Wednesday, January 26, 2022


      As a companion piece to reading The Next Civil War (from yesterday's post), Studs Terkel's Hard Times is somewhat reassuring.

      Subtitled An Oral History Of The great Depression, the book is exactly what it says on the label: Terkel went around and interviewed as broad a cross-section as he could find of Americans who lived through it, from an isolationist anti-communist Republican ex-Congressman to Reds, from Fundamentalist Silver Shirts to social workers, farmers, hobos and social reformers.  We are a polyglot lot and we always have been, and most of us figure the deck is at least a little stacked against whatever group we consider ourselves to be in.  It comes with the territory: vanishingly few of our ancestors were at top of the heap wherever they were from, which is why and how they ended up here. 

      Americans in a tight spot are especially likely to try everything.  And argue over it, too.

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