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Hillbilly Elegy: Movie vs. Book
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J.D. Vance

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There are many odd and irksome things about the new Hillbilly Elegy movie on Netflix. For my money, the strangest aspect of the production is that it has only a superficial resemblance to J. D. Vance’s 2016 book. It’s as though you were to make a movie of Moby-Dick, knowing only that it has a ship and a white spermaceti whale and a mad captain who stumps around on a peg-leg.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis was political propaganda dressed up as autobiography. Considered creative nonfiction, it’s limp and tangled. Its value lay mainly in its critical reception — or rather, the hype surrounding it — in the summer of 2016.

The film is basically soap opera about family dysfunction among the semi-rural working classes. Some of the many characters in the memoir sort of appear in the film, only they’ve pretty much been conjured up ex nihilo (as Bill Buckley would say). This is because the book didn’t give screenwriter Vanessa Taylor or director Ron Howard much to work with. Vance the memoirist is mostly interested in himself, and that’s perfectly appropriate. But the other people in his vast parade of interchangeable stepfathers, friends, cousins, teachers are mostly ciphers.

Vance the writer is sort of an anti-Dickens: he brings us a hundred characters, but gives them nothing quirky or memorable to say or do. So the film has to invent and improvise, building a storyline that revolves around Vance’s mother, seen here as a promiscuous and drug-addled loony. The real Mom was blessedly absent for much of Vance’s childhood, and in his book, she’s mostly an offstage irritant. The film tries to give her some backstory (high school salutatorian; early pregnancy), but that’s not the same as character development of a sort that would make her interesting or likable. In the film, her main activities are drugs, sex, and throwing tantrums.

This isn’t enough to hold the film together, but it provides the basis of a spindly plot: Vance has to leave Yale Law School for a couple of days to put his mom in rehab. So he drives out to Middletown, Ohio and thinks about his childhood. We spend half the film in repetitive flashbacks to the Olden Days (the late 1990s in this case) so we can see Mom when she was younger, and busy doing — well, drugs, sex, and tantrums. Not a lot of character development, as I say.

The film has one enjoyable scene in which Mom (Amy Adams) pops pills and goes rollerskating through the corridors of the hospital where she works. This is almost entirely the invention of screenwriter and director; the book barely alludes to such an episode, apparently as a figure of speech. For the film, it’s a plot point for Mom to get fired and begin her never-ending cycle of rehab and relapse.

Details of rehab and Mom’s varied pharmacopeia might make for an interesting story if she were more interesting herself, but then we’d have an entirely different film. A black comedy, perhaps, a cross between Drugstore Cowboy and Valley of the Dolls. But authentic details are what this film lacks throughout. I wanted to know what sort of meds make so you so energetic and euphoric that you’re ready to make your nursing rounds in a pair of high-topped day-glow rollerskates. Such pills may exist, but I doubt they’re stocked in hospital pharmacy cabinets. Low-information viewers may suppose she’s popping OxyContin (“hillbilly heroin,” you know). And that may well be what the filmmakers were trying to imply. Vance’s real-life Mom did seem to do a lot of opioids.

But trust me here: opiates don’t make you want to go to the roller rink.

The film has been roundly mocked by critics for the shallowness of its characters and its dime-store sentimentality. The star attraction is Glenn Close, her bunny-boiling days far behind her. Here she’s unrecognizable as Vance’s granny, a foul-mouthed white-trash harridan they call “Mamaw” (may-maw). Close is wasted here, because they put all the effort into makeup instead of fleshing out her character into something other than a horrible old crone who says “fuck” a lot. And, oh yeah, at one point in a flashback she tries to immolate her drunken husband with gasoline and a match. This is another bit of family hearsay Vance writes about in passing. But like Glenn Close, it’s wasted in the film. Just one more random episode telling us that Mamaw was one nasty piece of work.

ORDER IT NOW

I read Hillbilly Elegy when it first came out in 2016, and have been revisiting bits of it on Kindle. Along with another book published around the same time (White Trash), Elegy provided an intriguing sidebar to the political news of that election season. Both books had been in the works for several years, so they weren’t thrown together on short notice as weapons against the Trump presidential campaign. But that is what they became. Nearly every print review and on-air discussion regarded them as a commentary upon the MAGA crowds: Rosetta Stones you could use to decipher the Trump phenomenon.

This theme came up whenever J.D. Vance appeared on talking-head shows. Interviewers would mention Hillbilly Elegy, but seldom ask Vance about anything in the book — his time in the Marines, his drug-addicted mother, or what constitutes a true hillbilly. No, it was always: “Tell us what all those poor-white Trump voters are angry about?” And Vance would say, “Oh, they’re aggrieved because the factory closed down and they feel left behind.”Because, you see, Trump’s supporters — so the story went — were mostly aggrieved working-class whites. Of course, this wasn’t true at all; exit polls in November showed Trump sweeping (white) voters of every sex, class, and income level. But during the campaign, this insinuation looked like wickedly clever disinformation, aimed at socially anxious middle-class voters afraid of slipping into prole-hood.

Or words to that effect. This routine never got old. Here’s the lede of a Slate interview in August 2016:

For the past year, no question has captivated journalists and pundits more than this one: Why do the people supporting Donald Trump support Donald Trump? In his new best-selling book . . . J.D. Vance tells a personal story about his family’s struggles in Appalachia and a political one about the white Americans who make up a strong base of support for the Republican nominee.

Slate toned down the headline after it went live, but the URL gives the game away. Trump! Racism! White working class!

When I first dipped into it, what struck me about Vance’s book was how profoundly dishonest it is. I don’t think this because the author was consciously disingenuous. But look: this Ohio native is not a hillbilly, and he’s not even named J. D. Vance. He used a variety of names growing up, and that’s the pseudonym he settled upon in adulthood, perhaps for the sake of his relatives’ privacy. What he is is a huckster who doesn’t know it. He thinks he has tender, tragic experiences to sell you, but when he opens his cardboard suitcase of samples, it’s just what you expect: snake-oil bottles, and they’re all empty. Our naïve huckster doesn’t think you’ll notice, or at least you won’t be mean-spirited enough to point it out. Vance’s emotional life, as expressed in the memoir, looks to be one part greeting-card sentiment and two parts clichés and third-hand verities. This is why the characterizations in the book (and the film) are so vapid.

Some other examples. Vance tells you his family tried to be good Christians. “The Christian faith stood at the center of our lives. . .” But — aha! “We never went to church, except on rare occasions.” And do we ever see them going to church, or at least praying? We do not. And although the book often seems to be a nonstop exercise in navel-gazing, you never find Vance wrestling with thorny issues of philosophy, let alone theology. Generalizations and easy factoids are more his bag. He tells you his ancestors were “Scots-Irish” because, I guess, he’s heard that’s what people in Appalachia are, but he’s never gone looking for details.

I do not identify with the WASPs of the Northeast. Instead, I identify with the millions of working-class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent who have no college degree. . . To understand me, you must understand that I am a Scots-Irish hillbilly at heart.

(Introduction, Hillbilly Elegy)

What a load of piffle. With a little bit of effort he could trace his genealogy and maybe find out some interesting particulars, but he hasn’t bothered to. Instead, he serves up vague family legends about how a distant cousin of his grandfather’s was “hillbilly royalty” because he married into the Hatfield clan (as in the Hatfield-McCoy feud). Not only is Mr. J. D. Vance not really J. D. Vance, he’s basically Mister Anomie.

Our Mr. Anomie needs to believe that he grew up in a landscape peopled with Godless degenerates who eschew both religion and book-larnin’ because he can then wonder rhetorically why they’ve all made a mess of their lives. Huckleberry Finn just had old Pap as an example of what happens when you turn off the strait-and-narrow; but in Vance-land, it’s implied that Pap Finns are standard issue.

Except of course they’re not. And if you actually read the book, and not the publisher’s blurb or a reviewer’s précis, you see Vance had a pretty comfortable suburban-style upbringing. A broken home, sure, and some minor instances of domestic violence, but he was always secure in the bosom of a loving family (grandparents and a sister, at least; and an uncle in Napa, California who’d fly him and his sister out for visits). There was always food on the table, so that J. D. turned into quite the chubster by fifth grade. In high school, his family gives him a set of golf clubs and he tries out for the school golf team. Not exactly what you’d call “underprivileged.” He didn’t make the team, but this ambition is not the mark of someone suffering from narrow horizons and scanty opportunities.

He wasn’t orphaned, abandoned, thrown out into the street, or held prisoner in a dirt-floor cabin like Huck. His much-married, neglectful mother may have been certifiable, but that part of his history isn’t much different from what you’ll find in New Canaan, Connecticut. My uncle once told me that when he went to the University of Pennsylvania in the Thirties, he was amazed at how all the preppy guys had parents who had been married two, three, four times. Divorce, like golf, was still mainly a sport of the haute-bourgeoisie. Vance pities himself because that easygoing moral decay has spread so far it’s touched his own family.

He imagines his circumstances have improved grandly when he gets to Yale Law School, but they really haven’t. He’s just found a new set of amoral people to whom he can pipe his tale of deprivation. Hard-luck upbringing is his calling card: he’s of hillbilly stock and attended a state college, poor baby. A professor and advisor at law school is none other than “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua, a Chinoise with a Jewish husband who preens herself on having instilled a creed of hard work, violin practice, and hard-nosed ambition into her daughters. Under the tutelage of Chua and his book editors, Vance re-engineers his sentimental memoir into a moral fable of Leftist sociology. Meanwhile, he freelances a bit, instructing National Review readers that his hillbilly confrères are all voting for Trump in 2016 because they’re backward and bigoted. As a capper, Vance marries a nonwhite (an East Indian named Usha), thereby achieving a level of dissolution seldom reached in fewer than four generations of trailer trash.

I’m being cruel and heartless to poor J. D. because I want to make a point. There’s some rich material in his story and it could easily fill out a screenplay treatment or two, though not the one currently on Netflix. Here’s one: A lower-middle-class guy from the Midwest prides himself on having “hillbilly” forebears, and then weaves himself a personal history in which all his growing pains and family eruptions are somehow traceable to this imagined heritage. He rides this horse to success, pleading a poverty-stricken and mangled childhood to get into Yale Law School, and then lands a fat corporate-law job in Silicon Valley. He secures a book contract on the strength of a tendentious memoir in which he airs his family’s dirty linen in public. He becomes a TV political pundit and specializes in telling the chattering classes exactly what they want to believe about the white working class and mainstream Americans in general.

A story, in short, of hard-nosed cynical ambition, right up there with The Wolf of Wall Street.

(Republished from Counter-Currents Publishing by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Good read, thanks.

    I try to make life a little bit better now by hinting at the work of Joe Bageant, who did write great books about the working (white, mostly) poor in the rural US – Joe Bageant. His best book: Deer Hunting with Jesus.

    • Thanks: AceDeuce
    • Replies: @James O'Meara
    , @Richard B
  2. A very informative article. Thank you, Margot!

    The guy is just a latter day Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes. This work purported to be an accurate portrayal of the author’s family and neighbours in 1930s Depression Ireland, whilst in reality it was just a work of fiction pandering to all the prejudices and misconceptions that modern day “liberals” have of that time and place.

    At least you can say that McCourt was actually in Ireland during the period. Vance’s work is at one further remove. He’s writing about hillbillies whilst he was actually living in an Ohio suburb. Snake Oil salesman. Guilty as charged.

  3. A lot of those counties in the mountains are dirt poor and backwards. This guy grew up with his grandparents because he had a drugged out mother, that’s a terrible cross for anyone to bear. Being a hillbilly is a genetic, not a geographical condition. Haven’t read the book or watched the movie, don’t intend to, but this sounds like something written by someone with a “woke” education and a chip on her shoulder about Appalachian poverty.

    • Agree: Lancelot_Link
    • Replies: @Joseph Doaks
  4. No says:

    I too was struck by the dishonesty of this book when I read it a couple of years ago. But, more so, I was struck by the author’s ultimate sideways dismissal of the people in his family and community using the very same stereotypes and victim blaming (I hate that term.) that has been directed at these people for ages. He sprinkles in some of the usual self-determination and bootstraps and then ends with a But-Deliverance-Was-Right flourish to close it out.

    I’m not sure if “J.D.” is oblivious or a traitor to his family and community.

  5. @Verymuchalive

    I was going to post “Yes, but it made such a great musical,” with reference to the AbFab spinoff, Mirrorball:

    https://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/473384/mirrorball#overview

    where it represents the reductio ad absurdum of British musicals. (Jennifer Saunders gets the role of the mother with her killer audition piece, Send in the Clowns) Then, I find out some Irish gits really wrote one, in all seriousness:

    http://www.angelasashesthemusical.ie/

    Although this came out a while ago, I will count this as the most ridiculous thing to happen in this ridiculous year of Our Lord.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  6. @Verymuchalive

    “At least you can say that McCourt was actually in Ireland during the period. Vance’s work is at one further remove. He’s writing about hillbillies whilst he was actually living in an Ohio suburb”

    But but but… the Jews have taught us that the best critiques are made by those most totally alienated. Right?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  7. For my money, the strangest aspect of the production is that it has only a superficial resemblance to J. D. Vance’s 2016 book. It’s as though you were to make a movie of Moby-Dick, knowing only that it has a ship and a white spermaceti whale and a mad captain who stumps around on a peg-leg.

    Still an improvement over BEAUTIFUL MIND. The only resemblance to the book is ‘there is a man’.

    My uncle once told me that when he went to the University of Pennsylvania in the Thirties, he was amazed at how all the preppy guys had parents who had been married two, three, four times. Divorce, like golf, was still mainly a sport of the haute-bourgeoisie.

    Really? So, Charlie is wrong about divorce among the elites in METROPOLITAN?

    A lower-middle-class guy from the Midwest prides himself on having “hillbilly” forebears, and then weaves himself a personal history in which all his growing pains and family eruptions are somehow traceable to this imagined heritage.

    In a way, Vance and Trump deserve one another. How did Trump, NY real estate mogul and chum of Jewish globalists, suddenly become the Man of the People, the champion of the common man? Both are hucksters.

    Moonshine for the Soul.

    One thing for sure, as Jewish New York dominates publishing, anyone who wants success in media and/or literature must cater to the metro-globo-homo elites. So, in a way, there isn’t much difference between (ad)Vance and Thenasty Coates. Vance makes hillbillism palatable to NYers. You see, if them hillbillies got some real learning, they’d be for ‘gay marriage’ too and give up their guns. And of course, Coates frames his argument in a way that blames whites but hardly mentions the Jews.

    Publishing these days is far worse than in the past. Why? Jews are more united in how they think. In the past, there was more pluralism among the Jews: Jews who were critical of Zionism, championed free speech, supported socialism, and the like. There was no single Jewish Thought. But over the years, so many Jews got rich or gained lots of privilege. So, socio-economically, they see the world in much the same way. They all share a hive mind of total domination premised on “Is it good for Jewish Power?”
    Also, Jews are more concentrated than ever in biggest urban centers. In the old days, many Jews settled in small towns and frontier areas to ply their trade as merchants and the like. No wonder Bob Dylan came from Hibbing Minnesota. Many Jews operated movie theaters in southern small towns. But over the years, the kids of these Jews went to college and then found jobs in big cities like NY. So, Jewish Thought is more conformist and unified than ever. And as ideology faded with the fall of communism, the new theme among Jews is idolatry, or the compulsory worship of Jewish Identity(and blacks and homos as prized allies of Jews).

    In the past, if one bunch of Jews wouldn’t publish your book, maybe another bunch of Jews might. Or, you might find some gentile publisher. But over the years, Jews gained total domination of publishing, and most Jews began to think alike. Today, most Jews think free speech must go.

    For a while, there was new opportunity with internet publishing, especially Amazon that gave voice to everyone regardless of identity or ideology. But Jews held a gun to Bezos’ head and told him to censor white nationalists and critics of Jewish Power OR ELSE be smeared by the Jewish Press. As Bezos cares about status and reputation more than anything, he went along. So, publishing is once again totally dominated by Jewish Supremacists.

    So, what’s the result? Hillbilly Narrative pandering to Jews. Black Narrative pandering to Jews.

    • Thanks: Majority of One
  8. @James O'Meara

    “At least you can say that McCourt was actually in Ireland during the period. Vance’s work is at one further remove. He’s writing about hillbillies whilst he was actually living in an Ohio suburb”

    And affluent urban Jews act like they’re still living in a shtetl(threatened by Cossacks) or just emerged from Auschwitz.

    • Agree: 36 ulster
    • LOL: FLgeezer
  9. Dan Hayes says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Frank McCourt was an educated (superficially, to be sure) version of his buffoonish brother Malachy McCourt!

  10. Njall says:

    Margot Metroland,
    Thanks for your article on Hillbilly Elegy and its author – what’s his name.
    I found your review to be a fascinating read — insightful, gutsy, wry, truthful, and of full of good humor, as well as being historically informed.
    The other evening I had selected the show to watch, but after about 15 minutes I turned it off because it turned me off. I sensed that there was something really off about it, and your article nailed down why that was so. I even went on wikipedia to see whether perhaps the original book might be more interesting, Big mistake, for the wiki profile of the book and the author was just pablum.
    Good luck, and keep up the good work. I look forward to your future writings.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  11. Icy Blast says:

    The daring and courageous Tom Woods gave this guy “J.D. Vance” a tongue-bath when Vance’s stupid book was released.

  12. Dan Hayes says:

    For a while it appeared that parts of the Conservative Establishment were grooming
    J D for a political career which fortunately never got off the ground!

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  13. Franz says:
    @Verymuchalive

    The guy is just a latter day Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes. This work purported to be an accurate portrayal of the author’s family and neighbours in 1930s Depression Ireland, whilst in reality it was just a work of fiction pandering to all the prejudices and misconceptions that modern day “liberals” have of that time and place.

    There’s an exasperating 1983 version of all this with “an authentic Chicano voice” emerging from the barrios of California. This was the great Danny Santiago and his bestseller Famous All Over Town.

    Except there was no “Danny Santiago” at all. From LA Times:

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-02-27/american-dirt-literary-authenticity-debate

    The real author of “Famous All Over Town” was a 70-year-old, Yale-educated man named Daniel Lewis James. He wasn’t Mexican.

    In the case of “Famous All Over Town,” Chicano writers who had initially liked Chato’s tale later dismissed it after learning its author was a white man.

    What interests me is they thought the book was fine… then the horrid little detail came out and it was cancelled, to use a term not existing in the 80s except for crappy TV shows.

    Back in the olden days of literature, European guys wrote stuff about Indians, Africans, Eskimos and all that without a word of dismay. It was giving the readers what they wanted: The alien. Victor Hugo actually wrote lots in this vein, including, yup, Eskimos and even the Haitian Revolution. He knew none of it directly, it was pure fantasy to his readers and, especially, to Hugo. He was giving his readers what they wanted: Exotic people in strange new worlds.

    But I keep forgetting. That was back in the bad old days before European nations were enriched and woke and they could treat strange, exotic nations like Star Trek treated strange new worlds.

    • Thanks: Verymuchalive
    • Replies: @chris
  14. He’s a fake. Saw him numerous times on Carlson’s Kosher Hour with Tucker kissing his ass while J.D. did his best “Aw Shucks, I’m just a sensitive, intellectual country boy” shtick. Ivy League Hillbilly? How stupid do these people think we are?

    • LOL: chris
  15. whahae says:

    Best description of Hillbilly Elegy I’ve heard is that it is a long-form college application letter. As that it succeeds.

    • LOL: Forbes
  16. @James O'Meara

    I must agree that they turn the most ridiculous things into musicals.
    It would not surprise me if BLM: The Musical has already been written and will start rehearsals off-Broadway early in the New Year.

    • Replies: @chris
  17. As a capper, Vance marries a nonwhite (an East Indian named Usha), thereby achieving a level of dissolution seldom reached in fewer than four generations of trailer trash.

    Boy that’s the truth. I notice a lot of White people out in rural areas are doing one big thing that their descendants will thank them for: having White kids.

  18. @Dan Hayes

    From the photo, he looks very much like a country club Republican, so no surprise there.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
  19. He looks just like a hawg..

  20. iffen says:

    The film is ordinary and forgettable. Glenn Close’s performance being the exception. There should be some sort of rule in filmmaking that limits flashbacks to one or less.

    The book has several pages of obsequious blurbs from the MSM. Why is that? The reason is because the overarching thrust of the book is that dysfunctional white hillbillies are themselves responsible for their woes. There is an occasional nod to structural economic problems that affect them, but overall the message is that their predicament is the fault of their own noxious behavior. Compare that with something like Ta-Neshisi Coates’s long essay “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration” published in The Atlantic. (Such writings receive even more nauseating and obsequious reviews and blurbs.) How much of that essay entertains the idea that blacks might have some responsibility for their own behavior that leads to incarceration? Not much.

    Why is it that white rednecks are personally responsible for their own woes while those of black rednecks are entirely the fault of white society? How can that be?

    • Replies: @Rich
    , @Stan d Mute
    , @Ragno
  21. Wow, I have to hurry up and write my own Hillbilly Elegy book while Trump is still around. Sure I grew up and went to an inner-city school because my old man was a city cop, but he grew up in the hills and even went to school with a couple of people who went on to appear in Hee Haw, and if that doesn’t make one Hillbilly Royalty, then what does?

  22. Scots-Irish question.

    Why are Ulster Scots or Irish Protestants in the USA a poor group? They aren’t in the UK. What went wrong in the USA for this group of people?

    Also, why do so-called hillbillies have a worse social pathology than, say, German Americans?

    Trump’s father was conceived in Germany, born in the US and managed to become a millionaire. Many immigrants get out of poverty in a generation. How?

    How is it that immigrants on the East Coast able to get out of poverty in a generation?

    And what does geography have to do with the poor decisions of the protagonist’s mother?

    And why did she choose to make these bad decisions?

    And what is the big deal about her son choosing not make them?

  23. chris says:
    @Franz

    Maybe it’s because there is a huge difference between evoking a universal interest in someone’s plight versus highjacking a topic in order to aggrandize oneself and at the same time erasing the voice of the actual protagonists. The latter is just a ventriloquist.

  24. So, the film sucks, because the novel sucked. I think I get your point.

  25. Read Jim Goad about hillbillies and white trash.MUCH funnier

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
  26. Jake says:
    @Verymuchalive

    I have had issues with Vance’s book since reading no more than a third of it. But I think important to get things correct. The southern quarter, perhaps even third, of Ohio is geographically Appalachia. And the white people who first settled in that part of OH (and who therefore had to deal with the violence of native Americans, taming a frontier) came preponderantly from VA and NC via KY. The rest came from western PA. The vast majority of them would be best characterized as being primarily of Scotch-Irish and Welsh ancestry. In other words, the original white settlers of southern OH were the same people culturally and genetically as Vance’s kin who went north into OH from eastern KY a century or more later to find factory work.

    Southern OH like southern IN and southern IL has its Little Dixie. The name was applied not because those areas had 10-15% of the whites owning black slaves (as was true of ‘slave’ states), nor because those areas had a handful of very rich slave owners who, often ignoring swaths of Scottish and Irish-Norman ancestry, labelled themselves English country gentry. The Little Dixies of the lower midwest are so named because Scotch-Irish peoples defined the local cultures, which fit with the Appalachian patterns not the patterns of New England Puritans and Pilgrims, which defined northern OH precisely because descendants of New England Yankees settled northern OH.

    I think Vance was steered by Neocons of the National Review type to write as he did, to emphasize what he did and t0 ignore what he did. I think he, slowly, has come to understand that and what it means in terms of altering some of his views.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Majority of One
  27. Jake says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    You think Protestants in Northern Ireland, as a group, are wealthy and well educated and lacking in large doses of alcoholism and other social pathologies? If so, you are way off base.

    Hillbillies do not have problems such as alcoholism at higher rates than German-Americans. But being poorer and concentrated in areas that the American WASP Elites see as inherently inferior, the hillbillies get to carry the burden of being the definitive white trash.

  28. I was a middle class kid who grew up in a typical midwestern middle class family. Suburbs of west county in St. Louis. In the 90’s I loved it because it was right next to the “country”. My best friends were considered “white trash” to my ex-burb upper middle class peers. But I loved that time in my childhood and the 3 of us were like brothers and had amazing adventures together. The brothers who my best friends would take me to go stay with their dad in rural MO. He lived in a trailer. I saw REAL white rural poverty and the real struggles of rural people. Even now as a grown man when I go out the country in MO I see it. You cant understand it or the mentality unless you’ve been immersed in it. But there is a spirit in all the harshness and poverty of these people’s lives. A freedom if you will and what I loved, a disdain for authority. If there is ever a revolution or civil war Id rather be out among rural whites than anywhere else.

    • Agree: Sollipsist
    • Thanks: Thomasina, Majority of One
    • Replies: @Sollipsist
  29. chris says:
    @Verymuchalive

    LOL the BLM musical!!!

    They could have free admission and just let a couple of street thugs collect ‘donations.’ On the other hand, the show might be in violation of a number of local fire department ordinances.

  30. iffen says:
    @Jake

    You should read the book.

  31. iffen says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    What went wrong in the USA for this group of people?

    According to Thomas Sowell the cousins left behind in Ulster, Wales, the Borderlands and elsewhere mostly assimilated to the “English standard” in the years after the emigrant cousins left. The Scotch-Irish immigrants very quickly became the kangz in their areas of settlement and didn’t need to assimilate to no stinking New Angland standards. So they didn’t.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  32. Cowboy says:

    If I recall correctly the doucheholes at The American Conservative thought the book was in league with Mark Twain. And with the consistency of the sun coming up every morning these soy boys rimming Conservative Inc will convert to Romanism.

  33. If these are real, verifiable facts, then- a very good review.

    But, what sticks out to a non-American reader of the review: it’s not just that Vance character is a phony, but both his real & imagined life-trajectories are anti-climactic. He has traded a life of (relative) poverty, drugs, promiscuity, meaninglessness, emptiness …. to just another version- financially more successful & stable- of drugs, promiscuity, meaninglessness, emptiness ….

    Just – the central thesis of this fictive memoir: “Oh, they’re aggrieved because the factory closed down and they feel left behind. is sound. It is not something particularly American, nor even “white”. People everywhere, in Europe, Asia, Latin America, … are aggrieved if they lived by their hands in an industrial environment & their source of income had vanished. Joblessness creates despair. This is a universal trait.

    What the US has better than the rest of the world- except affluent Western Europe, but this will have changed- is that jobless people are much worse off than depicted in this fiction. They may or may not use drugs, but they are, as a rule, malnourished, angry, alcoholic, desperate, …. until the whole thing explodes when the right leader appears at the scene & shows them that their condition can be radically changed for the better. Simply- crush the rich bastards who live as parasites.

    What is unintentionally comic in this book (I am judging by reviews, I haven’t read it & don’t intend to) is that Vance’s supposedly happy ending, the apex of his life so far- seems to be some kind of wealthy conformist existence according to multi-cult dogma among chattering classes where, we are told to believe, “real” & fulfilled life happens. He’s not even conscious of phoniness of it all.

  34. Rich says:
    @iffen

    We are all responsible for our own woes. We’re dealt a hand, and have to play the cards. Accepting that we’re responsible forces us to work harder, to be stronger. Blaming another group, not feeling responsible, turns people into weak minded dependents, forever holding out their hands. The “blame Whitey” narrative that’s being fed mainly to blacks, but also to any willing to feed off it, helps keep those people on their knees.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Polemos
  35. Emslander says:

    Somebody somewhere had better makes sense of the Trump phenomenon. First, you have to separate the man from the phenomenon. Then you have to decide what the hell it really was that propelled it so powerfully that the candidate was almost entirely ignored, by his supporters, as a flawed politician.

    I don’t think I ever was able to watch him give a whole speech, for example. I think I listened to the inaugural after I’d read it and thought that it was a brilliant manifesto. It had obviously been prepared carefully and, uncharacteristically, delivered carefully. I’m not saying I don’t like Trump, necessarily. I just don’t think his normal performance is worth paying attention to, except as a national cry from the heart.

    I don’t come from the people who are apparently the subject of this Hillbilly thing and nearly all of the people I once thought were friends have cut me with prejudice. Nevertheless, the phenomenon has resonated with me to my deepest being. It has a lot to do with where I think we are in the process of an empire’s birth, life and death.

    So, somebody has to properly describe this phenomenon that, most likely, won the most votes in 2020, because it’s not going away.

    • Agree: Peripatetic Itch
  36. Z-man says:

    I will never read Hillbilly’ but just from this snide article and some of the pathetic comments I will root that JD Vance has even more success with that book and it’s spinoff movie. I’ve seen him on and promoted by Tucker Carlson so I’m already biased in my positive estimation of the guy and his work.
    As for the film, which I also most likely won’t ever see, it will probably be a vehicle for Glen Close to get a supporting Oscar nomination. Man, I never found her attractive as a younger woman but now she’s absolutely horrible looking. Jewlywood likes that. (Wry grin) As for luscious Amy Adams, who’s also in this movie, I can’t see her being an Appalachian mom no matter how much she and ‘they’ try to make her one.

  37. Sounds like AOC… “privileged” enough to tell you how to live or the “way it is” when its all but a fevered dream in their muddled noggins.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  38. @iffen

    Why is it that white rednecks are personally responsible for their own woes while those of black rednecks are entirely the fault of white society? How can that be?

    In a sentence: Only white men have agency.

    • Agree: Forbes
  39. TKK says:

    I wanted to know what sort of meds make so you so energetic and euphoric that you’re ready to make your nursing rounds in a pair of high-topped day-glow rollerskates.

    Ha! That’s great.

    Meth. Mixed with oxy. Now, there’s a euphoria 8 ball. But your heart takes a whipping.

    For a babied down version, take 200 mg of caffiene with a Valium.

    Outstanding writing and analysis!!!! Pleasure to read.

  40. TKK says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Do you not understand family money?

    You ask questions like you are an alien or from Mars.

  41. Arlie Hochschild is a Berkeley professor who is tapping into the great interest the establishment has at crafting a strategy to keep the yoke on the deplorables.

    She goes to Appalachia and Louisiana to interview backwoods Trump supporters. Conclusion: globalists need to work harder at reeling the white working class back into docile servitude using appeals to emotion.

    The establishment has money to burn. Savvy grifters in academia and the arts will line up for lucre in this latest push to psychologically deconstruct and remake rebellious white minds.

  42. iffen says:
    @Rich

    We are all responsible for our own woes.

    That’s true, but there are genetic, cultural and economic forces at work on the individual.

    • Replies: @Rich
  43. @Verymuchalive

    It’s interesting how country club Republicans share a certain physiognomy; this chubby-faced squinty-eyed look. Another good example is Trump-hating establishment Republican commentator Erick Erickson.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erick_Erickson

    • Agree: Verymuchalive
    • Replies: @James O'Meara
  44. @Njall

    Pray tell, what is Vance’s real name? If Margot knows it, why didn’t she say it? Metroland is a rather strange name. Is that a pseudonym too?

    I did watch the movie, based on Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vance the day before it came out. (Carlson has been talking up Vance’s book since Trump was elected, and he’s been a guest several times). I found it pretty average, worse than I had expected.

    Margot talks up Glenn Close as the star attraction, but fails to mention that the always great Amy Adams does a fine job as the mother. Since the theaters are all closed due to the Corona hoax, if there is an Academy Awards show next year, dominated by direct to Netflix movies, both should be up for an Oscar. The pickins’ are pretty slim. The actors playing JD, both as a teenager and an adult, were uniformly bad.

    What perturbed me the most was that JD, at the beginning, said the best time of his life was summers with his kinfolk in the coal minin’ Kentucky hill country. That’s White Appalachia. Then it was never mentioned again except when they went back to bury his Grandpa. Those gun totin’ redneck mountain folk took care of their own. A director of Ron Howard’s acclaim should have done better than just giving those tough hill folk the first ten minutes. “Grapes of Wrath” it was not.

    After the movie, I decided to buy “Hillbilly Elegy” from Amazon. I figured it had to be better. It just came yesterday, so haven’t had the time to start it yet. If Metroland is right, I guess I’ve wasted my money.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  45. COUNTRY BOYS is a pretty good docu.

  46. Bugg says:

    Have not read the book, but may see the movie, given the dearth of anything worthwhile. But sounds like one long boring Springsteen song come to life, except the protagonist paid attention often enough in high school to be a success rather than a loser.

  47. BeeGee says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    The hillbilly Scots-Irish, of which I am partly one, came to the US a looonngg time ago, pre-Revolutionary War. They were generally poor if not outright indentured servants or prisoners. That is, they were miscreants in their Old World society. That often didn’t change when they arrived here. They escaped to the hills, away from grabbing hands and prying eyes, and improvised a life. My state, WV, has a Latin motto that translates to Mountaineers Always Free. They might be poor, uneducated, and lacking in agency but they were — as Spuds McKenzie might say — “their own dog.”

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  48. @ConqueringFools

    I can see a huge difference between the rural white trash where/whom I came from, and the urban/ suburban white trash (that I see every day). It would take a better communicator than I am to express it all, but “pride” is a good enough word to get on with.

    Even way back then, I could see the urban influence infecting some of the kids I grew up with — generally the ones who went from good ol’ boys to petty criminals and welfare cases. It’s almost a direct correlation: the closer you get to a city, or on a major highway between them, the more likely the kids are to lose their pride. Subtract another a few points if they have a university or corporation headquarters nearby.

    All in all, I’ll be glad to move back to a small town in the middle of nowhere, full of people with pride. It may even become necessary, if the US maintains its current trajectory.

    • Replies: @James O'Meara
  49. @follyofwar

    James David Vance was born in August 1984 in Middletown, Ohio, as James Donald Bowman,[4] the son of Donald Bowman and Bev Vance. Vance’s only sister, Lindsay, had been born when his mother was 19 years old. His mother and father divorced when Vance was a toddler. Not long after, Vance was adopted by his mother’s third husband.[4] Vance and his sister were raised primarily by his grandparents.[11][12][13]

    Lady Margot Metroland is the leading female character in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Decline and Fall.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_and_Fall

    • Thanks: follyofwar
  50. @Jeff Stryker

    A very materialistic, “success” oriented take. Quite evidently married to the Bitch Goddess Success. Very much a metropolitan, East Coast attitude. No spirituality in sight. Such a perspective is mainly found in middle to upper middle-class suburbs and exurbs. Reeks of a total dearth of common sense.

    • Replies: @Bert
  51. @Jake

    While residing in eastern Ohio for the better part of two years, I was given to understand that about one out of every five Ohioans either migrated from West Virginia or Kentucky or were descended from such folk who had arrived there during or since WWII.

    The “Little Dixie” components of those three lower midwestern states with their Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina backgrounds is matched by a swathe of the Missouri (they call it Missoura) river valley from roughly Carrollton/Chilicothe westwards to Independence and thus up-river to the Quantrill/James brothers lands around St. Joe.

    Ohio’s northern strip was originally a territory of Connecticut, which they termed their Western Reserve. Currently, Yankee dominance in that part of the state has been a bit subsumed by the industrial-age infusions of Italians, Yugoslavs, Greeks and others who migrated there, mostly becoming mill-workers in the steel, automobile and affiliated industries.

    Somewhat separate from the rest of Southern Ohio cultures is the city of Cincinnati which was settled initially by Revolutionary War veterans who styled themselves after the Society of Cincinnatus. During the time of European revolts and failed revolutions in the 1840’s significant numbers of free-thinking Germans fled from the re-imposition of autocratic regimes, mostly settling in Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

  52. @Bardon Kaldian

    Excellent take from a voice abroad. Perhaps the US could use another de Tocqueville who would travel broadly along the blue highways of America for a year or so and then take up the Ariadne’s thread shared by his predecessor.

    Things may become a bit dicey in the near future here across the fruited plain, but a time for exploration and adventure. MI-6 types not invited, because they, the Mo$$ad and other such creeps are already nosing around this ruptured republic.

  53. @BeeGee

    The term Scots-Irish ( originally Scotch-Irish ) has been used to cover a multitude of errors in American history. The original Scotch-Irish was a term used to describe Ulster Protestants who later emigrated to the future United States in the C17th and C18th, and probably early C19th as well.

    The vast majority had come to Ulster from Scotland, with lesser amounts from northern England, Devon and Wales, from the early 1600s onward. There had been a Reformation in Ireland, as well, and considerable protestant Irish coalesced with the others to become Ulster Protestants. So in Belfast today you have Protestants with names like Galway and Monaghan. Likewise, the famous feud between Hatfields ( English ) and McCoys ( Irish ) in the Appalachian Mountains.

    The Appalachian Mountains are difficult country. Small farms, steep slopes and little arable land. And, of course, coal mining. The push of America had been westwards. Unsurprising that the people left behind in the Appalachians were much more traditional, much more like C18th Americans. Nothing wrong with that, though the last 50 years has seen terrible degradation, as elsewhere in America.

    As a Scot myself, I am perfectly OK with the term Scots-Irish as shorthand for traditional White Appalachians. But bear in mind, many may have little Scots or Irish ancestry.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  54. Bert says:
    @Majority of One

    Here is materialistic counter to Stryker’s, but one that deals with reality.

    An example of Stryker’s dearth of common sense: He doesn’t realize that there has been a process of “boiling off.” The more capable and determined Scots-Irish individuals did not stay in the uplands after the Revolutionary War (which they contributed mightily to winning; in the last major battle, Eutaw Springs, the Scots-Irish militia went toe-to-toe against British regulars in a stand-up shoot-out). They went to the Bluegrass of Kentucky, to middle Tennessee, to middle Georgia, fertile flat lands all. And from there they went northwest, west and southwest; everywhere there was a frontier. Up until and including the present, the most capable have left Appalachia, but idiots like Stryker can’t recognize the inevitability of internal immigration. Nor that those that don’t immigrate for opportunity do not constitute an entirely worthless gene pool. Relatively few of the non-boilers lead misguided lives; their gene pool of millions and genetic recombination ensure that most mountain people are solid citizens.

  55. Ragno says:

    I’m being cruel and heartless to poor J. D. because I want to make a point. There’s some rich material in his story and it could easily fill out a screenplay treatment or two, though not the one currently on Netflix. Here’s one: A lower-middle-class guy from the Midwest prides himself on having “hillbilly” forebears, and then weaves himself a personal history in which all his growing pains and family eruptions are somehow traceable to this imagined heritage. He rides this horse to success……

    What you’re describing is THE modern Horatio Alger story, with a reverse-twist indigenous to our dying civilization: the white kids who pretend to be black, only one profitably; the Jewess from flyover country who pretends to be “Latinx” so she can act out all her most monstrous impulses; and all the lonely biracial weirdoes out there faking hate crimes against themselves for fame and attention (this last category is crowded with entrants), which is a troubled offshoot of what is now practically The Official American Story, wherein a biracial kid – loved, nurtured, educated and prepared for life by the white parent – whose first self-directed splash into society at large is to identify 100% with the nonwhite parent, often an absent cipher, because that’s where the real bling is these days. Even fat boy Vance, desperate for a hook, dredged up the least flattering memories of the most unfortunate relatives and neighbors he had, in order to pry his way into the Victims Club…..where the living is easy, and all the drinks are comped.

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  56. 36 ulster says:

    MAY-maw? Among US Scots-Irish, there’s no “MAY” in “mamaw’ (MAM-aw).

    • Replies: @John Henry
  57. @Hapalong Cassidy

    They hark back to the age of the Doughy Guys

    Stay for the end when they roll the list of Doughy Guys. You’ll note that politicians dominate.

    The phenom is pretty bipartisan; sure, there’s Trump and Barr, but also Jerry Nadler. You might call it the Beltway Look (ironic, hm?). Politicians are lazy, rich, and have access to fine dining. The last two wouldn’t necessarily result in: the Doughy Look, but it’s the first one: lazy.

    From Day One photos of Trump with his appointees or advisors reminded me why slogans like “no more old White guys” or “a cabinet that looks like the real America” though phony, resonate with people.

    The headline at ZH today was “Barr says AP distorted his comments”. That was because his mouth was stuffed with delicious lobster Newberg and his cavernous belly was blasting out eructions like Ignatius Reilly after too many hot dogs. Critics don’t realize how hard it is for him to get off his big, fat pale ass and do some investigatin’.

  58. @Sollipsist

    That may be it. The rural or traditional (in many senses) White trash have a residual pride, which may in fact account for some of their bad decisions, but at least is a thing. The urban sort just seem to be losers who have given up or simply have nothing to begin with in our postmodern world. See Andrew Joyce’s article on Portland.

  59. @Priss Factor

    One of the characters in your film clip alluded to the basic problem in reading or watching fiction, which seems to be the normal past-time of much of the population: in doing so you lose the ability to discern truth from fiction. The whole point of good fiction is make it sound like real life. So the skillful author can make anything he wants sound real and the reader has no defense against authors who have an agenda.

    The real controllers are the publishers, including film producers, who serve as gatekeepers for the many thousands of writers who want to become famous or successful. Only those with a narrative conforming to the publishers’ agendas get published, and then pushed in front of the public with big marketing campaigns.

    One dominant agendas these days is of course to push the notion that everything is socially constructed. Anything else is suppressed or heavily censored. Here’s one germane and interesting video on masculinity, by an Eton College teacher, that is currently undergoing cancel culture:

  60. @Ragno

    Exactly so. Big Jew always offers some short lived fame and money to be made, if you’re willing to shit on your own kind and trash your Race, Nation and Civilization.

    As a boy growing up in Baltimore, my father and uncle, along with others affiliated with a local Catholic charity would take toys, food and supplies to families in Appalachia around Christmas.

    Mostly Western Maryland and West Virginia.

    Though somewhat materially “poor”, the people were always dignified, hospitable and appreciative.

    Some of the very best Americans to be found.

    Excellent essay by Margo Metroland as well.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
  61. @InnerCynic

    Your comment is nonsensical. You obviously didn’t see the movie!

  62. @Bardon Kaldian

    But, what sticks out to a non-American reader of the review: it’s not just that Vance character is a phony, but both his real & imagined life-trajectories are anti-climactic. He has traded a life of (relative) poverty, drugs, promiscuity, meaninglessness, emptiness …. to just another version- financially more successful & stable- of drugs, promiscuity, meaninglessness, emptiness ….

    Well, I didn’t take that away. (Caveat: I’ve seen the film but have not read the book).

    What struck me about Vance’s path is that he was an active and enthusiastic participant in the kind of geographic/talent sorting that is probably as significant factor in the malfunction and depression of the Appalachia of his childhood as was the hollowing out of industry (there’s probably a vicious circle relationship between the two). Given the opportunity, he chased a white shoe law firm job in D.C., and chose to marry another student with a Yale Law School pedigree. Of course, he could have taken his fancy Yale Law education, learned a bunch after, returned to Southern Ohio or Eastern Kentucky, married the Buckeye pageant queen, and maybe become the pillar of the community that it needs. He could have been a County Judge, Mayor, or somesuch and applied his talents to help restore these areas to functioning – he certainly wouldn’t be impoverished, but he wouldn’t have a resume quite as impressive to his Bugman peers.

  63. @36 ulster

    I grew up saying “Mema”. (Mee-Maw) We came across a few other families using the same for their gandmother.

    • Replies: @Oldtradesman
  64. Rich says:
    @iffen

    You aren’t wrong. The black culture in America, for instance, blames Whitey for everything and justifies its failures on “racism” and gives up on trying. The attempt to get poor Whites to buy into the same kind of nonsense has been going full bore the last couple years. I’m told “White trash” has been part of the American landscape for years, these are the people who buy into blaming the Sacklers, and not themselves, for their drug use. Once they take responsibility for their actions, they can get off the junk and do something with their lives.

  65. @John Henry

    Our south Missouri grandmother was “Meema.” Our Texas grandmother of similar socioeconomic background who aspired to higher status upon her arrival in California insisted on “grandmother.”

    We preferred our Meema.

    • Replies: @John Henry
  66. Anonymous[419] • Disclaimer says:

    I just finished reading the comments by Kevin Williams about JD Hillbilly Elegy which is worse for black hillbillies…!!! the review is such bullshit it felt liek a punch in the liver. According to Williams the WHITE hillbilies deplorables have no one to blame but themselves for being : LAZY, drug addicts, illiterate, ignoramus racists pigs. Well I guess thats not racist, intolerance, so the Scott Irish deplorables that gave us Carnegie Mellons, Custer, Lincoln, Patton, that were the backbone of Agroindustrial America progress that propel the USA into the West, from Sea to Shing Sea.fough two WWars, .and made this country world power suddenly had become a human scoria useless red neck racists. The main problem is that Kevin is a BIG mouthed JEW and no one can reply in kind.

    [MORE]
    Politics/policies PUBLIC and d private have consecuences who had been themanin driving force behind OPEN borders, forced white integration, defunding white communities, expansion of HB Visas, failed schools, and exporting manufacturing JOBS to China, Mexico, Sri Lanka favoring the financial jewish financiers, and depredatory corporate labor practices yes the JEWS…The same tribe that own and control UNIVERSITIES unions, that syetmatically exclude above well qualified WHITES from key university careers. These jews that bankrupted The USA Treasury and sends young unemployed deplorables to kill for Israel, NO its no accident what maligns whites…its a well planned calculated program to erase WHITES lock them into poverty, drug addiction (Seckler pharma), pornography, illiteracy etc. and NOW teh same jews that will NOT allow WHITES ever to ELECT their OWN political representatives..after teh elections of 2020 its plain and clear NO free elections ever..not for whites 8in their OWN country under this constitutional order. Kevin go and tell other races your honesty about their poverty drug addictions…80% of the CRimes prison populatiosn are NON WHITES…IF AMERICA IS SO RACISTS HATEFUL HELL ..THEN MOVE OUT…In my jobs all key jobs go to NON whites that can NOT sPEAK Enlish.AND DONT KNOW WTF THEY ARE DOING…WHITES ARE NOT WELCOME

    • Agree: FLgeezer
  67. @iffen

    Fredrich Trump had a problem with the Bavarian king, no less, and a pregnant wife. But when he sailed to the US he quickly got with the program. Didn’t he?

    Lots of immigrants fled to the USA to escape the crumbling European empires or lawlessness…their grandkids are not Opoid abusing teen mom wasters as a result.

    Forgive my confusion, but who holds a gun to anyone’s head and says smoke the meth & get drunk now! Get pregnant or I’ll pull the trigger! Quit school in the 8th grade or I’ll shoot!

    Ohio isn’t even in Appalachia. We could, to some degree, blame these problems on the geography of the mountains. Accessibility by road, lack of industry etc. But Ohio is in the Midwest.

  68. @Sean

    Thanks for posting this.

    Soft white underbelly is amazing.

    At first….as I watched the clips of my people who’ve been demonized, marginalized, ruined, and thrown away….I felt a deep sadness…

    but then as I reflect on how this happened….and who did it…..

    my fury is almost impossible to contain.

    I challenge anybody to watch these clips and then lecture me about “white privilege.”

  69. Hockamaw says:

    Really phenomenal review. Thanks.

  70. Richard B says:
    @Dieter Kief

    Good read, thanks.

    Agreed. I especially liked the Vance photo for the article. Says it all.

    “I’m soft, harmless and anxioux to please. Have pen. Will shill.°

  71. @Jeff Stryker

    You are easily the most ignorant person that comments on this site.
    Go back to telling those same 3 or 4 stories you know about America. Not that they’re not stupid stories but you come across as less stupid.
    Gawd you’re a dumbass.

    • Agree: Alden
  72. “The film has one enjoyable scene in which Mom (Amy Adams) pops pills and goes rollerskating through the corridors of the hospital where she works. This is almost entirely the invention of screenwriter and director; the book barely alludes to such an episode, apparently as a figure of speech.”

    Not true at all. The book mentions it twice. The second reference explains that it was this incident that marked his mother’s descent into pain pill addiction and led to her firing from her nurse’s position.

    Here is Vance’s sentence the second time he mentions this incident: “I believe the problem started with a legitimate prescription, but soon enough, Mom was stealing from her patients and getting so high that turning an emergency room into a skating rink seemed like a good idea.”

    Next time try reading the book more carefully before writing a review.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @iffen
  73. Richard B says:
    @Priss Factor

    Jews are more united in how they think.

    That’s exactly right. But it’s also why they’ll fail. In fact, they already are.

    Why? Because, as I’ve said before, but will say again, because it’s worth repeating, though they’re good at infiltration, subversion, radical ingratitude, insane hatred, betrayal, destruction and death, they’re no good at social management.

    A related reason is because Identity Politics is their Frankenstein. It really is, as Steve Sailer has said, a coalition of the fringes, with anti-White hatred being the crazy glue holding it all together. Hardly a recipe for a long reign of power.

    Now that they’ve pretty much squashed the White man, and have the Whites on their side right where they want them, the coalition of increasingly bizarre and resentful splinter groups are already at each others throats. So much so, that what we’re witnessing as we speak is nothing less than The Pyrrhic Victory of Identity Politics.

    Putting a single political party in charge only places a rhetorical mask over the many problems that exist between the groups and within each group, as well as the many problems that exist in the country they now control.

    Their incompetent social management can only be continuously reinforced, with predictable and disastrous consequences, for them, not just everyone else.

    But, above all, there’s the question of their predictably unstable and very bad relationship with a recalcitrant reality that doesn’t give a damn what they think, feel, or believe in. The very reality they’re at war with. And sooner or later reality always wins.

  74. @Verymuchalive

    Really? You can’t say “Scotch-Irish” any more? I don’t know what “Scots-Irish” is. I know what Scotch-Irish is. What is this phony-baloney, pc-speak you people indulge in? I thought this was a haven for free thinkers, stolidly unafraid to speak such horrible demeaning epithets as “Scotch-Irish” fer Chrissake

  75. Anonymous[419] • Disclaimer says:

    the problem is that WHITE deplorables CAN NOT BLAME ; the Holocaust, racism, can not blame others (non white/jewish) privilege, antisemitism, …Whites can not Demand Reparations, blame police brutality, racist structuralism patriarchical gender center identity cultural appropriation , blame or demand affirmative action white hillbillies deplorables studies , white civil rights, can not celebrate Christmas, 4th of July, if they choose to move into teh suburbs they are prosecuted/persecuted and sieged, IF they move back IN is called Gentrification/racism again…even if whites score 200% above the average in the GRA/SAT/ IQ TESTS they are NOT qualify, they can NOT even VOTE anymore because they are racists…..why dont they move out to other cities well maybe they dont want to…will Kevin Williams tell the same “honest” argument to Blacks, mexicans, that blame white racism for all their ills..according to Kevin the solution is MOVE OUT…so do it…Kevin…

  76. @Jeff Stryker

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with ethnicity or genes or whatever it is you people blame the chimeras you purport to see on.

    1. Appalachia got fucked by the coal companies and the banks and land speculators like Andrew Jackson (a poor, impoverished, indigent Scotch-Irishman). That’s why it’s poor.
    2. Half the US population, white and black, has Scotch-Irish ancestry. Half the population of the US around Revolutionary times was Scotch-Irish. They filled up the western half of PA, moved south and west, and settled all over the nation. Many of them became a tad successful. Like, uh, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Grant, McKinley and Wilson, among others.

    • Replies: @anon
  77. anon[327] • Disclaimer says:

    Sampling, real white trash: Cuomos, DeBlazio, Newsom, Whitmer,
    Comy, Gates, Bezos, Warner, Northam, Haspel, Pelosi.

    White Yid are a separate, special type of trash.

    Friend wanted me to watch this movie with her.
    I drank thru 3 minutes. She made it through 11 .

    Even that was too much.

    5ds/bjondo

    • Agree: GeneralRipper
  78. Well, Margot sounds like a pretty snobby person, so I’m sure many of the commenters here will love her. Haven’t read the book, don’t really have the time. Saw the movie, it was ok I thought, some parts of it were pretty emotional, to people that can relate. I doubt the most of the sheltered and spoiled crowd here at Unz could ever relate to most of those situations. Haha The guy really didn’t have it as bad as some of the people around here.

    Overall movies like that send a bad message I think. Seems like the message is just boner material for the boomer contard “bootstraps and personal responsibility” cucks though. The ones that would rather give it to Raytheon and Israel. Don’t like that the movie sneaks military recruitment propaganda in either, poor kids shouldn’t be forced to join the military to go to school. Not a military that only fights wars of aggression for the benefit of the rich anyhow.

    I know its hard to tell the whole story in a 2 hour movie. Maybe Ron Howard can make a Part 2 where JD realized the military he joined was helping supply the dope his mother was strung out on, if he ever realized it. Its not a coincidence that most of the heroin is coming from Afghanistan the country that he probably helped destroy and occupy. Same as Vietnam and Laos back in the days of CIA’s Air America and the Golden Triangle.

    Anyhoo, it is really difficult helping someone with an addiction to prescription drugs. Its more difficult than dealing with an illegal drug addiction because the addict/victim considers it “medicine” It comes from doctors so it can’t be bad is the attitude. Then the pills get too expensive or doctor cuts off the pills or the prescription runs out they’re on the street buying heroin. Just a coincidence how that happened I’m sure.

    Its nothing short of criminal the way they’re handing out pills like candy and no one who could stop it cares because they’re all getting rich. Woohoo capitalism! They’ve clamped down on the opioids, but the damage is done now, most have moved on to the heroin, probably just a coincidence… They still hand out the benzos, muscle relaxers and others that are just as addictive, turn people into zombies. All the SSRI’s and other loony concoctions they’re putting kids on these days will be regretted one day. Its all a recipe for disaster.

    These pieces of shit don’t care about all the misery and destruction they cause. Its all about the short term profits. Every time some worthless cocksucker like Trump talks about “law and order” and “dangerous thugs” its just hollow and meaningless trash talk. The biggest criminals in the country, the kingpins, remain free, keep their stolen wealth, get promotions and bonuses.

    A nation won’t survive when selfish, corrupt and lawless criminals are rewarded at the expense of everyone else. Not long anyway. Guarantee you in China, DPRK, Iran, or even Russia these soulless demons like the Sacklers for one wouldn’t exist, and if they did manage to do what they’ve done to America in those countries they would be rewarded with a bullet to the back of the head.

    The movie reminded me of this old one, The dollmaker from 1984

  79. I, for one, found the Netflix version (didn’t read the book) to be semi-revolutionary. As in, it shows a community of white people who are not priveliged. For goodness sakes, how often do you come across that notion in the 2020 media landscape? And whilst there was plenty of white-trash misbehaviour and self-destruction on display (the lead character finds himself nearly reverting to an act of violent backwoods retribution himself), I found the characters sympathetic, and Glenn Close was quite the revelation. Her Mawmaw character was a tough, foul mouthed, mean old bird, but that made her selfless decision to care for JD all the more arresting, and admirable.

    None of these characters are anything like the cruel, murderous caricatures found in Deliverance, a horror movie that is somehow regarded as deep social commentary. If it is commentary, it is commentary upon the fear that American Jews harbour about what awaits them if they ever stray beyond the safety of the cities, to visit rural America. I don’t think I’m wrong about that; there was a heavy current of the same concern underpinning the recent HBO fear-porn series, The Plot Against America.

    Frankly any movie telling stories about America’s now-invisible lower white classes is worth watching in my book. Even if it isn’t movie of the year.

    • Agree: Bert
  80. anon[179] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag

    I can relate to be surrounded by squalid conditions as a young man. I was raised middle-class in bucolic suburbs but beginning in college off-campus I was around the seamy side of life. This was purely due to income. Then I moved to a major city in the Southwest where I saw the dangers of gang violence.

    It did not really make me want to use heroin, get a girl pregnant or join a gang. All it made me to was want to leave the country and take a hot long shower to get the experience off.

    Nevertheless, if you have ever been poor in the USA you’ll have the same experience of unpleasant random detainment by quota-hungry cops. This happened to me, though I did not attempt to batter the officers. I simply ate sh*t and waited for them to tell me I was free to go. I didn’t ask them defiantly why they stopped me or proclaim my innocence I simply complied.

    I also understand the mentality of teen deadbeat Dads. I met a few feckless young men with kids who were only 20 and had already taken up with some other young poor woman. The one I knew best ended up in jail for stabbing someone.

    I’m long out of that environment but the words of Scott still haunt me as we were moving his things out of his trailer…”Careful, my Mom is a pervert!”

    • Replies: @Alden
  81. iffen says:
    @Days of Broken Arrows

    At least the reviewer demonstrated that he is intimately involved with piffle.

  82. @Jeff Stryker

    This is a very good thread. But then here, like meth to a blame, is the escapee from Michigan, this website’s self-certified expert on disaffected white Americans.

    And why are you so stubbornly binary about this?

    But Ohio is in the Midwest.

    It’s scarcely relevant, but much of Southern Ohio and many of its people, by economic, cultural, topographic, or any true measure, is and are Appalachian.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  83. Squid says:

    Margot, darling, how divine to see you! It’s been absolute yonks! Have you gotten over your misadventure with that awful little man? What was his name…Pennyfeather? Such a rouge! He might have ruined you! Oh, here’s Malcolm with the car! Do call, darling…

    • LOL: Polemos
  84. iffen says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I’m not sure if you are arguing with me or not. I’m not exactly arguing with you. The lower classes exhibit different frequencies of self-defeating behaviors than the middle classes and up. Also, we must always remember that the upper classes have the resources to more easily and more often recover from those bad decisions. Certainly the Scotch-Irish can be identified culturally and the Appalachian subculture even more so. I am inclined to believe that genetics adds to the cultural explanation for the observed differences in self destructive behaviors between Scotch-Irish and the subset, hillbillies, and other Americans, for example, New Englanders and their descendants.

    Also, we should remember, as the book shows, and social-economic research shows, the “failures” are not the majority of the group and this goes for blacks as well.

  85. Ragno says:
    @iffen

    Why is it that white rednecks are personally responsible for their own woes while those of black rednecks are entirely the fault of white society? How can that be?

    Search me… but you can read the exact same sort of swill in pretty much any issue of NATIONAL REVIEW.

    If I recall correctly, NR’s Caucasian-shamer-in-chief, Kevin Williamson (who could teach “Vance” a few things about never turning down a second piece of pie) was intending to rub elbows with the great Te-Nehesi at the vaunted Atlantic – until they slapped a KICK ME HARD sign on that considerable posterior of his, and Coates led the chorus of mocking laughter as he ran crying out of the room.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Dick French
  86. “Hillbilly and Redneck” music.

    • Troll: gay troll
    • Replies: @fnn
  87. @Oldtradesman

    Her other son-in-law, other than my father, worked for NASA at Edwards AFB Ames. He had parties at my grandmother’s home where he lived with my mother’s sister and my cousin.

    Neil Armstrong attended those parties. He knew my grandmother as “Meemaw”. And that is what he called her whenever he was there.

    The NASA test pilots who went to those parties, including Bruce Peterson (the archetype of the Six Million Dollar Man), which I met, knew her as that. And Bill Dana, an X-15 pilot, who took me up in a Cessna for a photogrammetry assignment for my college class.

  88. iffen says:

    Nee-nee, Nanna, Me-maw, Maw-maw, Maam-maw, Maw, Gran, Granny, Gram, Grammie, Big Momma, Paw-paw, Pee-paw, Paw, Pap, Pops, Poppy and these just off the top of my head.

    • Replies: @John Henry
  89. Ragno says:
    @iffen

    Blechh; “thanks”, I guess. I almost made it to the end….thank God for the phone ringing. Nobody embodies the principle of money for nothing quite like Williamson.

    At least now I know: if I’ve got deposit bottles that need returning – or plastic utensils that require a rinse before re-use – Tuesday’s the day to get ‘er done.

    • Replies: @iffen
  90. Alden says:
    @anon

    Hi, Jeff Stryker, haven’t heard from you in a while.

    • LOL: Polemos
    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  91. @Alden

    If the reason for poverty is rural and geographical why do Scandinavians of the Upper Midwest avoid the same degree of social pathology?

    Why do so many of Vance’s cohort go to jail for relatively petty crimes while Italian-Americans involved in criminal activity in places such as Staten Island remain free for so long?

    [MORE]

    Why do young people use heroin in the first place? It’s highly addictive and an awful drug. I can understand that rural law-enforcement is overwhelmed because there are less of them to patrol deals done on country lanes.

    Why don’t the Tiger moms of Asian Yale students behave the way Vance’s mother did? Amy Chau, for example?

    All immigrants came to the US to work in industrial jobs. Every single German in Michigan did so. For example, my great-grandfather was a cabinet maker who moved to Detroit at ag 14 to work on an automobile line and my own grandfather opened a lumber company and my own father became a scientist.

    So why had the decline of industrial jobs affected one region more than another, overall?

    Were every white lumpen-which I was albeit a college graduate-to avoid unanticipated reproduction and substance abuse what would the US be like?

    And if every person in Vance’s situation were able to simply move to another country what would happen? Would social problems diminish?

    What if every single poor white female from an underclass situation were unable to bear children out-of-wedlock? What would happen?

    How do other groups in America such as the Muslims, Jews, Koreans avoid these difficulties?

    The Korean merchants of Los Angeles were in the ghetto at the time of the crack cocaine epidemic but few of them became crackheads. A few invariably did, or perhaps their kids, but there was not an epidemic of Korean crack addiction in the LA slums in the eighties? Why not?

    Why do police sometimes needlessly detain young people in poor neighborhoods who obviously have done nothing wrong? What was the reason for this?

    As for Vance’s thesis that welfare does more harm than good why is this not the case in Northwestern Europe or Australia? Clearly they have both a stronger system of government support as well as free healthcare, free medical care and higher minimum wage. Why do Americans resist this? And what does this resistance have to do with individualism? Also, why do Americans fear this will lead to a nanny state? And why do Americans fear a nanny state when generally Northern Europeans and Australians have lower instances of crime, squalor etc. And why is the US oligarchy able to convince poor Americans this would lead to Communism when Communism is gone and the Cold War was over 30 years ago?

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Tony Massey
    , @Alden
  92. @iffen

    Yeah. I’m Poppie. As they age I’m trying to get the kiddos to use Pop. As I did for my one grandfather. LOL

  93. iffen says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Many of the assertions upon which you base some questions are very weak or invalid.

    Many of your questions do not have ready answers backed by facts.

    Some of your questions can be answered with some degree of certainty, but for political reasons the problems cannot be addressed in a rational manner.

    • Replies: @Tony Massey
  94. iffen says:
    @Ragno

    Nobody embodies the principle of money for nothing quite like Williamson.

    I just bought The Big White Ghetto. I really would like to get a handle on why you and your fellow travelers have your unmentionables in such a wad over Williamson.

    • Replies: @Ragno
  95. @iffen

    No iffen ol stryker is the smartest guy in the room. Has been his whole life. He’s never asked a question he didn’t know with 100% certainty the answer. Naw he’s just having a bit of fun. He just wants to know who else is as smart as he is. And pretty smart he is. He lives off an Asian woman. He doesn’t hit a lick at anything. Go ahead and ask him. He’ll tell ya. He does what he wants when he wants. Pretty smart. It’s hard to believe the world of Asia won’t change and get rid of people like him. Can you imagine having that guy for a neighbor? You’d hear the same 3-4 stories over and over and then it’d be one question after the next so he could get his jollies to see if you’re as smart as he is. Which you’re not. No one is. Ol Stryker would’ve been King if white people hadn’t let him down. I hope i never let him down. I sure do pray I’ll get to hear those 3-4 stories of life in America again. Hopefully I’ll get to read all about them many many many more times. No point in him asking me any questions. No way am i as smart as that guy.

    • Replies: @iffen
  96. iffen says:
    @Tony Massey

    I think that he feels a little guilty about running away and leaving his buddies that he grew up with in the Midwest on their own.

    Is it running away? Or is it just like J. D. Vance, and millions more that are upwardly mobile, save yourself, no one else will.

  97. Ragno says:
    @iffen

    He made his bones the new-fashioned way – by writing a series of articles for NR shitting on his people, culture, traditions, etc. Unfortunately, the NR poohbahs tend to sweep ’em clean via the ol’ memory-hole, but for the first few days after their initial appearance(s), the reader comments made better reading than the articles in question.

    The articles did touch the correct nerve, however, as The Atlantic extended an offer to him to join their little family, where he could hone his Whitey-baiting to a razor point. But it turned out they were only funnin’ the corpulent Caucasian, as they bum-rushed him out via the freight elevator before he could submit a single paragraph to them. A minor controversy ensued – alas, the hubbub was also the new-fashioned kind, and all the Atlantic staffmembers and subscribers seized the opportunity to virtue-signal by dumping on the hateful white conservative on his way out the door.

    Incidentally, I didn’t know I had any fellow travelers; I paid extra for a private compartment.

    • Replies: @iffen
  98. @iffen

    He’s clearly arrogant. Very Very narcissistic. He only cares about himself iffen. To be sure he hates those he left behind and openly mocks them when he speaks of them. Personally, imo, he’s got a bad ending coming. Frankly,he deserves it.
    Don’t feel sorry for a guy that always knows better and refuses to help anyone. He just…shrugs his shoulders and goes for a bike ride because he’s better than us.

  99. @Jeff Stryker

    Questions? Please, wise, sir. Why do certain Asian women find white men with no future their baby daddy? Why wouldn’t they just emigrate? Did they not have better options? Are white men that emigrate to better climes better than the men available there? Why would a woman have kids with a man that didn’t care about anyone but themselves? What was it about your Asian wife that would support you? Do you have a big dick? Why would she want you? You don’t have money. No guarantee of income. Who the fuck would give you money for a job? Can you dig a ditch? Please, explain, how did you get over an Asian woman to take care of you? Why would any womanwant to take care of you? Why do white men from America goto Asia? Is the pussy that great? Do you like little boys? Is the whole thing a cyber for you to fuck tiny boy ass? Are you against that? Was you ever a decent man? When was the last time you felt like a man? Do you secretly suck Asia dick? Are you there because you couldn’t attend the shame of being a dick sucker? How many dicks have you sucked? Do you prefer Asian dick? Why would a genius suffer? Aren’t you the voice of complete and total reason? Do you hate your mom more than your dad? Did you fuck your brother? Why don’t you get you’re stupid?

    • Replies: @Majority of One
  100. Also, i forgot to ask…would you recommend a good graphics art school to attend that’s not in central Michigan? You know what i mean…a really good school for that sorta thing. Oh and i spent a few years in the military. I regret i didn’t get to be led by a man like you. I’m sure you’d have regretted it more to have followed through. We would’ve killed you. You wouldn’t have survived. You as an officer? Dude…we would’ve killed you. And if you come this way again… well… better stick to Asian women taking care of you. YOU…an officer? That’s funny. Things are gonna change and you’ll neve4 have a home to chime back in with. You are gonna lose your life one way or another. You have no place to come back to. Somebody is gonna kill you. I hope I get to meet you.

  101. iffen says:
    @Ragno

    Incidentally, I didn’t know I had any fellow travelers; I paid extra for a private compartment.

    TUR commenters who display extreme animus toward Williamson without giving the uninformed (me) facts and such that explain the cause of said animus.

    [MORE]

    I have since gotten some perspective on Williamson. Apparently, part of his assignment at NR was to expound on the white working class (I very seldom read NR and haven’t read any of his articles) in such a way that the Randians and Koch brothers types were confirmed in their beliefs that government causes poverty, poor people deserve their fate and we need open borders in order to replace them. Writing about noxious white people seems to have caught the eye of Goldberg who hired him for the Hate Evil White People Desk at The Atlantic. Apparently, it was intended that his beat would be to expound on noxious white people, showing that they are evil racists who are getting what they deserve; therefore, we need open borders in order to replace them more quickly as they are slow about dying out.

  102. @iffen

    He didn’t “run away.” He lives in the Cincinnati region now and works for a company that helps struggling families like his. And no matter where he’s working, he’s raising his family in the area.

    It would be great if people commenting had some idea of what they were talking about. It’s all there in the book, the movie, and various news articles. But I guess being informed is too much heavy lifting for commenters here.

    • Replies: @iffen
  103. iffen says:
    @Days of Broken Arrows

    It would be great if people commenting had some idea of what they were talking about.

    I didn’t say that he ran away. Can you not see the question mark at the end of that sentence? Did you not read the next sentence after that?

    While we are on the subject of uninformed, living in an upscale neighborhood of Columbus or Cincinnati, or wherever he is now, and working for an NGO that “helps struggling families like his” is not even in the same domain as living in Jackson County, Kentucky.

  104. fnn says:
    @GeneralRipper

    The late Johnny Reb was also a Cajun:


  105. @iffen

    Six months after I arrived in Dubai, my grandmother sent me an angry fax. She had been my college address after my parents sold the house as a result of the divorce and moved out of state. A college apartment landlord was calling her two years later about a utility bill back in 1998 my senior year of college.

    I called her and told I didn’t care. I told I would not be back in Michigan. I told her that I was enjoying my job in Dubai and nobody would see me again and I would never be back. Why would I care about some hick college town and the hicks who were still there after I had left Central Michigan and left Phoenix and left the USA and calling my old mailing address about some $50 utility bill.

    [MORE]

    I got really harsh with my grandmother. I told her that Southeast Michigan was a real suckhole. A dismal cold post-industrial rustbelt pit I didn’t care about full of rednecks, Polacks, working stiffs, fat she-boons and that I was glad to be in Dubai cleansing my palette.

    I assured her nobody-most especially her-would see me in Greater Detroit again. I bid her adieu by reminding her that while I was enjoying a glass of wine watching the sun set over the Gulf of Oman she would be driving through the slush and snow to Krogers.

    My Dad, a stern German type who by then was in DC, called me in Dubai and told me to cool it. I stood to inherit a hundred grand from him, so I did.

    But my grandmother realized what a few more would. Once some people are gone-from a country-they don’t care. They’re simply gone.

    To emphasize my point, I faxed a photograph of myself on the beach of Goa frolicking in the Arabian sea taken by a Norwegian girl I’d met there during my Christmas holiday.

    Not long ago, I was communicating with a girl I knew in college. She went on and on about her custody battle that went on forever with her ex-husband and mother-in-law. I shook my head in disgust. People fighting for years over some boring thing.

    People spending years in the same place fighting over ancient beefs. In the time this woman went in and out of court for years I lived in three different countries. I had a few beefs here and there with people, but I was moving on, or they were. That is life overseas. Geography and physical distance solve the problem. Nobody in Dubai is going to run into me in Thailand I had a beef with-there were a few. But we were all from different countries.

    So if Vance wants to hang around his birthplace using his Yale law degree that way, fine. If I were him, I would be in London living Belgravia and using it to practice international law. Or representing wealthy people in Monaco.

    I sure as shit would not try to help Scott. He made ruinous decisions young-he was a drug user from the age of 13, he dropped out of high school, he fathered a child at 19, he had ended up with a long prison record. Now he is in his forties and is an old tired ex-con while I am a world traveler and career expat.

    I would not try to help Stanley. He is screwed. He ended up getting a girl pregnant and stuck in Flint and his house is now worth nothing and he cannot afford to move. Better him than me.

    I cannot help any of them.

    And I would not want any of it feeding on my lifeforce.

    I think of Scott in prison in Michigan or Stanley in Flint back when we were young men. The big black bull queers on the prison yard looking for fresh meat. The crackheads moving into vacant houses in Stanley’s neighborhood.

    I was in London, partying up during the summer. I was in Nepal climbing mountains on vacation.

    When they were 30 years old, it probably began to dawn on them how screwed they were. That their kids had disadvantages, that they lived in the A hole of the universe and could not sell their house for $500 like Stanley and couldn’t get out, that they would never enjoy fine dining in Hong Kong, or swum in a tropical sea in Philippines beneath garish tropical sun.

    Better them than me.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @GeneralRipper
  106. @Tony Massey

    Is Tony Massey a victim of neonatal child abuse at the highest possible level (i.e. circumcision without informed consent by the victim)? If this is the case it may well explain his utter fixation on oral gratification. Males suffering from the Wounded Weenie syndrome are not capable of full satisfaction for themselves or for their female partner in the elementary animal sex-act. Reason is that most of their sensuality via nerve-endings has been literally removed from both their organ and from their conscious mind.

    As the dorsal region of the organ, just behind the glans is the only location where even partial sensation still remains, a heavy majority of those Wounded Weenie males get more satisfaction from oral gratification than any other form of sexual/erotic pleasure.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @AceDeuce
  107. anon[818] • Disclaimer says:
    @Majority of One

    Does he toss salad? Would he toss my salad? Does his sister toss Asian salads? My anus needs rimming? Did my mother rim my anus after I was circumcised? Is that why I suck Asian knobs? Do I rim or do I like to get rimmed?

    Am I sexually confused?

    It must be the dorsal fins…they call me Jaws.

  108. iffen says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    My Dad, a stern German type who by then was in DC, called me in Dubai and told me to cool it. I stood to inherit a hundred grand from him, so I did.

    LOL

    Now that I reflect upon it Jeff, I think that they are probably better off with you gone.

  109. @GazaPlanet

    “this sounds like something written by someone with a “woke” education and a chip on her shoulder about Appalachian poverty.”

    I agree completely. And what’s with all the Donald Trump stuff? I just watched the movie — it was totally apolitical as far as I could tell.

    It’s a movie, people — much better than average for verisimilitude, very well directed and acted — who goes to a movie to see if it slavishly follows the book it’s based on?

    The last thing anyone should do is believe the consensus of the critics — they’re all in the pay of the Fake News media and have an agenda to promote these days.

  110. @Jeff Stryker

    Sanjay, I mean “Jeff”, methinks you don’t know the scope of Appalachia. Definitely includes part of Ohio, as people there will tell you themselves.

  111. @Jeff Stryker

    Google Jeff Stryker.

    You’re about one long winded bullshittin’ troll, bro.

  112. Polemos says:
    @Rich

    Blaming another group, not feeling responsible, turns people into weak minded dependents, forever holding out their hands. The “blame Whitey” narrative that’s being fed mainly to blacks, but also to any willing to feed off it, helps keep those people on their knees.

    Do you feel this is true for those who blame the Jew?

    • Replies: @Rich
  113. Excellent review and spot-on observations. “JD Vance” is an avatar of what I call Poor White Trash Minstrel Show Syndrome, someone who writes about violent incest and vicious racism based on eating in a truck stop once and surviving it. Others who sang “Way Down on the Swanee River” (also a pseudonym) while thinking about Cabo included President Clinton, President-elect Biden, and basically every Jew who played in a Bluegrass band in the Seventies. Poor White Trash Minstrel Show Syndrome was sort of a precursor to Woke and White Privilege, a religion based on overcoming never-exhibited genetic predispositions to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and wear boots.

    Is it a pose, virtue signaling or a grift? All of them, really.

    As an aside, that the lovely Amy Adams is now old enough to be cast as a middle -aged pill head mum makes someone feel their age.

  114. @Ragno

    If I recall correctly, NR’s Caucasian-shamer-in-chief, Kevin Williamson (who could teach “Vance” a few things about never turning down a second piece of pie) was intending to rub elbows with the great Te-Nehesi at the vaunted Atlantic – until they slapped a KICK ME HARD sign on that considerable posterior of his, and Coates led the chorus of mocking laughter as he ran crying out of the room.

    You recall correctly, but only partially, and the best part is the omission. Before Williamson got shitcanned at The Atlantic, he wrote some blistering commentary about his previous employer National Review and the only intellectual it has left, Victor Davis Hanson. As soon as he became unemployed, National Review took him back. The irony is this is the same person who writes about Poor White Trash pathologies and the same outfit that publishes it, and some of those pathologies include Battered Wife Syndrome.

    We have arrived at the point where laughing at these types is not forced but a natural response.

  115. Muggles says:

    Thanks for the film review and commentary about Vance and his book.

    I had heard of both and thought about getting the book. This review saved me the trouble.

    Comments here are all over the place but a few worthwhile.

    To get out of the fantasy-land bio sewer, grab a copy of Jim Webb’s Born Fighting. It details to some extent the Scots-Irish immigration wave and the characteristics of these people. Well done.

    Webb was a VA Democrat senator but evidently a poor speaker. I was hoping he’d be nominated for President during the 2000s but no. Smart guy. Of course totally Politically Incorrect for what the Communist party (i.e. Democrats) have become.

    I have a lot of that background myself. On one side they moved out of the mountains and into the South where they did quite well until their plantations were ruined in Lincoln’s war. (Where are my reparations?) Overall pretty successful.

    My own family history has some bad mojo (one recently unearthed via DNA research) but my siblings all did well, and my parents, both from “broken homes” to say the least, were great. So I was not part of the failed White underclass. Some of that is IQ related, others just upbringing.

    We are now at least partly governed by politicians who hate me (or my sort). I’ll survive and they will fail, like always. Thanks for the review. Understand your enemies. Don’t hate, that just weakens you.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  116. Rich says:
    @Polemos

    “Blame the Jew” for what? If someone is blaming his failures in life on anyone, and not taking responsibility for his own actions, he’s wrong. I’ve met people who grew up under horrendous conditions, some with bad disabilities, who through hard work and perseverance, we’re able to be very successful. Race, ethnicity or religion notwithstanding.

    • Replies: @Polemos
  117. AceDeuce says:
    @Greta Handel

    Ohio has been described, not inaccurately, as the western terminus of the Northeast, the easternmost state in the Midwest, and the northernmost region of the South

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  118. AceDeuce says:
    @Muggles

    Webb was also a Marine, as was Vance (and as was I). Webb wrote an excellent, non-PC Vietnam novel, Fields of Fire.

  119. AceDeuce says:
    @Majority of One

    Speak for yourself, Home Skillet–hell, I wish they made my crank even less sensitive–I could have concentrated on something else than cooze and would probably be worth $100 million.

    BTW, You mean the ventral side, not the dorsal. You’re welcome.

    • Replies: @anon
  120. @AceDeuce

    Are you referring to the islands off Cleveland in Lake Erie that belong to Ohio but are abutting on Canadian waters? Because folks there sound like they are from Toronto.

    Cleveland is kind of like the East Coast. It has the Italians, the Irish, used to have a big mafia presence, Slavs etc. It’s nearer to Pittsburgh than Cincinnati, after all.

    Ohio covers a great deal of regional ground from the Canadian to Kentucky border.

  121. anon[295] • Disclaimer says:
    @AceDeuce

    100 million?

    You horndogs should take a weekend trip to Southeast Asia.

    You could go berserk without paying for the ex-wife for 20 years and letting her keep the house.

    Ventral side, interesting.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  122. AceDeuce says:
    @anon

    Son, I did 3 tours of duty in Asia a long time ago. Close to half a century ago, in fact. Been back several times since. But thanks for the advice.

  123. Alden says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    The northern Midwest has some of the best flat and fertile farmland in the country. Appalachia has little or no decent farmland. That’s why the Scandinavian peasants and farm workers did so well.

    Successful farming depends first and foremost on the land. That’s why Kentucky farmers of the flat and fertile Bluegrass country are rich and prosperous. That’s why Kentucky farmers in the rocky, infertile lands of the mountains are poor.

    You and your stupid questions why why why. Why don’t you just shut up.

  124. Polemos says:
    @Rich

    It doesn’t take long to find people here on unz who blame Jewish folks for a wide variety of problems in their own lives and systemically throughout their influence.

    On the other side, you have never met any person who has put forward “hard work and perseverance” yet was not able to be successful due to others using their suppressive power against them? Or is this a different problem?

    • Replies: @Rich
  125. Rich says:
    @Polemos

    I’ve never met anyone who worked hard, stayed off drugs and remained married to their first spouse who didn’t live what I’d call a successful life. Now that’s in my little corner of the world and that’s using my own definition of success, of course. That doesn’t mean you get everything you want, only that you get enough.

    • Replies: @Polemos
  126. Polemos says:
    @Rich

    Ah, okay. My thought is that there are many people who fit that definition, yet a small board of corporate bureaucrats will collude with another group of intelligence bureaucrats on a economic and information praxis that will reduce the environmental and intellectual space and quality of those families’ lives, even to the point of seizing their assets and polluting their water with no care or compassion for what these actions and intentions do to those families. How does this work regarding justice?

    Being not responsible for injustice is not the same thing as being irresponsible with justice, I have come to see. I feel that you agree but have a stronger pull towards an idea that success is self-discipline applied towards securing one’s goals, so it’s more important to stress that regardless of circumstance, we all have the power to motivate ourselves to do what we hold is right over what’s expedient or indulgent. Is this about right?

    • Agree: Rich
    • Replies: @iffen
  127. iffen says:
    @Polemos

    corporate bureaucrats will collude with another group of intelligence bureaucrats on a economic and information praxis that will reduce the environmental and intellectual space and quality of those families’ lives,

    Like many situations it’s a cline that interacts with the environment. Just stick to this working class milieu in Ohio. There were plenty of “failures” before the mills started closing. His mother’s hospital didn’t close down. But when the economic opportunities fade, the “failure”rate goes up. When I came of working age, middle 1960’s, my area had quite a few factory jobs that paid union wages and benefits. It was even possible to screw up in one factory and get on at another when you got straightened out. It took a concerted effort to fail time and again. Not so today. Screw up one time and that might have been your only shot. If we create a “good” economic environment, most people will rise to the occasion, not all, and be “successful”.

  128. Mr. Grey says:

    Thank you for the review. I tried listening to the audiobook, got maybe 3/4 through. I’m glad you could devote more energy to it than I could. I grew up poor in California, not a genuine hillbilly, but my mother came from rural Maine. The book didn’t ring true to me- the main thing is how as a kid he never really did anything wrong. He is so goddamn noble. He’s overweight and not accomplishing much (yet) but he always comes through when needed. It’s such a load of crap I didn’t make it to the end to find out what point he was making. The phoniness of it reminded me of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” which was leftist talking points crudely reimagined as a personal diary.

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