Sunday, January 30, 2005

National Healing, Blue State Style

Ever since the November 5 election debacle, the liberal intelligensia in the U.S. have been trying to “understand” the beings that inhabit Red State America. Laughably (but predictably) this is a daunting task for our country’s liberal leaders. Today’s WaPo Magazine (Sunday, January 30, 2005) cover story concerns a West Virginian named Jack Whittaker, who is the largest Powerball lottery winner in U.S. history—some $314,000,000.00. Not surprisingly, this sudden influx of wealth has fomented chaos and resentments among his neighbors and family. Here’s how the Post sees it, annotated by Suburban Cowboy:

Typical Red State Denizen, as seen by Blue Staters

Rich Man, Poor Man By April Witt. Washington Post Magazine, Sunday, January 30, 2005

Red Staters are religious hypocrites, like Elmer Gantry:
“On Christmas Day, the lottery ticket-buying frenzy peaked at 3:26 p.m. In convenience stores and gas stations across West Virginia, 15 people very second commemorated Jesus’s birthday by plunking down $1 for a chance at a different kind of salvation: that Powerball jackpot”
Red Staters are grotesque cultural freaks, straight out of a Flannery O’Connor novel:
“The day would come when many West Virginians recalled the story of Jack’s Powerball Christmas with a shudder at the magnitude of ruination: families asunder, precious lambs six feet under, folks undone by the lure of all that easy money”.
Red Staters are mean spirited:
“Some West Virginians tell a joke about the hillbilly who died smiling. “What’d he die of?” the man’s relatives asked of the Medical Examiner. “He was struck by lightning,” the ME declared. “Then why was he smiling?” the kinfolks wanted to know. “Well,” the ME said, “he thought he was getting’ his picture took.”
Red Staters are unsophisticated:
“(Jack) couldn’t have been more instantly recognizable in West Virginia if he’d been Elvis reincarnated.” And “She let it be known that she was so down-to-earth that she actually enjoyed cleaning her toilets”
Red Staters are lazy and greedy:
“Brenda’s grown daughter, who didn’t work, figured that since her ma was rich she should buy her a trailer and a new car.”

I could go on, but you get the idea. Sigh.


At 2:22 PM, Blogger GYunit said...

I would incorporate textual support into this comment, but it appears one of my enterprising hallmates dug through the trash and extracted my discarded WaPo magazine along with the funnies.

In any case, the article certainly takes shots at West Virginians, but I’m not certain if the quotes are unjust. After all, with vignettes alleging excesses involving strippers, thefts, lawsuits, and a death by OD, it convincing argues that the residents of Hurricane, starting with the winner Jack, proved themselves incapable of handling the biggest Powerball jackpot in history. Framed by the story, most of the comments fit. The story’s frame was inadequate, however. Instead of chronicling the crash and burn of Hurricane’s residents, it could have been a more potent commentary on how Jack destroyed his community, an angle wet we don’t read because the community was destroyed already according to the aritcle. Well, we'll all see how the _City Paper_ mocks it on Thursday.

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