In a darkening time: Remembering Joe Bageant
April 27, 2015 5:26 PM   Subscribe

"Returning as he did to Winchester right as Bush took office, Joe Bageant stepped into a writer’s dream—a perfect confluence of subject, setting, and personal knowledge—and he responded with fury, writing essay after raging essay, a dazzling output that collectively foresaw the housing crisis and recession, Obamacare, and “the 1 percent” as a rhetorical tool. Yet four years after his death, he’s remembered for one book and a corresponding moment of semi-fame as “America’s Most Literate Redneck,” if he’s remembered at all." From The Baffler: Toxically Pure: Joe Bageant drops out. posted by MonkeyToes (10 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just here to say that Bageant is on my radar only thanks to Metafilter. Yay blue, thanks for the post OP.

Anyone have a bead on the new/next/'nother Bageant?
posted by drowsy at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2015


I grew to be a huge fan of Bageant during the depths of the Bush II years. To me, his writing pointed out the things that are both wrong and right about America.

Thanks for posting the Baffler bio piece. Definitely a complicated guy, and not without his faults, but a lot of his criticisms of the economic life of America, and how people were left to deal with it were bang-on.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:13 PM on April 27, 2015


He was a hell of a guy. Growing up poor, educating oneself, unwilling to become institutionalized, wanting to hug and throttle your own people all at once, these are things I understand. We need more people like him because there's a huge segment of this country who've been stabbed in the back by the right and sneered at by the left. Someone has to love those people no matter how hard it is. He did that. I try to do that, and fail at it miserably more often than not. But they deserve sympathy and understanding, not scorn.

This was a great piece. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 7:41 PM on April 27, 2015


"Jeffersonian ideals" = white supremacy.
posted by spitbull at 3:33 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I seem to remember hearing of Deer Hunting with Jesus when it came out but never got around to reading it. Other than that I don't recall hearing about Bageant. That's too bad; he seems to have hit the nail on the head when talking about the problems the US has, particularly in the south. Better late than never, I guess. Looking forward to reading his stuff. I hope his last book gets published.
posted by TedW at 7:04 AM on April 28, 2015


Although while wading through links from the earlier posts, it looks like you can get Rainbow Pie on Amazon, so apparently it does have a publisher.
posted by TedW at 7:09 AM on April 28, 2015


I'm lazy about deleting bookmarks; Joe Bageant is still on my computer. I always read his posts. The word unique applies to a few writers, and applies to Bageant in the best possible way.

.
posted by kozad at 7:11 AM on April 28, 2015


Joe was a gem.
posted by sensate at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2015


Hunh. I somehow never crossed paths with this guy or Deer Hunting with Jesus, which is really saying something - I grew up in the "apple-rich valley outside the city limits," and spent some time at the paper. The Bush years were my high school years. I'll have to pick that book up, although I suspect it will be an uncomfortable read. Everything in the Baffler piece rings so true at first blush. I got rocks thrown at me on the playground for not being in a church-attending family as a child, and teachers never bothered to plan lessons for the first day of whitetail season, because nobody would be there. Beautiful mountains and the smell of apple cider as you drove through the industrial part of town near the apple-packing plant, but also pretty horrible racial tensions around the growing underclass of migrant farm workers, and a yawning chasm between the people who lived in the pretty historic stone houses and the many many more people who lived in ramshackle ranches and mobile homes down dirt roads. Whenever I tell people where I'm from, they tell me how beautiful it is and how lucky I was to have lived there. The area's turned into one of those places people in DC visit to go antiquing and winery-hopping on the weekends, so they can feel "authentic."

I have a lot of mixed feelings about my hometown; I got out as soon as I could and never looked back, for better or worse. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 8:47 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Now that I have read a few of his essays, I am convinced he and Charles Pierce were separated at birth, with one raised in Boston and the other in rural Virginia.
posted by TedW at 9:00 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


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