Saturday, September 17, 2016


Well, French class starts again this morning. On y va! I spent the week brushing up with Duolingo and I'm going to try to spend some time with my notes before I walk in the door. As much as I've complained about it, I'm actually sort of looking forward to class. No pain, no gain, right?

Otherwise, we're destined for a quiet weekend around here. Which is fine with me.

I'm reading an interesting book, "Hillbilly Elegy," by J.D. Vance. It's a memoir about a Kentucky family moving to Ohio and their quest for upward mobility, and the ways that they do, and don't, achieve it. The book has been getting some publicity for providing insight into the seemingly irrational political behavior of the small-town white working class -- such as their continual rejection of spread-the-wealth Democrats at the polls. To oversimplify, it boils down to a lack of belief in the consequences of their own actions. The white working class, the author believes, has been both coddled and alienated to such a degree that they don't believe their choices matter -- so they make bad ones in their personal lives and resort to a sort of visceral anger at the ballot box. It's a fairly easy read; I'm going to finish it this weekend and donate it to the library.

(Photo: Peckham. I don't know what that business is on the right -- a bisexual pacifist drumming circle, maybe?)


Ms. Moon said...

That book is getting a lot of air-time. I've heard about it from several different sources. Be glad to hear what you have to say. And when I think about it, that "class" of folks seems poorly underserved and under-represented on a lot of levels. I don't know what the answers are. The guy I met yesterday who was here to fix a chair was obviously intelligent and curious but he was fixated on one subject when it came to the election- guns- and was certain that Hillary was going to come and get his. All he seemed to know about the candidates were the Fox news talking points- emails, Benghazi/ hell of a businessman.
Scary shit.
Sometimes the photos you post remind me of the shops in Alexander McCall Smith's Lady's Detective Agency books. Which would make sense, due to immigration. Those novels are set in Botswana.
Have fun in French!

ellen abbott said...

I admire your determination to learn French. as for the small town white working class, they rely on one source and that source lies to them outright or fails to tell them the things they need to know. I live in a small town. These people are not stupid but they don't expose themselves to other news sources. it's so frustrating. they have no idea how corrupt and self serving Trump is.

Sharon said...

I wonder if they ran out of paint when they were painting that door. Good luck with the French class!

jenny_o said...

Sounds like an interesting book.

It's good that you're looking forward to French class, even a little. To me, that says you made a good choice going back.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Bit Bi Bit" is or was a grocery store specialising in West African produce. "Keep the drums and spare the knife" refers to a pressure group in Sierra Leone that campaigns against female genital cutting especially within Bondo society. So it is not a "bisexual pacifist drumming circle" as you jokingly speculated Steve.

Steve Reed said...

Ms Moon: Yeah, it's been all over the news. I think it was a stroke of marketing genius to sell it to people who are struggling to understand why Trump is so popular with certain segments of voters!

Ellen: I'm with you on the frustration. I think the book would argue that FOX News appeals to them viscerally because of its tone of anger and disaffection. There's a reason they're not tuning in to more reasonable news sources and thinking critically, you know?

Sharon: It sure looks like it!

Jenny-O: It IS interesting. And yes, I think I made a good decision to continue.

YP: I'm glad you could tell I was joking, at least! Thanks for the research! I assumed "spare the knife" was a reference to local community violence rather than FGM...but then, I guess FGM could be considered local community violence.

Anonymous said...

Oh all these nice little shops you have in London, something I really miss over here!