Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Who we are …

… A striking, joyful portrait of America's greatest divide. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dignity is a modern classic, worthy of Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor, and even of Dickens. This comparison to the author of Bleak House is not facile; it speaks both to Arnade's talents and to the sort of criticism he is likely to receive. Orwell complained that it was "hopeless to try and pin [Dickens] down to any definite remedy, still more to any political doctrine" because "he is always pointing to a change of spirit rather than a change of structure." Like Orwell, I suspect that many of Arnade's readers will take him to task for not offering any "solutions." He anticipates as much in his epilogue, where he says that his only real conclusion is that "we all need to listen to each other more" and calls his position "wishy-washy." It is nothing of the sort.

Here is an excerpt from the book: Back Row America. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

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