Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #15: Chris Arnade, ‘Dignity’

 

I interviewed writer/photographer Chris Arnade about his book Dignity, an all-American journey of 400,ooo miles around America for the best part of a decade, trying to fulfill the promise of Christianity and democracy, that everyone should count in some way as a human being. We talk about front-row and back-row America, the new education-based elites and the people they have forsaken while claiming to champion, about the resilience of faith in America and the desire for community taking root at McDonald’s in places that have nothing else, and about the hope and despair of the people our public discourse and media ignore. You can get his wonderful book on Amazon.

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  1. Sandy Member

    Hi, Titus.

    Wonderful book that stays with you. I look forward to listening to the interview.

    1 hour later: Titus, you speak even more beautifully than you write, and you spoke with real feeling unlike most interviewers. Bravo. The single thing I most remember about the book ,which I can’t quote directly right now, was Arnade’s discussion of how people like himself had had such a big part in creating the misery of the people he befriended, photographed, and wrote about, and especially how people of his class did not understand the inability, or more, the unwillingness, of these people to move from their communities. After reading the book I wondered whether that there wasn’t more real community among these classes than among academics and bankers, where competition is so rife and ties to a locality weak and friendship more fleeting.

    • #1
    • April 30, 2020, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Hey, Sandy! Thanks, kindly–it’s been awhile!

    Yeah, there’s an entire story to tell about what made Arnade change his life–a lot of it seems to be a conversion story!, leaving behind a way of life that was immiserating America, however well it did for the upper class. Maybe he’ll be interested in talking about it. But for a first conversation, I decided to focus on the things he discovered, above all that failure doesn’t stop Americans from being American & trying to do what everyone else tries–find faith & community. I agree, in these respects, the miserable might be happier than the blessed, since the latter often seem nihilistic, which is a thing worse & more fearful than poverty.

    • #2
    • April 30, 2020, at 10:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Sandy Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Hey, Sandy! Thanks, kindly–it’s been awhile!

    Yeah, there’s an entire story to tell about what made Arnade change his life–a lot of it seems to be a conversion story!, leaving behind a way of life that was immiserating America, however well it did for the upper class. Maybe he’ll be interested in talking about it. But for a first conversation, I decided to focus on the things he discovered, above all that failure doesn’t stop Americans from being American & trying to do what everyone else tries–find faith & community. I agree, in these respects, the miserable might be happier than the blessed, since the latter often seem nihilistic, which is a thing worse & more fearful than poverty.

    I think you made the right decision, and I’m glad to hear that there might be a second conversation.

    • #3
    • May 1, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like