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The explanation

June 30, 2017

I long have been puzzled by something I see again and again and again. In any small group of conservative men, making small talk at a BBQ or shooting range or poker game, it seems that every ten minutes someone will remark negatively about people receiving certain categories of government benefit. The conversation doesn’t even have to be about politics to generate such remarks.

“I sure like this potato salad with the celery and bacon in it.”

“Man, you should have seen the grocery cart of the lady in front of me paying with a government card…”

It’s as if they had some chip implanted in their brain that randomly pokes their tongue: Hey! Time to complain about people on the dole. Not being a sociologist, I have just scratched my head over that.

Arlie Russell Hochschild is a sociologist, and wrote a book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, that should be required reading in Louisiana, and by everyone who wants to understand the Republican base today. It explains the phenomenon above, as well as why Louisianans who are avid hunters and anglers have allowed their state to become one of the most polluted in the nation, why Louisianans are poor despite all the industry there, and why those hurt most support the policies causing that. An interesting read. Alas, not a hopeful one.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2017 10:21 am

    Its a purlie form of continuing the bonding process. “I like bacon crisp” ” (unsaid -“so do I,” actually said ” the blacks love watermelon-those jungle bunnys.”

  2. Laura permalink
    June 30, 2017 10:59 am

    Glad you read the book!

    • rturpin permalink*
      June 30, 2017 10:09 pm

      Laura, thank you for recommending it!

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