Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Poor, White and Pissed
Joe Bageant shares this glimpse behind the white trash curtain.
I live in a town where it is easier to find chitterlings, ponhaus and souse in the grocery store than a leek... and where "Smokey and the Bandit" still plays to packed movie houses year after year. My hometown's claim to fame is the 1983 "Rhinehart Tire Fire" in which some five million discarded tires burned for nine months, gaining Winchester, Virginia national news coverage and EPA superfund cleanup status. The smoke plume was visible in satellite earth photos, the cleanup took 18 years and the fire stands as my hometown's biggest event of the Twentieth Century. As for intellectual life, this is a town where damned few residents ever heard of say, Susan Sontag. Even though our local newspaper editor did manage a post mortem editorial on her, which basically said: "Goodbye you piece of New York Jewish commie shit!" most people reading the paper at their breakfast tables around town were asking themselves, "Who the hell is Susan Sontag?" They would ask the same thing about Daniel Barenboim or Hunter S. Thompson because those figures have never been on Oprah. Our general ambience was well summed up by a visiting Atlanta lawyer who looked around town and observed: "Dumb lordee I reckon!" This, from a guy who's seen a lot of dumb crackers. Laugh if you want, but this is the red state American heartland everybody is talking about these days.
Read more here .