Alan came back from a short fishing trip yesterday, which took him through western Michigan. Our many commenters who hail from that whiter, Dutchier, more pious part of the state can attest it has a lot in common with northeast Indiana — Fort Wayne with more blueberries, if you will.
Alan has a tolerance for commercial radio that I lack, so I rely on him to report on that front of the culture. He skipped around the dial, where every other talk station had a heavy Christian underlayment and a tone of barely muted hysteria and fury; the key phrase was “what can we do?” What can we do to stop them from bringing the terrorists to New York? What can we do to get Larry David arrested for pedophilia? (If you saw last week’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” you know what I’m talking about, although all of HBO came in for condemnation.) What can we do to stop the Communist/Marxist/Stalinist takeover of health care? And so on.
Someone was promoting this book: “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.” Hank Stuever made some funny throwaway comments about subtitles the other day, in the context of praising a nonfiction narrative that was so good, it didn’t even need one. (It was “The Good Soldiers,” if you’re wondering, and if you ordered it through the Kickback Lounge, I’d be obliged.) Green Hell’s reminds me of those idiot meetings we used to have in my newspaper days, when our overlords would pound into our heads that it’s not enough to simply tell a story, we must cover that “and what you can do about it” angle or risk endangering their end-of-year bonuses. I wonder if smart people on the right took enough MassComm or semiotics classes in between their MBA work to understand the pitch underlying “and what you can do about it.” Because the answer is right there on the book’s cover, although not spelled out: Buy this book, for starters. Or watch my show. I used to think Blue America was angry in the last days of the Bush administration, but that anger is like a demon that simply found another host. And a mouthpiece, but we will speak no more of she-who-must-not-be-named today.
Except this: One of my Facebook friends says she-who is book-touring through the Fort today. I figured she’d be at one of the mall bookstores, or some other venue that could handle the crowds, and she is, sort of — she’ll be at Meijer. For you non-Midwesterners, Meijer is a regional Wal-Martish big box. I guess I knew they sold books there, but it’s not like it’s a big part of their product lineup. But they are indisputably Real America, and she-who’s not even going at the one I used to patronize, in the southwestern suburbs. She’s going to the north-side Meijer, even realer Real America. They may have a hitching post outside for Amish buggies; a lot of businesses up that way do. Photo op alert.
Ain’t gonna study culture war no more. At least not today.
In lieu of bloggage today, a question for the crowd: How are you coming down on the mammograms-at-50-not-40 question? I’m curious because I have long suspected what is being said out loud today, that for women without a family history or other high-risk genetic indicators, having yearly mammograms before 50 is like chicken soup for a cold — it won’t hurt, but it probably isn’t doing any good, either. However, I’m willing to accept that I could be wrong, and I’m wondering what the wisdom of the comment section might turn up. It strikes me as a perfect example of why health-care costs are so high — we all want the Cadillac, but at Yugo prices. So: Anyone?