I finished Deer Hunting With Jesus by Joe BageantÂ while I was in New York last week– a weird place to read about the ways that urban educated wealthy liberals have betrayed their principles to help the poor and oppressed in the country, because of course NYC isÂ one of theÂ quintessentialÂ examples. And I might add that when you mention his argument to the wealthy educated liberals who live in places like NYC, they roll their eyes and say, “What a lie.” I think they assume then that Joe Bageant is just another Fox-style foaming-at-the-mouth raging Republican, instead of the committed socialist that he is.
Here, essentially, are my thoughts on the book: Kudos to Bageant for writing a really necessary book, for pointing out the multitude of ways that both conservatives and liberals have created and perpetuated an underclass of poor people in the U.S. who are, in his words, only one or two paychecks away from being homeless yet who strive to live the “American Dream” and believe that they can do it on $8-9 an hour. His anger is palpable, real, and probably deserved. His perspective is really unique and he really did make a lot of sense with the way he tried to explain how people in this class and parts of the country feel about things like owning guns, for example. His facts may be indisputible but I don’t know because he didn’t provide any information about where he got said facts–and that is my biggest and most fundamental problem with his book. I am the sort of reader who always checks where people go their facts. I check the bibliography and/or Â the footnotes. I want to know if I’m reading reliable things. And with this book, I just couldn’t tell. That’s a big problem, in my book.