About three years ago I discovered Joe Bageant on the internet. I don't remember the circumstances but I am grateful for the chance to have read his work.
Joe Bageant's writing was a joy to read. He was funny. His friend, Fred Reed, tells of Joe describing a girl with pierced nose, lips, eyelids, and more, looking like she had fallen face-first into an open tackle box.
Joe could put together a critical appraisal of rural America that swept the stage of most other players
But I was most impressed by his fight for the underclass of America. What underclass? Why, all of it, but especially the poor whites of Scots-Irish descent who live in rural Appalachia. Joe did not romanticize them. He acknowledged their racism, their parochialism, their culture which was so much less stellar than that found in Boston, LA, or New York City. But he recognized their pride, and their worth as humans. And he railed against the system that ignored them, pretending they weren't there.
But let him say it:
And the winnders are …
27 minutes ago