An Image of His Own Design
What is the best way to become a cultural icon? The answer is there are several different ways, but in the mid-nineteenth century, the best way to achieve the result was through storytelling—better yet, the basis for such stories: determination, character, success, failure, excitement, and other forms of human interest and desire. In fact, in former times, homespun yarns and clothesline anecdotes—created by both dungaree-clad men playing checkers and/or whittling on the porch of the local mercantile and women gathered around a backyard fence gossiping and laughing while hanging out the day’s wash—gave birth to most icons and legends.
The writer Chris Sheedy says, “An icon is, quite simply, something or someone that goes beyond. It goes beyond practicality, beyond beauty, beyond cool, beyond popularity.” Moreover, it is a person that has managed overtime to imprint his or her character on human emotional memory. Chris Sheedy is correct: Icons still have a kind of charismatic influence on humanity. What, then, is the secret of such a phenomenon? Nobody can give a definitive answer. Nevertheless, when delving into the life stories of numerous charismatic people, one can find many explanations of the reasons for their charismatic effect. The example of Jack Daniel’s legendary life story is the best proof of the above-mentioned statement. When asked why people chose to include Jack Daniel on the list of world famous names, one might receive the following answer: “He is one of the greatest men who reached the highest level of success, adoration, and popularity.” Because of Jack Daniel’s history of strong will, marketing talent, and philanthropic intentions, combined with that of Southern charm and aristocratic exquisiteness, he created an image—an icon, if you will—of his own design. All the characteristics mentioned previously, indeed, apply to Jack Daniel’s life story, the story of a man who has become a legend, not only...