OVER the last few weeks, I’ve been asked on several occasions if I can explain what the hell happened to this country. (I’ve been in London and Ireland for some of that time.) The simple answer is that I am as shocked as anyone by the turn in the US (and to some extent by the related idiocy of Brexit.) But I do have some hunches.
So while I try to keep this blog oriented around culture, I’ll post a trilogy of stories which involve me speaking to some learned and insightful people to try to get at the recent social/ political shifts. Partly this is simply because I am proud of these pieces and think these issues are dead serious right now. It’s partly because my book, which this blog serves an online expansion of, was in part about the issues concerned here, notably anti-intellectualism, income inequality and the decline/ defunding of responsible journalism.
The most recent of these stories is “What You See,” about the attacks, many from the current White House, on the news media and the very notion of objective truth.
The middle child is “Tracking Rage’s Path…,” on the roots and distorting effect of anger in American, and world, politics.
This earliest, “Middle of Nowhere,” concerns inequality and the erosion of the U.S. middle class.
All of these pieces were written for the magazine at Loyola Marymount University, the Los Angeles school where I taught writing a few years ago. Hope the stories prove useful or clarifying.