Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Deer Hunting with Jesus"

Joe Bageant writes an online column that has made him a cult hero among gonzo-journalism junkies and progressives. He has been interviewed on Air America and comments on America’s long history of religious fundamentalism in the BBC/Owl documentary The Vision: Americans on America. Until recently he worked as a senior editor for the Primedia History Magazine Group.

He applied the "page 69 test" to his new book, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War, and reported the following:
Well, page 69 is one of the more low keyed pages in a rather gonzo book. My goal was to take liberal Americans on a rip snorting, compassionate and informative journey through the red state America I grew up in and believe I understand. And I wanted to show educated liberals just what has made my people the way they are: tough assed, tender hearted, gun loving members of the huge new American underclass that has been growing and solidifying long before President Sparky ever started farting in the Oval Office chair. So we go into the holy roller praise temples -- my brother is a fundamentalist minister who casts out demons -- and drink a lot of beer with the forklift drivers and single moms at the dreary night shift gulag of the local Rubbermaid plant. These are people condemned to a life of white trashonomics, preyed upon by mobile home salesmen and the credit card rackets designed especially for people like them. The ones with bad credit and worse teeth. Only about 20% of Americans get a college degree. The rest are working mooks kept convinced they are "middle class" by bullshit media and advertising. Yet they are told when to work, how much they will be paid, how to do their work, piss tested on the job until they are blind, and told to take a hike when corporations no longer find them useful. That's called working for "the man" and it's called working class everywhere but in this country. Sixty percent of Americans fall into this category. So what we have is a class war going, but only one side knows it. Is it any wonder they are mad? Now what we gotta do is teach 'em to be mad at the right damned people and quit believing what they hear on talk radio. It's going to be a long and dirty job, but Bush's massive failures have begun to do some of it for us. Yes, it is a political book.
Visit Joe Bageant's website and read more about Deer Hunting with Jesus.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue