Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner


The book I have now started is What's the Matter with Kansas, by Thomas Frank. Its subtitle is How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. I haven't yet reached the part where he actually explains this. He has so far described what he characterizes as the insanity of the Kansans, rising up against the forces that have made their lives better and supporting those that are taking them straight to economic hell. In this book he is trying to find the words to describe how this happened, but more than that he describes the glorious past of this once-wonderful state, a past I didn't know except vaguely.

I am enjoying it. There are some simple statements in here that put things together for me in words better than I've read before. For example,

...The anthropologists caution us in their sober way about a recipe for "growth" that blandly accepts a permanent impoverished class, but the people of Mission Hills are unfazed. They may be to polite to say it aloud, but they know that poverty rocks. Poverty is profitable. Poverty makes stocks go up and labor come down.

There are also clear expositions of myths about "liberals". Again and again Frank refers to the latte-drinking Mercedes-driving, European-educated liberals who, according to the myth, bring their America-hating ways back with them from Europe to teach in the colleges.

The book is rather on the order of Molly Ivins' books about Bush, in that it is laced with a bitter humor, doesn't shy away from saying what so many of us are thinking.

For some reason, I am averse to marking my books. I don't like to take pens or highlighters to the pages so I can find the good passages again. That's rather unfortunate when I am trying to find examples. I am not sure why I feel this way. It's a kind of honor I feel for the book, a need to keep it clean so the next person can draw his own conclusions or find her own favorite passages.

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