Saturday, January 15, 2005

What's The Matter With Kansas?

In his book, What's The Matter With Kansas?, Thomas Frank paints an uncomplimentary picture of Kansans, arguing they vote against their own economic and social interests because they do not share his liberal views.

After reading the very first paragraph of his book, one must ask, what's the matter with Thomas Frank? He writes: "The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000 the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, carried it by a majority of greater than 80 percent." The reader has to look to the back of the book for the footnote that explains that this county he refers to isn't in Kansas at all, it's in Nebraska.

Frank's own biography is a stretch. He wasn't "born on the wild plains of Kansas" at all, but in Missouri, although his family did live just across the state line. As far as "pulling himself up by his bootstraps" and learning to "read, write and cipher," Frank grew up in Mission Hills where the average household income is $189,000 and attended Shawnee Mission schools, one of the best school districts in the nation.

Give Mr. Frank credit though. Liberals who seem to want to wallow in their misery are buying Mr. Frank's book, and that makes him a very Happy Capitalist.



16 comments:

Julie D. said...

That sounds about right ... tolerant until opposed. The liberal motto methinks!

thc said...

And I've only read the first fifty pages. I have to keep checking for accuracy.

Jimbobb2 said...

THC...Thx for the note about my scooter. Sadly, the ACE was sold. I'm down to just one now, a 2001 Honda Valkyrie Interstate. I was in a Honda shop last week looking at the 2005 Gold Wings and trying to convince my darling bride it was for **Her** comfort that we should buy the silver one with all the goodies. My God, heated seats and 6 speaker stereo...how could she resist? Are you familiar with the phenom of selective hearing? I'm not sure the woman understood a word I said. She's cruising in the Bahamas at the moment though and my dealer has offered to let me test drive a new one for 2 or 3 days...hmmm.

Jimbobb2 said...

THC...Do you see my sidebar when looking at my page? I have links, profile etc. over to the right. I use Firefox 1.0 and have for a long time and rarely open IE. I did today for updates and to my surprise, there's nothing where it should be on the right. I asked another friend to look and he confirmed...nothing...but, he's on AOL so I don't know what that means. Thanks for any feedback.

Jim

Sammy Bodean said...

Could Kansas just be a metaphor? Maybe, just maybe, liberals are buying the book to gain some insight, instead of "wallowing in their misery." What misery? Along the same line, I must ask Julie what does "tolerant until opposed" mean? And how does it connect at all with thc's original comments?

thc said...

Jim: If you just bought the Goldwing while your wife was away, what kind of fireworks would that cause? After all, it's for her!

As for your sidebar, the profile and other stuff have always been there as far as I know. I use either Netscape or IE. Today's the first time I noticed the Happy Capitalist on your list of links though. I'm very honored.

thc said...

What misery? They've been whining about a "stolen election" for 4 years. And no, Frank is not using Kansas as a metaphor, read the book. But borrow it, don't buy it. I couldn't stand to have him make any more money from it.

Good to have you coming by, Sammy!

Jimbobb2 said...

THC...Thanks. I hadn't scrolled to the bottom of the screen in IE and there's my sidebar neatly tucked below everything else. This will be interesting to sort out. Why everyone isn't using Firefox is beyond me. Ah well...Also, in truth, I wouldn't make a purchase that large w/o her buy-in. Not my first marriage and I want it to be my last. Truth be known, I need 2 huge motorcycles much as I need another hole in my head...can only ride one at a time and except for the electrical toys (CD player, CB radio, heated grips/seat/ etc.) the Valkyrie is a tourer equal to or better than the Gold Wing...I've had 4 Wings, love 'em but the 05s don't *look* like a motorcycle...lot's 'o plastic! Jim

christina said...

I haven't read the book and am not really planning on it now because it would just piss me off. Now I just figure that if people are hell bent on committing economic suicide by consistently voting against their own interests, they deserve whatever they get.

Now as to whether the rest of us deserve it as well...

The funny thing is alot of the coastal urban liberals have a lot less to lose from misguided economic policies than conservatives living in rural areas.

Also let it be known that I am socially very liberal and economically conservative. I supported Bush the first time around until he ended up spending more money than any democrat has ever dreamed of in his first term.

Sammy Bodean said...

Amazon.com here I come. Christina, you're socially very liberal and you supported Bush? A couple Supreme Court appointments and Bush will alter social policy far more than he could ever dream of changing fiscal policy!

thc said...

Christina: Thanks for your comments. I'll most likely post more about the book when I have some time to finish reading it. Stay well.

thc said...

C'mon Sammy. Be nice. I'll let you borrow my copy when I'm finished.

christina said...

Yes, I'm socially liberal and supported Bush--at the time I figured that cultural change was dictated by societal norms not the government, but that was before the evangelical christian reared its ugly head and turned into something more severe than wal-mart customers buying those Left Behind books and actually started to matter. I was strongly opposed to Bush's reelection however.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't there a book entitled, "What's the matter with the Jews?" As a macro group the Jewish community are affluent, but are notorious for supporting Democrats. Are they voting against their self-interest?

Sammy Bodean said...

They probably are voting against their self interest. However, a major tenet of the Jewish faith is to take care of those less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

I see. When a liberal group votes against their self interest it is for altruistic reasons, but when a conservative group votes against their self interest (supposedly) it is due to "evil genius" liars.