Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

A Trip to the Trailerhood

with 3 comments

So, it’s Saturday morning, and I’ve gotten the real writing down, and I’ve even gotten some work done on my latest side project, which is to produce a systematic account of the way I think about politics, morality, and Americanism–including what I mean by that last word, which is not what everybody else means by it.

In case I’m remembering wrongly and I’ve never put up any indication of this last project here, it’s mainly born out of frustration.

A lot of people accuse me of being contradictory in t hese things, which I’m not, if  you understand the underlying assumptions/axioms/priorities, and somehow just explaining these things on the fly doesn’t quite do it.

I thought I would set down things as they came to me and then organize them later into a coherent whole with chapters and sections and everything to make it easy to find the information you want–what do I think about gay marriage? gun control? abortion? physician assisted suicide? God?–and then get somebody like Keith Snyder to turn it into an e book for me and defray the expenses by charging $1.99 for a copy.

I figure I’d sell about six, but what the hell. 

And yes, I do realize that the format as I’ve planned it would sort of defeat the purpose I have for writing it, since anybody who wanted could skip the foundational sections in the first chapter and just read the notes on the hot button issues.

Still, I’d have it out there, and when people started yelling at me, I could go “See that?  Go read that.”

On top of that, I think I still own a website called How To Be An American, which I meant to use for a project that was supposed to include just this kind of thing,  so I could also put it up there.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the  incredible roller coaster that has been my life is finally getting to a place where it settles down and I can free  up panic-and-respond time for doing things that actually interest me.

Like I said, fingers crossed.  Fingers really crossed.

Anyway, I did a little work on that today.  The people who comment here have been a tremendous help, because you’ve shown me where my explanations need to be clearer or more fully fleshed out. 

So you’ll probably hear a lot about the stuff that’s going into this as time goes by.  You’ve heard a lot of it already.

In the meantime, I’m still reading Albion’s Seed, and I’ve gotten to what he calls the “backcountry.”

This is, I have to admit, the fun part.

I think I’d been reading through this section for about ten minutes when I realized that my head had started to play Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” on a nonstop loop.

By the time I’d been reading for an hour, there was so much hard liquor and so many guns, the image was dizzying.  The description of courting, wedding, and marriage customs was hysterical.  I was just starting to wonder why there wasn’t somebody dead at virtually every wedding when it turned out, well, that there was.

There we were in the middle of the eighteenth century, and these people were not only exhibiting virtually all the characteristics of life in a redneck trailer park, they were making the most anarchic of those trailer parks look tame.

I don’t know when it was I started to realize that I was having a better time–that I was happier in the company of these people–than I had been with any of the others.

I’ve been to trailer parks.  I know rednecks.  I know there are many bad parts, not the least to which can be an instinctive racism and xenophobia.


First, I think there is an instinctive racism/homophobia in a lot of places in this culture, and the incidence of it here seems to me to be at least honest.

Honest  prejudice is, I think, a lot easier to overcome than the hidden kind–easier to overcome almost because it tends to be violently expressed. 

These people know who and what they are and are not shy about expressing it, or owning up to it, either.

You can argue with that, and argue directly.  You’re going to have a lot more trouble arguing with the Hollywood starlet (or college professor, or politician) who mouths all the right platitudes about affirmative action and multiculturalism and whatever while at the same time making perfectly damned sure that he never has to actually associate with any of the minorities or immigrants he thinks he’s championing.

Over at Victor Hanson’s website, there’s a good essay (“American in the Age of Myth”) about just that.

Second, there is just something wonderfully, exuberantly male about all this. 

I suppose I’m talking about “male” in the sociological sense, and I’m willing to stipulate that individual female people could have the same characteristics.

The thing is, I’ve never met one.  Everybody I have ever known and observed who has this sort of no-holds-barred attitude to life has been biologically as well as sociologlically male, and most of them have been young.

Male in this sense is Fred and George Weasley and every test pilot who ever lived.  It’s the stories you read when they give out the Congressional Medal of Honor.  It’s “Look, Ma, no hands” and lighting farts. It’s pride in skill and competitiveness gone in almost everything.  

And that brings me to the third thing.

What I remember best about Fred and George Weasley  is the scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where they effectively  put an end to the reign of Delores Umbrage.

Because the Delores Umbrages–the Nurse Ratcheds–of this world have one purpose in life, and that is to destroy this kind of maleness. 

And maleness of this kind is the one thing that can destroy a Delores Umbrage.

I look around lately and think we need  more and more of this kind of being male, and see that we are spending more and more time trying to beat it out of our children. 

Don’t defend yourself (or, by extention, anyone else)!  Wait till the authority comes!  Anything you do is going to require you to spend a really long time in school, and to get  into college!  Learn to sit still and never challenge the teacher–you’ll get bad recommendations!

And on and on and on.

People here sometimes talk about when the “rot set in.”

I’ve got my candidate:  it was the day when they decided that Chuck Yaeger couldn’t be an astronaut because he’d never gone to college.

I mean, for God’s sake.


Written by janeh

April 13th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'A Trip to the Trailerhood'

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  1. Okay. I’ve fixed the comments thing. I think.


    13 Apr 13 at 6:16 pm

  2. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with the comments but this can be a test.

    Speaking of tests, I hope Jane will use us as a test audience for her proposed book. I may be a poor test subject because I am trying very hard to ignore US affairs. Its to depressing watching what was once a great nation making what seems to be determined effort to commit national suicide.


    13 Apr 13 at 7:35 pm

  3. Well, include me in.


    13 Apr 13 at 8:20 pm

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