From the anthropology desk
One thing you can count on in American journalism: No matter how tight their budgets, no matter how many staff layoffs may come, editors will always find money to send a feature writer out into the sticks to write — in the manner of National Geographic reporting on a neolithic Borneo rain forest tribe — about the hicks in flyover territory:
BRINKLEY, Ark. – Wayne Loewer’s truck reveals a lot about his life. A 12-gauge shotgun for duck hunting rests on the floorboard. A blue thermal lunch bag containing elk meat is shoved under the seat, left in haste that morning by his teenage son rushing to catch the school bus.
Binoculars in the console help Loewer scan his 2,900 acres of rice, soybeans and corn.
The dashboard radio is set to classic rock, playing the same Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes from Loewer’s high school days, when Brinkley was still a thriving small town with stores and a movie theater.
His muddy truck is 900 miles from the kiosks crowding Pennsylvania Avenue selling “Hope Won” T-shirts. But more than miles separate Loewer from the coming celebration in Washington over Barack Obama’s inauguration as president.
The 52-year-old farmer is a conservative Democrat who bet on Republican John McCain and lost, a description that would apply to many in the white South. Now Loewer wonders about his place in Obama’s America.
A shotgun! A truck! Lynyrd Skynyrd! Soybeans! My God, who even suspected such primitive folkways still existed in the 21st century?
(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)
Robert Stacy McCain