The identity ideology has eaten our brains to the point where people watch Hillbilly Elegy (or hear about it, which is more likely) and immediately assume that it’s about geography.
It’s not, though. There’s a Bev – a chaotic, cruel, terrible parent – in every neighborhood of every country. Bevs aren’t created by geography, poverty, or regional characteristics. They aren’t created by addiction. My husband’s parents were stone-cold sober. They weren’t particularly poor. They were very educated. They loved poetry. They were married and never got divorced. They had no idea what Appalachia was. But they were exactly like Bev.
This dysfunction is inherited. It goes on and on from one generation to another until one person makes an enormous effort and finds a way to break the cycle. Unfortunately, that’s the only recipe, and most people never escape. They promise themselves not to become like their parents but they always do. Exceptions are very rare.
Hillbilly Elegy actually shows very well what can be a source of energy to propel a person out this cycle.