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i inherited a 1969 Ford Pickup from my uncle who lived in the Mojave Desert / it was 1988 and the truck had not a speck of rust, in perfect condition / The Guz (he did guzzle gas) had a V-8 engine and Armstrong Steering / i got so strong driving that truck / i made several cross country trips / moving all my important stuff from California to Vermont one time plus a dog and two cats / smile / i loved that truck / Charles Murray / whew / what does he know / i liked having a truck so much that when The Guz needed to be replaced i bought another Ford pickup / a six / btw i also have a 1965 Dodge Dart station wagon / yep her name is DreamBoat and she runs too


El Jefe


That's grand. And I have to say there are plenty of trucks here in hippie western Oregon, many driven by those very same hippies. Surprisingly democratic thing, a flatbed.


Another one of the things Murray's approach does -- which GOP elites are just fine with -- is make "Real Murkins" into one lumpen mass. I grew up in a few places but most of all in North Carolina, where Jimmie came from and where that "Thunder Road" bootlegging culture had very deep and very localist roots. Even where his bit of (formerly) industrial Western NC butted up against the South Carolina upcountry, people made real clear about where Johnson and his gone-legit protege (Johnson kept bootlegging even into the early stages of NASCAR) Richard Petty were from. My dad knew Petty to talk to, because his daughter had made it into the school wehre my folks worked on a legitimate academic ride, of which the scrawny and scraggly old boy was immensely proud, something which would give Murray's narrative the vapors. It's nice when life curbstomps lizard-brain simplicity.

Oh, and Happy Dickens Bicentennial!

Doug K

here in Denver most of the pickups are driven by businessmen in suits and cowboy boots.. so the bed is usually pristine. That's my marker for whether it's a working truck or a toy truck - working trucks have dents, scratches, and dirt in the bed, even once the haybales have been offloaded.

If we won the lottery I'd have a nice new F-150 too.. maybe not the load of gravel though.

El Jefe

Doug K,

What you said about working trucks or toy trucks. My mother and her brothers -- Southerners from a family whose matriarch had friends at Highlander Folk School, another vapors-inducer -- had an International Harvester back in the early Fifties whose under-the-hood "adventures" they still like talking about. And cleaning the bed after they shipped the non-layers from the coop off to market, oy. Last truck they had on the farm still smelled of it when I was a boy in the Seventies ....


Thing I noticed in college: if you owned a truck you were perpetually asked by friends to help them move from one fleabag apartment to another.

I'll help paint interiors, but I don't want to help move people. Thus no truck for me.

Earl Bockenfeld

The Charles Murray "white real Murkin" thesis is about the ideal of an American way of life that is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. "This population is less committed to the workforce than its parents and grandparents were."

I would note that it was the "workforce" that has no commitment to this population rather than the other way around. It's wasn't the working class that send the jobs overseas. It wasn't the working class that destroyed the idea of a full career with one company, that would train it's own and promote from within. It wasn't the working class that decided to use layoffs as a way to boost stock prices. The jobs abandoned the workers, is it any wonder that they don't show any more fervor to commit to that work relationship?

It's amazing how a tax rate increase is supposed to destroy the incentives of the wealthy to invest, innovate, and build, while decreasing compensation for labor is supposed to have no effect whatsoever on the work ethic of an individual worker. You know the old saying, if you want the rich to work harder, pay them more, "Right-to-Work Laws" say if you want the poor to work harder, then pay them less.

More than a third of the workforce was unionized in the 1950s, now its less than 10%. I'm not a big fan of unions, but there's no question they get their workers a fair share of life's pie, and then some. Of course if Murray makes points like this, he too might be diagnosed with "Terminal Laziness".

I wonder about Charles Murray's reaction to the Arizona's Senator Ash's Proposal for a "Special Holiday for White People". Senator Ash is serious that Caucasian-Americans should have their own celebration once they're outnumbered. I guess Presidents Day and the countless lesser holidays celebrating the accomplishments of white people just aren't enough for him.


Just finished watching all 7 seasons of "The West Wing" and there is an episode where Abby Bartlet is going to a NASCAR race, and she's completely ignorant of NASCAR. She's shown some "hottie" NASCAR drivers by the character played by little Kristin Chenoweth, and Abbie perks up a bit. When Abbie goes to NASCAR, she's surrounded by hottie drivers and kissed by one. This, in sharp relief to how our first lady Michelle Obama was treated at NASCAR. I can't help but wonder if "real Americans" are rude bigots who treat the office of the First Lady like an unwelcome slattern.

Incidentally, in the real test (and not the pop quiz Lance linked), there is no picture of the NASCAR driver, only his name, which makes it possible that people who read the sports page and have never seen a NASCAR race in person may recognize the name. I'm sure lots of ELITES read the sports page.

Ken Muldrew

For the last year and a half I've been driving a pickup for work, but the company supplies the trucks. I drive a small car when I'm home. The company trucks are a mix of Dodge, Ford, and Chevy. I'd probably buy a Toyota for myself but everyone in the oilpatch seems to think they are a bad joke. In the back of the pickup are usually a pile of tools and wiring supplies; maybe some hockey bags full of filthy clothes when we're moving to a new site. I am the only person in all of Western Canada who turns the truck engine off when not actually driving. The men laugh at me for my weakness in this curious habit, "It's a fleet card, man, what the fuck do you care?" Still, as low as they are, not one of them has sunk to the depths of Nascar fandom.

I'm not even going to look at that quiz.

mac macgillicuddy

Alternet's take on Murray's book:

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