Monday, March 28, 2011

Joe Bageant 1946-2011

See various memorial posts on his site. He will be missed. Damn it, first Molly and now Joe... people shouldn't die so young!


  1. Joe Bageant was a by-god Man with a capital M, the last of the two-fisted Democrats with a capital D like the ones that brought FDR to power. In an earlier time he would have been a Wobbly making trouble in the gold mines, or would have run for office with Eugene Debs, or some such. Today, all that's left is to rant to a small number of thinkers and doers while the majority of the nation runs off the rails -- and seems to not even know there *are* rails, much less that they're running off of'em.

    Sigh. WASF.

    - Badtux the Sad Penguin

  2. BadTux - Bageant was only two years older than me. I may die within two years, but I neither intend to nor expect to, and Bageant's early death just doesn't seem fair. But life often isn't. You're right about one thing: they don't make 'em like him anymore.

    You're right about another thing: we're running off the rails, and WASF.

  3. It is a sad truth that redneck men tend to die young. Safety equipment when working around strong chemicals costs money and their employers often aren't scrupulous about such things, given that they're usually working in states like Texas where the law is stacked against workers, their diet leads to heart disease in all too many cases, and smoking and chewing tobacco take their toll on the cancer front too. Plus military service tends to expose them to a lot more toxic chemicals than would be allowed in the private sector. Joe died, alas, at probably the average age that most of my male redneck relatives die...

    One thing Joe and me both agreed with was the ineffectual nonsense that is today's "liberal". In one interview sneering at Jon Stewart's rally in Washington, he pointed out that their great-grandpappies were walking picket lines and going fist-to-fist with strike-breakers from the American Legion, and all their great-grandkids seem able to do is whine and hold television PR events. I hear all this stuff about "demonstrations". It's, like, WTF? I'm sure holding a PR event makes people feel good and stuff, but when has walking around with a sign ever changed anything? Yeah, general strikes have been illegal since 1948. So was a black person drinking at the "White's Only" water fountain in 1948. That situation didn't get changed because of folks walking around with signs, it got changed because of people actively defying the law and forcing the State to react with massive and unreasoning brutality to the point that honest people were revulsed. But ever since Reagan broke the ATC union and fellow unions did nothing to help, it's been like dominos, one after another, with everybody standing around shrugging their shoulders and saying "there's nothing to be done about it" and then going off to watch TV or post useless rants on the Internet. WTF?

    - Badtux the Viewing-mortality-in-mirror Penguin

  4. BadTux, my father's family was mostly blue-collar, including my dad himself for many years despite his college degree (the first in the family). One brother died untimely of cancer, probably from his work in a steel mill. Another died at a ripe old age after working as a truck driver for at least five decades. Dad died of lung cancer from the smoking habit he picked up in the Navy during W.W.II. He is the only one who changed to white-collar work (teacher and school counselor) midway through his working life. Life was hard for him, but I never heard him complain; that just wasn't done by the men in his family. Dad would have enjoyed having a couple of beers with Bageant, but Dad lived only barely long enough to see the beginning of the Web.

    Bageant had a bluntness that I appreciated. When I complain, I whine; when Joe complained, he shouted the facts with great gusto. What can I say: he was a good man.



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