Monday, April 30, 2012


I'm reading Chris Hedges' book Death of the Liberal Class - note there's no "The", as there might be if the death occurred once and was not ongoing.  There's a lot to think about, and Hedges is sloppy and spitting mad which makes for good polemic but ensures he'll be ignored by the Very Serious People, who wouldn't read anything so gauche anyway.  He also takes a very European approach, which is to discuss individuals like Ralph Nader and Daniel Berrigan and Noam Chomsky and how they get or got locked out of the discourse; that works in a culture where there's a sense of history and, well, culture, but in the North America that exists and that he describes good luck getting anyone to care that Ralph Nader got ditched during the Reagan administration by a documented collusion between regulators and the regulated.  (Reagan?  He was in Star Wars, right?  He played Obi-Wan Kenobi before he became President.)  Now I know who Ralph Nader is, but that's partly because of frequent references to him in Mad magazine and partly because my dad had the book that made him famous, a book that's still a classic in modern muckraking.  But if anyone even remembers the role he played in the 2000 election, where Al Gore pretty much threw it and then everyone blamed Nader for not making it easy for Gore, then they almost certainly have no idea he got the seatbelt into the automobile, and thereby allowed a million people to complain on Facebook that they grew up in a time when they weren't all coddled and drank water out of the hose and didn't have seatbelts and blah blah blah.  As opposed to being thrown onto the freeway through the windshield after being rear-ended by a texting half-drunk teenager in a gigantic SUV.  Thanks Ralph!