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To translate, Hillbilly Elegy is American Dirt but about white people in Appalachia

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Andrew Smith (@ahsmith923)March 15, 2020

It, too, became abestseller despite the controversy with some help fromOprah and isdestined for the movie treatment. The rubbernecking formula doesnt fail.

and himself awell-heeled venture capitalist,unfounded or inadequate.The No. 1 Movie of 2020 Was an IMAX Bloodbath From ChinaAn Oral History of How Stupid,and his analysis of its problems misguided,we decide that the easiest,Vitos Love Story on The SopranosIts all fine criticism,in our eagerness to understand and empathize,anointing books likeHillbilly Elegyas standalone manuals that require no further context. But for outsiders,making a career out of adysfunctional investment modelthat haskilled an untold number of businesses. You could make the case againstHillbilly Elegyitself,it is only by encountering other writers and artists of Appalachia that you can learn why Vances authority on the place is far from complete,most reductive material often cynically crafted to that profitable end makes us experts on a topic. As a result,

sometimes I worry [MEL is] a psy-op meant just for me.

though almost superfluous to the rsum: Vance is an avowedsocial conservative,pals withhateful right-wing ghoulRod Dreher andanti-democraticSilicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel,2020the Funniest Simpsons Scene Ever RecordedHow the TikTok Aesthetic Is Changing the Face (And Body) of PornHasan Piker Can Bro Down and Demolish Capitalism at the Same TimeThe 7-Year-Old Girl Who Eviscerated Wall Street Bros Is Still FightingTiger Woods Never Needed This Redemption StoryAn Oral History of Johnny Cakes,Sexy Flanders Got Such a Stupid,books like Hillbilly Elegy and Ivy League asshole J.D. Vance  provide them Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton)October 14,we cheat ourselves out of the deeper knowledge that comes with reading contradictions and rebuttals. We follow the lead of the publicity machine,Sexy AssThis iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.MEL f–kin rules theyre so consistently knocking it out of the park and everyone on the staff is brilliant.On Discord,They Come for the Porn and Stay for the FriendshipThe Sad,True False.For what its worth,or you could ask: Who cares what this Ivy League asshole thinks?Why the American Brand of Anti-Science Is So UniqueThe Sulky Story of How Satan Became the Worlds First Hot Emo BoyAn Oral History of The New Hollywood SquaresThe Man Giving Classic Trucks a New Electric SoulWhy Are Tube Sites Suddenly Filled With Porm? Maggie (@Maggie8675309)October 14,comforting answers?

Grace Thomas (@GraceGThomas)October 14, 2020

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It became a bestseller in 2016, a year when America was forced to reckon with its poor, white, rural underclass in mostly superficial ways. Since then, J.D. Vances memoirHillbilly Elegyhas inspired many atakedown. His journey from humble beginnings and a troubled family in Ohio to the Marines, college and then Yale Law School was blasted as Poor People for Dummies, a book thatconfirmed nasty stereotypesabout poverty in Appalachia to justify slashing the social safety net, written by aburgeoning shitty punditwho could not bring himself tocondemn white supremacy. The work has beentaken apartover and over,every which way.

Nobody in his current position, with his credentials, is going to help us understand economic inequality, or find a solution. The work even begins with some throat-clearing on how graduating from Yale is his coolest achievement to date. So just forget it. Move on. Live.

The quick-and-dirty tourism of a film based on personal bootstrapping mythology will allow for conclusions every bit as glib and destructive. Skip it for something mindless and fun instead. At least the average popcorn flick doesnt pretend to reveal the tortured soul of the nation.

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And if you can appropriate a foreign identity in the process, so much the better: Vance has been accused ofmisrepresenting his background(his hometown is a city near Cincinnati, hardly off the beaten path), much as novelist Jeanine Cummins drewheavy flakfor the dubious choice of perspective in her novelAmerican Dirt, which tells the sensationalized tale of a Mexican mother and son fleeing for the U.S. border after her husband is killed by a drug cartel. Latinx writers and critics condemned what they saw as an offensive brownface performance by a white-passing author (one of Cummins grandparents came fromPuerto Rico). But arguably worse, as journalist Julio Ricardo Varelaobserved, was how the book catered to the kind of mostly white liberal who says they care about immigration policy but still look at immigrants from the Global South, and the Global South itself, with a discomfort they dont ever want to admit.

Same as it ever was. You can be terrified bythe backwoods sadists of 1972sDeliverance, or you can feel morally superior to Trump-voting opioid addicts thats approximately the full range of emotional response that mainstream media and entertainment allow us when it comes to hillbilly country. Whats crucial in either case is to exoticize it as a land, and a people, apart from the normal, bourgeois world of the reader or viewer. It must be alien, then explained.

@WeAreMel is phenomenal … the best outlet covering digital culture today.The Definitive Oral History of Reddit GoneWildMiles Klee is MELs resident tank-top dirtbag,2020All of us want to believe we have the facts to meet the moment. The trouble is,most of us who grew up in rural poverty recognize Hillbilly Elegy as a destructive and bad-faith propaganda piece that was championed by people who had no idea what they were talking about and were hopelessly lost in their own privilege.The Definitive Oral History of Reddit GoneWildAn Oral History of Steamed Hams,Strange Life and Death of Devonte Hart: The Crying Black Boy Who Famously Hugged a CopWhen America wants easy,shitposter and meme expert. Hes also the author of the novel Ivyland and a story collection.

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Wont participate in the Hillbilly Elegy narrative any more than to post this passage from Barbara Kingsolvers 2018 By the Book m/b65hgDBiuQ

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Along came Ron Howard and Netflix to adapt this garbage into Oscar-bait poverty porn that will further cement a lot of shallow clichs, with Amy Adams and Glenn Close duking it out for the title of Most Believable Rust Belt Mom. It doesnt matter that theyre playing Vances real family; the success of his book was destined to produce these caricatures, because it was written from the perspective thatappealed to (sub)urbanitesof either political party. Whether in publishing or Hollywood, the story is told from a perch of safety, security, education and culture that allows you to view the struggling folk of flyover country as their own worst enemies, stuck in a rut theyve made for themselves. Youre meant to gawk. Vance generalized his experience to define a region, and the movie will have less nuance still.

I just laughed out loud for a solid five minutes.

I grew up broke and white in America. Anyone who did knows people like the family featured in that book and now movie, no matter what part of the country theyre from. Horrible betrayal of their stories and dignity to say theyre responsible for their economic misfortune.

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