Jay talks once more with one of his favorite writers and people — Kevin D. Williamson, whose new book is “Big White Ghetto: Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the ‘Real America.’” Among the topics: poverty, drugs, gambling, porn, and despair. But don’t worry: The conversation is much more pleasurable than it sounds.

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There are 42 comments.

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  1. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Has anyone on this thread actually listened to the podcast?

    I did. I find what Kevin D. Williamson has to say sometimes irritating (He just doesn’t get it about community, about an attachment to a place. He’s blind that way.) and often fascinating.
    I got the book of essays and am looking forward to reading it.

    • #31
  2. Roderic Coolidge
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left.    So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.  

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court?   What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles?   What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?  

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.  

     

     

    • #32
  3. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    • #33
  4. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in the new area as safe from the danger of violence as the one he’d be leaving.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I would also be moving my kids to a less safe area.

    • #34
  5. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in a safer neighborhood.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I were moving with kids.

    Which suggests that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, much like a lot of other people who think they’re smarter than they really are.

    • #35
  6. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in a safer neighborhood.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I were moving with kids.

    Which suggests that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, much like a lot of other people who think they’re smarter than they really are.

    Either that or the lives and safety of these poor whites don’t seem to him to be anything that matters.

    • #36
  7. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in a safer neighborhood.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I were moving with kids.

    Which suggests that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, much like a lot of other people who think they’re smarter than they really are.

    Either that or the lives and safety of these poor whites doesn’t seem to him to be anything that matters.

    As others have mentioned elsewhere, “embrace the power of ‘and.'”  

    • #37
  8. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in a safer neighborhood.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I were moving with kids.

    Which suggests that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, much like a lot of other people who think they’re smarter than they really are.

    Either that or the lives and safety of these poor whites doesn’t seem to him to be anything that matters.

    As others have mentioned elsewhere, “embrace the power of ‘and.’”

    Please explain to me what you mean.

    • #38
  9. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    To paraphrase Williamson, people who can’t find work in flyover country should go where the jobs are.

    It occurred to me while listening to this podcast that the reason why the people in Appalachian communities and the like are as they are is that all those capable of doing so, possibly many or most of them, moved on when the economy failed, and those places are left with those who are left. So writing about these folks is cherry picking of a sort.

    What can you say about a reporter who in order to explain the problems of poor white Americans writes about eviction court? What else does one expect to find there except people with lame excuses for their troubles? What else does one expect to find on the free bus to Atlantic City other than people with gambling problems?

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that human nature operates even among poor whites.

    It does seem to suggest that Williamson isn’t quite as smart as some, and especially himself, seem to think.

    I don’t know if the problem is that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is or if it’s something else.
    So let’s say you live in the white ghetto. You haven’t great job skills and there’s no work. Williamson would say “move”. But Williamson would also admit that the violence is probably very low in the white ghetto compared to what it is in the kind of neighborhood to which you’d have to move, due to your limited money, if you moved closer to where there were more opportunities for low skilled work. It’s not like someone in that situation would be able to afford a place in a safer neighborhood.
    Just that would be enough to keep me there and taking welfare, or whatever, instead of moving. I would especially want to avoid moving to a less safe area if I were moving with kids.

    Which suggests that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, much like a lot of other people who think they’re smarter than they really are.

    Either that or the lives and safety of these poor whites doesn’t seem to him to be anything that matters.

    As others have mentioned elsewhere, “embrace the power of ‘and.’”

    Please explain to me what you mean.

    In this context, “and” would mean that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, AND – not OR – the lives and safety of these poor whites doesn’t seem to him to be anything that matters.

    • #39
  10. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    “In this context, “and” would mean that Williamson does a lot of just first-order thinking, AND – not OR – the lives and safety of these poor whites doesn’t seem to him to be anything that matters.”

    Still scratching my head, but thank you for trying to explain it. I meant either Williamson isn’t such a good thinker (I thought the person to whom I was responding was being sarcastic.) or he can see the problem of potential violence for poor whites relocating, and he just doesn’t care.

    • #40
  11. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    It’s a common neoliberal fallacy that the solution to all poverty is to make poor people join affluent communities.  Classical liberals became fantastically rich improved the lot of the poor by increasing the productivity of low-skilled labor markets.  Neoliberals seem to think cheap labor policies improve productivity, as if output per each hour of labor magically increases just because it’s done by underpaid foreigners.

    • #41
  12. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    It’s a common neoliberal fallacy that the solution to all poverty is to make poor people join affluent communities. Classical liberals became fantastically rich improved the lot of the poor by increasing the productivity of low-skilled labor markets. Neoliberals seem to think cheap labor policies improve productivity, as if output per each hour of labor magically increases just because it’s done by underpaid foreigners.

    The output of the underpaid workers may not increase, but if “productivity” is not just how much output someone produces, but also the COST of doing so, then in that sense “productivity” does increase.  And that is certainly a factor, since the profit margin is affected.

    The example of a man with a shovel versus a man with a bulldozer is similar too.  It’s not just that the man with a bulldozer can move maybe 100 or 1000 or 10,000 times more dirt in the same period of time as the man with a shovel, but even if the “skilled” man with a bulldozer is paid 50 times as much, the “productivity” – cost per unit of dirt moved over time, etc – is much better.  (Yes of course there are costs of the bulldozer too etc, but it still works out better or they would have little reason to do it.)

    • #42
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