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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Joe Bageant

I have added Joe Bageant to the Blogs I am following. I must admit that the first few essays of Joe Bageant’s that I read, I was a bit taken aback. As in, “Lighten up a bit on the working poor Joe.” But I am reading his book, “Deer Hunting With Jesus - Dispatches From America‘s Class War” now…, and I have a much clearer understanding of where he is coming from. I encourage everyone to read it.... and his website.

Joe Bageant

You may be a bit disconcerted by the title of the book…, I was too. Joe explains it this way in the chapter, “Valley of the Gun”.

“To nonhunters, the image conjured by the title of this book might seem absurd, rather like a NUKE THE WHALES bumper sticker. But the tile also captures something that moves me about the people I grew up with--the intersection between hunting and religion in their lives. The link between protestant fundamentalism and deer hunting goes back to colonial times, when the restless Presbyterian Scots, along with English and German Protestant reformers, pushed across America, developing the unique hunting and farming-based frontier cultures that sustained them over most of America’s history. Two hundred years later, they have settled down, but they have not quit hunting and they have not quit praying.”

The morning after the 2004 presidential elections I called in sick. I felt the least little bit guilty about that…, but I just could not understand how George Evil Bush managed to win re-election after what he had done to America in the four previous years. How could it happen? Joe’s book provides the answers I was looking for…, and it still makes me sick.

From the chapter, "Republicans By Default".

“That is the American hologram. That is the peculiar illusion we live within, the illusion that holds us together, makes us alike, yet tells each of us we are unique. And it will remain in force until the whole shiteree comes down around our heads. Working people do not deny reality. They created it from the depths of their perverse ignorance, even as the so-called left speaks in non sequiturs and wonders why it cannot gain any political traction. Meanwhile, for the people, it is football and NASCAR and a republic free from married queers and trigger locks on guns. That’s what they voted for--an armed and moral republic. And that’s what we get when we stand by and watch the humanity get hammered out of our fellow citizens, letting them be worked cheap and farmed like a human crop for profit.”

From the chapter titled, “American Serfs”.

“Admittedly, a real blue-collar middle class still exists in some places, just as unions still exist. But both are on the ropes like some old pug boxer taking the facial cuts and popping eye capillaries with no referee to come in and stop the carnage. The American bootstrap myth is merely another strap that makes the working poor privately conclude that they must in some way be inferior, given that they cannot seem to apply that myth to their own lives. Hell, Pootie, if immigrants can put together successful businesses of their own, why can’t you keep up with your truck payments? Right now, even by the government’s spruced-up numbers, one-third of working Americans make less than $9 an hour. A decade from now, five of the ten fastest-growing jobs will be menial, dead-end jokes on the next generation--mainly retail-clerks, cashiers and janitors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

And here are ten more quotes from "Deer Hunting With Jesus"


  1. Joe knows the underclass because he grew up in it. He knows the uberclass because he worked for it and watched it closely. He is perceptive, fearless and he'll tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not - and he'll do it without two-dollar words. There's no mistaking the meaning of anything Joe says.

    I'm delighted that Rainbow Pie is going to be available here - it's well worth reading not just as personal memoir but because of the light it sheds on a whole people and way of life.

    I am compiling the essays from his website into a single document for my own edification.
    When I'm done I'll see if he wants to turn them into paperback. Hope he pulls thru his current illness and hangs around a lot longer. We need him.

  2. Right on Steeleweed..., write on. Could not agree with you more. And the lack of updates regarding his condition and progress causes me some concern. I too wish him the very best. Your edification project sounds interesting..., I still love books and would love acquire that one if it works out. And thanks for checking out the blog and commenting..., once again..., write on partner.