‘Evil Under the Sun”. The normalcy of seeing a well-to-do man with a pipe allowed the villain to hide a key piece of evidence, that in fact there was a diamond in his pipe the whole movie.”

/r/Broskheim – “If we're talking straight stereotypes, the Farmer (blue collar) is the guy who has 1 pipe (probably a cob or a basket briar), and smokes one blend (probably an a drug store OTC) all day long. The Aristocrat is more the type we see on these kinds of forums. Smokes a multitude of blends from a multitude of pipes, probably once or, at most, twice a day. Probably pairs it with a beverage of some sort, and takes time out of his day to specifically enjoy the pipe.”

Brad Hoctor (@hoctorthelovedr) – “To me a white collar, or aristocratic pipe smoker, is a bit more picky, typically having artisan-carved pipes and a wide variety of tinned blends in their cellar, whereas the blue collar pipe smoker or farmer is perfectly content with a good ol’ cob and a low-end factory pipe and a pouch of Captain Black.”

Darren – “When I think of a Farmer who smokes a pipe I think of Charles Ingalls from ‘The Little House on the Prairie’. He would often enjoy his pipe in the evening after supper at the kitchen table, or outside leaning on the fence rail. Charles was a hard working farmer who enjoyed his pipe. Nothing better than a cool smoke to help wind down after a hard days work. Really enjoy the show.”

Corey Grip – “I would like to contribute to the Farmer side. There are pictures of my grandfather who was born in 1927. There are two pictures of him as a kid, and one with my grandmother from 1953. And no we do not have the pipe still unfortunately. The pictures were taken at their 80-acre farm in Oklahoma.” (photos posted to FB)

John Kirk Griffin – “Hey brothers, long time listener. I was so excited for this specific episode because, well, I’m a farmer! There’s something beautiful and primal about sitting on a tractor with a pipe packed with your favorite blend. It’s these hours of driving in slow circles that are prime moments for smoking a pipe. Farmers are very contemplative people, we spend many hours doing repetitive and sometimes monotonous work which gives us ample time to think. It’s during these times of deep contemplation that farmers turn to our pipes as our faithful companion. The farmer is a dying breed. We’ve gone from almost 90% farm workers to less than 1% in the US. We are frequently forgotten and sometimes marginalized folk, but we are a tough and resilient folk. And so next time you pack a pipe, remember the farmer who worked hard to grown and harvest those beautiful and tasty leaves. Love you guys, love the show. Keep up the great work.”

/u/randallleemorgan – “When I think of the archetype of the farmer I'm reminded of my grandfather, a true Mississippian born and raised outside a small town no one would recognize. A man that worked as a millwright every day of his adult life because that's what he had (and I think loved) to do. Farming was something he didn't do for income but for survival; to make ends meet. Planting his own fruits and vegetables, raising chickens, and even hunting during the fall and winter all to provide for his family. This man is someone who loves a good pipe full of some tobacco, I’m guessing Cherry (Didn’t everyone in the 60’s smoke cherry tobacco). Later in life before I was born he had to lay down the pipe for the sake of my grandmother's heart condition but his the pipe wasn't his only source of vitamin-N. Maybe a nice big cheek-full of some Beechnut Chewing Tobacco while reading the paper or sitting on the tailgate of his old GMC secretly slipping is 4 year old grandson a strip of that chewing tobacco that may or may not have provided the aforementioned grandson his first case of nicotine sickness. The farmer archetype is that of someone who isn’t afraid to get his/her hands dirty. Someone who works hard every day to provide in time of plenty and time of lean. But the pipe is his one guilty pleasure, something just for him.

Darren – “I recommend reading this article by Jonah Goldberg called ‘Democracy in the Tobacconist’s’ (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/367088/democracy-tobacconists-jonah-goldberg) and it’s really about cigars but I feel there are a lot of themes that will overlap. The G.K. Chesterton quote in particular addresses why it may be frowned upon and both social strata and why they should not care” G.K. Chesterton quote - "To have a horror of tobacco is not to have an abstract standard of right; but exactly the opposite. It is to have no standard of right whatever; and to make certain local likes and dislikes as a substitute. Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar. It is a vague sentimental notion that certain habits were not suitable to the old log cabin or the old hometown. It has a vague utilitarian notion that certain habits are not directly useful in the new amalgamated stores or the new financial gambling-hell. If his aged mother or his economic master dislikes to see a young man hanging about with a pipe in his mouth, the action becomes a sin; or the nearest that such a moral philosophy can come to the idea of a sin. A man does not chop wood for the log hut by smoking; and a man does not make dividends for the Big Boss by smoking; and therefore smoking has a smell as of something sinful."

David Sirette – “I’m curious about the shift in preferential pipe shapes over time. I’ve always been told and read that in the 19th and early 20th centuries that bent pipes were preferred by lower-class smokers and manual laborers due to the hands free clench-ability and then straight pipes were preferred by those white-collared and upper class smokers. But then it seems that we began to see a shift mid-century with bent pipes becoming more expensive and artistic and straight billiards becoming a working man’s utility pipe. I’m curious to know what spurred this change. Could it have been that manufacturing techniques drove down the cost of straight pipes? Perhaps it was art and other fashion trends? Even today I would say that when you look at higher end pipes we see more swooping curves and bent stems and less expensive factory pipes in the form of straight billiards and apples. Is what we see a shift in aesthetics only? Or are our behaviors and smoking rituals changing?”

Pipe Question of the Week: Ryan Smith in Louisiana asks “When people say a blend is burley-based I figure there are large variations in what the flavors can be. Some burley-based blends are cigarette-like, high in nicotine and a bit harsh smoke for me, but some are mild and nutty that have that awesome codger-like quality. I tend to prefer the latter. Is it a specific type of burley I should be looking for or are the condiment tobaccos more to blame for the large variations? PS. Looking forward to meeting you guys when the NOLA Pipe Club comes up to invade the Squire in February. Thanks for the show and keep up the great work.” Paraphrasing here, but Jon David comments that burleys are varied and not all are created equal. Air cured burley is softer, kind of nutty, more nicotine, and just all around smoother and then we have toasted and fire-cured burleys that are smokier because the leaves are infused with these particles. They’ll be a little more harsh, smoky, toasty. But burley is lurking everywhere. Unless the blend specifically says “no burley”, it’s probably in there somewhere. It’s so adaptable. It’s a chameleon. Takes on flavors of other tobaccos. Ages well. Adds body and nice mouthfeel. Thick clouds of smoke. They also kind of have a bad rap. Some people assume they just don’t like burley when they don’t realize there are many different kinds!

Quick Fire with the Squire: Brought in by Mike Kinsey. #1 Transformers (JD and Beau) or G.I. Joe #2 Nirvana (JD and Beau) or Pearl Jam #3 Nightmare on Elm Street (JD and Beau) or Friday the 13th #4 Boodles (Beau?) or More Boodles (JD)

Listener Feedback: Itunes review from ShadowMasterMan – “First and foremost, if you are a pipe smoker, you need this podcast in your life. Jon David is not only an encouragement as a person but a true master in the field of tobacco. I have learned an incredible amount from him, and truly developed a love of the pipe as a result. Beau is an incredible host, who puts out a high quality show time and time again. The sound quality is flawless, and the content equally so. You will not be disappointed subscribing to this show, I’ve binged every episode since discovering them in Afghanistan and will continue to be an avid listener. Jon David & Beau, thank y’all for the hard work y’all do for us, I think I can speak for the entire community when I say that you are truly appreciated. Thanks & Gig Em!

@cdumo – “Granted as the grandson of French immigrants, my perspective may be different, but if you were going to smoke, it was briar whether you were a nobleman, farmer, or (as my family was) butcher. The briar pipe (invented in France, let’s not forget) was an equalizer. Alternatively, when you talk to old servicemen, they’ll talk about encountering meerschaum pipes (which many people consider fairly aristocratic) on their travels and seeing them as cheap, poor men’s pipes that could be picked up for pennies and not worth their time.”

Ending & Wrap-up: Please check out the show sponsor websites to learn more about them. And please consider joining the Country Squire Radio Pipe Club. I’ve provided a link to Patreon below as well as show credits, twitter handles, websites, emails, and times. And for those missing their club cards, Beau promises they are coming this week! He swears it! He said it last week, but this week he means it. Pinkie promise covenant. Alright guys, great great show! One of our favorites because of the community involvement! Also, if you have any suggestions on new community-type series for CSR to do, please contact them! Anyway…let’s go have a night!

Episode Credits:
Host: Jon David Cole (@JonDavidCole)
Host: Beau York (@TheRealBeauYork)
Producer: Mike Woodard (@TheMikeWoodard)
Executive Producer: Beau York (@Podastery)
Show Notes: Mark Van Vrancken (@mgvsquared)
Country Squire Radio Website: www.countrysquireradio.com
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Episode Sponsors:
Missouri Meerschaum (www.corncobpipe.com)
The Tin Society (https://tinsociety.com)