Who are we to decide that life is not fair?
October 15, 2020 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Only God knows, he said, when America will return to normal: “And I sometimes think we’ve got Him scratching His head because this is a bunch of craziness.”
Appalachia in Southeast Ohio after the Great Society: A photo essay with words by Tim Sullivan and photos by Wong Maye-E.

Part of the Looking for America series, which includes the related story from the same authors, Racial Tensions in America's "Sundown Towns."
posted by Rumple (21 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't say what I want to say, because it's too venomous for Metafilter and comes from a part of myself I'm neither proud of nor comfortable with. But it's there.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:30 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I can't say what I want to say, because it's too venomous for Metafilter and comes from a part of myself I'm neither proud of nor comfortable with. But it's there.

I spent a good deal of my formative years in an area not too different from the one in this article and I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about. And I don't disagree.
posted by kaiseki at 11:51 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


This is depressing in many ways now, but this one phrase: "While COVID-19 itself hasn’t hit hard yet ..." is to me the kicker. Because it will.
posted by feckless at 12:13 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


When I think about what I'd like the world to be like - well, I'd like a world with no heroin or opiate addiction; but on the way to that world, I'd like a world where everyone who's been hurt -
Hard life stories, many of them tied to addiction, are repeated here in town after town: the living room snapshot of a baby in her coffin; the young woman in prison for child abuse; the rape; the endless overdoses; the children living with their grandmother because something bad happened, though no one will say what.
... everyone who's been hurt (which, let's face it, is something unfathomable like 70% or 80% or 100% of the US population) would have full - I mean FULL - and fully funded social service support. I want a massive multitude of social workers moving in and seeing every one of those people every day - fixing their immediate living issues (fill that fridge that holds "a package of eggs, a half-eaten apple and dozens of single-serve TruMoo chocolate milk containers donated by a local school" with a bounty of food that the family likes and chooses themselves), and asking what they want - some want to get out of there, some want to stay, let's figure out how to make both happen. Build a solar panel factory and employ anyone who wants a job - with supportive services to make it work for people who can't manage an 8-hour shift, with child care, with a structure that offers lots of local contractor-type work for people who'd be happier not having a boss.

I mean, you take just one criminal like Republican Finance Chair Elliott Broidy and impound every cent he's taken in from money-laundering - who knows how much it actually turned out to be, but let's say just $20 million.

$20 million could go a long way toward building green jobs, providing relocation funds to the people who'd rather live somewhere else, providing social services to the people who need them (again, practically everybody).

And how much could we claw back from criminals like Paul Manafort, who defrauded the government of half a million dollars in 2015 alone?

And to be clear, I want this not just for Appalachian towns, but for every inner city, every outer city, every suburb and township.

I look at those photos of the abandoned downtowns, and I see all those beautiful old buildings, and I want them to be cared for and celebrated and not left to fall apart.

I look at those photos of the people who live there, and I see hidden beauty there, too, and I want them to be cared for and celebrated and not left to fall apart.

Thank you for posting this, Rumple.
posted by kristi at 12:16 PM on October 15 [46 favorites]


I'm from that area - Rendville is right down the road from where I grew up. My parents still live on the same farm that my grandfather and great-grandfather owned. Lovely countryside, but there is a reason I 'escaped' to the big city.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:54 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


"Face mask rules are paving the way for population control"

Can anyone explain what this means?
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 2:43 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


Can anyone explain what this means?

This may not help, but the sense I've usually seen it used is, "Face masks are preparing us to accept more and more control of our lives by the government," rather than, "Face masks are the first step toward reducing the size of the population." I haven't gone down the rabbit hole to see what the logic behind it is, but it seems to be a "slippery slope towards authoritarianism" thing.
posted by clawsoon at 2:57 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]



"Face mask rules are paving the way for population control"

Can anyone explain what this means?


The idea is that the government is "testing" how much it can make people do, and planning to push even more mandatory rules onto the populace once it knows they won't fight back. What exactly this control would look like, I find virtually nobody who espouses this view can articulate. But they're sure of it, and terrified.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:57 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


What exactly this control would look like, I find virtually nobody who espouses this view can articulate. But they're sure of it, and terrified.

I watched exactly one related video, and it claimed that the global elite were preparing to release literal giants to literally eat us. I didn't watch any more after that.
posted by clawsoon at 3:05 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]


Giants eating us is not a bad metaphor for income inequality.
posted by benzenedream at 3:08 PM on October 15 [11 favorites]


That level of conspiracy/fantastical outcomes is out there, yeah, but I think there's also a large component of people who are more afraid that the government will, in a general way, force them to change their lifestyle -- one of the few clearly articulated fears I've heard is "they're gonna take away all our cars and you'll only be allowed to take buses, because ENVIRONMENTALISTS."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:09 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]


I'm 103.2% sure that if I went looking I'd find facemasks connected to the Mark of the Beast and the Antichrist. Every generation who reads the Book of Revelation for the first time needs to connect the prophecies in it to something happening to them. This has been happening for at least 1,000 years. When I was a kid it was UPC barcodes that were going to usher in the End Times.
posted by clawsoon at 3:30 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


Here we go.
posted by clawsoon at 3:31 PM on October 15


kristi, I have waited a long time to see people start saying the things you have. I have been ready to help build that world as soon as the social inertia is there. It isn't, right now, very far from it, but it's heartening to hear nonetheless. I know there are many people waiting for a day when it will be.
posted by Lonnrot at 4:59 PM on October 15


This is why whenever I see people glorify so-and-so as the GOAT or whatever the hell, I think of these people, kids with 200 IQ or amazing athletic skills or nation-unifying charisma wearing a dirty t-shirt because the water's been shut off again staring through cracked glass, condemned by wherever their soul dropped to permanent isolation.

But whenever societies have tried to upend things, turn it all on its head, that's when the blood really runs everywhere and life does not improve at all. Ask those who lived to regret serving The Third Republic, or Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or the iranian Revolutionary Council, or the Taliban (not mentioning the H word, let's find some new examples, eh? plenty of them.).

We have to change incrementally, from the inside, and if it takes imperfect people like LBJ to do it, then that's the deal we make (which is exactly what the anti-abortion crowd seems to be saying about Trump, BTW).
posted by lon_star at 6:38 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Evocative piece, but frustrating in that it sets up the allusions to LBJ's Great Society and then never explains why it didn't make Appalachia a utopia.
My limited knowledge of the campaign's legacy is that A) it kind of did work in that poverty dropped dramatically in the US during the late 1960s and B) Vietnam / Nixon/ Reagan strangled its more ambitious programs. But I want to know more about the why, not just ponder pretty photos of rural Ohioans making do.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:51 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


Very powerful photos.

Also powerful was hearing Tasha Lamm's voice.
posted by doctornemo at 7:37 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


"The idea is that the government is "testing" how much it can make people do...."

(All of the following is about the US, because obvious.)

Not sure about the details now, but several months back I was reading about the 1918 pandemic, and noted that there was one town that had NO deaths during the first wave. It posted guards at the edge of town and let NOONE in. (Don't recall any mention of resistance.)

First wave passed, they relaxed the rules. Second wave caused dozens of deaths. (That disease was most dangerous to the young and female.)

That was a different time. Before antibiotics, before TB and syphilis and many other (less-dramatic) killers were finally defeated by science. A time when people still expected about half of their children might die. For about 70 years people have not had to live with dozens of illnesses sniping at them. At the time, there was little resistance to polio vaccination - which erased it.

They've forgotten. They've also forgotten that liberty is part of a contract. Franklin: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom." The maskless have visibly opted on (or fallen into) a different contract. In so doing, they only abet that which they claim to fear.
posted by Twang at 7:45 PM on October 15 [7 favorites]


Also powerful was hearing Tasha Lamm's voice.

Agreed. I could have listened to much more of that.
posted by Rumple at 8:25 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


This morning I was at the battery store getting a battery. Guy working the counter told me that "that vaccine they say they're making, for the corona, it has nanobots in it, they're really tiny and they inject you with them and that's the mark of the beast plus also how the government is going to control us."

He was not speaking ironically. Literally said those exact words to me not ten minutes ago. He is about the fifth person who has mentioned "vaccine" and "mark of the beast" in the same sentence. Does anyone know if this is coming from the gay frog guy? (Alex Jones?) It sounds like something he'd say.
posted by which_chick at 6:31 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


maybe the only response to something like that is 'oh? where did you hear that? are you sure that's really true? an awful lot of people say otherwise'
posted by kokaku at 9:28 AM on October 16


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