Book Notes: Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety

There are so many wonderful American authors I never heard about. I only just now discovered Wallace Stegner because I got his novel Crossing to Safety as a Christmas gift. People never give me books as gifts, by the way, which is sad because it would make me so happy if they did. The downside of reading this novel is that now I want to drop everything and go read every word Stegner has ever written. But that’s the story of my life.

The novel is beautifully written. But even more importantly, it’s about professors. Of English! During the Great Depression! Struggling for tenure and trying to get published! Is that fascinating or what?

The author had a fascinating life, by the way. His was a very typical American Dream success story. He grew up in a piss-poor, uneducated, wildly dysfunctional and abusive family. But through a lot of hard work he became a Harvard and then a Stanford professor, wrote 28 books, and won a Pulitzer and the National Book Award.

I feel very inspired by this guy at the start of the new semester.

A Great Link on Yellow Vests

There’s a great interview in Spiked on the yellow vest revolt:

It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities. But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people.

For me this is the worst part about the fluid elites. Not only do they want to rob you of all political and economic power, they need to use you to assert their (absolutely imaginary) moral superiority. All they do on TV, on social media, on blogs, in newspapers is constantly congratulate themselves on how moral they are and how superior to the racist-sexist-murderous hoi polloi.

Do read the hole interview. It’s good.

What’s He Smoking?

I always suspected Beto was a stoner but I hoped he’d remember to sober up for a big Washington Post interview. Apparently, he’s not capable of doing that:

“You will ensure death,” he said of Trump’s proposed wall. “You and I, as Americans, have caused the deaths of others through these walls.”

Whose death? What is he even on about? What does any of this mean?

He’s a weirdo.

Difficult Times

I spent all day introducing changes to an article, then finally finished it, submitted, and got a reply from the editor thanking me and wishing me the best “in these difficult times.” I now feel like I missed something huge that happened while I was working on the article.