I had to explain my wife’s and my family’s etymology (basically identical, because we mated assortitatively) yesterday for someone else’s piece of therapeutic analysis, and I wanted to cover it all in about 2 minutes so as to not monopolize this conversation with my perspective. So what I said was: “Joad-ian, as in Tom Joad, like Grapes of Wrath in that the forebears were uprooted from the farms by events in the 20’s and 30’s. Since then we have lived in (upper Midwestern) cities here where we are pursuing upward mobility and succeeding, but I think we bring along that undercurrent of melancholy and dysphoria that our old peoples from Scandinavia and Ireland and Germany had.
Related: Springsteen was in town last night I see, I’m sure he was great cuz he’s a virtuoso, best at what he does. Still I don’t really like Springsteen, at all, never have. Springsteen has always wanted to be this troubadour of Joad-ian troubles, and it’s way too depressing for me. Worse, I don’t think it rings of truth. The men in my family who came back from Vietnam… yeah, they were moved by it, they were affected by Vietnam, but Born in the USA is garish and trope-ish in describing it. Then for baseball…. never in my voluminous baseball experience has someone called a fastball a speedball like Springsteen does in Glory Days. Penultimately though there is the Springsteen song where the kid gets his girlfriend pregnant in the back of a car and they have to have a shotgun wedding and he has to go get a mill job to support them. And ya know, the point you’re supposed to take is that their lives are over or something. Whatever song that is, and it’s one of his acclaimed ones I think…. It’s a lie. That’s not a tragedy, that’s courtship and household formation in a way that used to work. Certainly the dude’s mill / union job may have not lasted, but the least he got out of it was professional skills and an adult wage for as long as it did. That song was written in 1977-80 right? If the job did last, dude is probably retiring now with the prospects of a $4000 a month union pension. Maybe he’s married to that gal, maybe he’s not, but I bet he’s glad he has the kids he had with her.
It’s to say, despite Joad-ian attitudes, things go pretty well in this country for people who submit to adulthood and have families and work. Talk about privilege, there are privileges that attach to those behaviors of work and family life, privileges that correlate highly to prosperity and well being. If things aren’t going well for you, you can almost discard the rest. I am not trying to lay down a piece of wisdom here for which all are to be judged, but it’s the truth, this is the real prosperity gospel. Family and nose to the grindstone of meaningful work and getting older will do the trick despite immigrants and political correctness and China and all that other shit being in a guy’s way.
Bruce’s mill guy is 60 now, and has worked prosperously, and he’s got family… but this is the guy I see as angry. He’s in the near rural rust belt or the south, he’s a Trump guy, and he’s angry. What’s the deal there, valid or invalid as it might be?
I see various analyses including how the elite fail the working man, and this is the source of the anger, yada yada. Meh. I think something else is going on, or going on additionally. What’s true is families who came off the farm and integrated into urban and suburban commercial and educational networks are doing better, we get more of modernity’s spiffs and a bigger piece of its abundance (in addition to probably having higher overhead). In the end, those of us who accepted corporatism and cubes and suburbia are doing materially better. And there is quite a few of us, and we have some economic clout, and politicians attend to our needs in ways that might be cross ways with rural, antebellum interests.
It’s to say, there’s a rural vs metro thing going on along with whatever else might be a dynamic. And it’s like the rural people are ‘left behind’, they are not on the train we are on, if they are even on a train to somewhere. And they are angry about various aspects of this inequity.
I have kinda always hated that other trope of how a certain kind of conservative is scared of modernity, scared of change, but I see it here (provided you can really call these people conservatives).
I have figured out that to caucus I have to go up to the high school at 7pm. As I am not oblivious to this info, I probably will go despite the time being useful to do a backlist full of artisinal gunsmithing jobs for customers in various parts of America’s hinterlands.