I started writing this after talking with my friend Ron as he drove through Nebraska. I quoted him a James McMurtry song: “Out here in the middle where the buffalo roam/we're putting up towers for your cell phones.” If you don’t know how that sounds and you can’t place it in the context of its … Continue reading Out Here in the Middle
While studying rural communities that face poverty, shocking rates of cancer, and poisoned fishing waters from industrial pollution, sociologist Arlie Hochschild learned about a disturbing money making scheme. A “waste-to-energy conversion” company wanted to build plants that burn highly toxic and noxious smelling waste—representing “locally undesirable land use.” This corporation paid half a million dollars … Continue reading The “Least Resistant Personality Profile” and Factory Farms
My aunt Carolyn retired from a college teaching career and moved into our family’s historic farmhouse in northern Wisconsin. When the St. Paul Pioneer Press invited readers to describe “the worst jobs they ever had” for a Labor Day feature, she wrote about her childhood work at a local resort with fishing cabins. Here job … Continue reading Remembering Terrible Jobs
The Arlie Hochschild book that I have been pondering includes passages about the Areno family, whose formerly lovely and ecologically rich land—which sustained them both with beauty and food—was turned into a poisoned wasteland by industrial pollution. They talk of their role as “rememberers,” or witnesses to how it used to be. Interestingly, they do this … Continue reading Remembering
There isn’t much point in sending readers of this little blog to Reading Religion, the American Academy of Religion’s review portal—I wish I could send traffic the other way—but I want to link to a review I recently published there, on Arlie Russell Hochschild’s book, Strangers in Their Own Land. The review boils down my … Continue reading Empathy Walls: Understanding Oppressed People Who Love Trump
When the Mafia-backed entrepreneur and con man Donald Trump captured a majority of electoral college votes—although, of course, not the majority of actual votes, even before we inquire how the count may have been affected by “abnormal” Russian propaganda, “normal” Fox propaganda (overlapping with Russian parts), tampering with voting machines (unproven to my knowledge but … Continue reading “Resisting,” Talking to Republicans, and Recalling Trump’s Actual Mandate—At the Same Time!
Starting in January, and continuing through Spring 2018, I will be at the University of Alberta in Edmonton as a Fulbright Research Chair in Arts and Humanities! No doubt I will have more to say about the adventure here. A couple of weeks ago I had a first taste when I traveled to Ottawa for … Continue reading Heading for the “True North Strong and Free”