On Remembering Joe Bageant

17 October 2016

I’ve been doing some housework on the site and I’ve noticed that Joe Bageant’s Website seems not to be available which is a real shame. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Joe when he came to London promoting his first book, ‘Dear hunting with Jesus…” and we had a jolly time and polished off a bottle of Jack and talked of many things. I still miss him. In any case, I have tried to consolidate all the essays I’ve published by Joe over the years and it currently totals 65. There maybe a couple more lurking around somewhere that I’ve missed. You can access them all here:

https://williambowles.info/?s=&cat=19914

And if you’ve not read Joe’s writing before, now’s your chance.

Bill

Lonzy Barker Is Missing By Joe Bageant

20 May 2013 — Joe Bageant

See the introduction to this series of posts: Writing on Things Southern and Past

Lonzy Barker is missing. Has been for several months now. Nobody noticed it until that smelly old hermit didn’t show up here at Dalton Bayles’ post office store for his sardines and rock candy. “He could be layin’ over there in his pigpen dead or something,” says Dalton. Did I tell you, dear reader, that Lonzy Barker lives in a pigpen? Always has. Anyway, after three months of Lonzy’s government checks piling up in the pigeonhole, Dalton has decided Lonzy “just might be — I ain’t saying he is and I ain’t saying he ain’t — missing.”

Queen of the Skies By Joe Bageant

7 May 2013 — Joe Bageant

See the introduction to this series of posts: Writing on Things Southern and Past

As I drove through the decaying neighborhood in Winchester, Virginia the pain of growing up there came back — the stabbing kind that only lasts a second but makes you flinch as you remember some small but stupid and brutal moment of adolescence. I have never known if everyone has them, but I’ve always suspected they do. Now that old neighborhood slid by my rental car window looking like it was painted by Edward Hopper, then bleakly populated with gangstas, old men with forty-ounce malt liquor bottles, hard-working single moms and kids on cheap busted plastic tricycles.

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Blood and Poppies By Joe Bageant

27 April, 2013 — Joe Bageant

My family’s ancestral home on Shanghai Road, a great sagging clapboard thing perched on a hill with its many filigreed balconies and porches like heisted antebellum petticoats, sat perched on a hill at the base of Sleepy Creek Mountain. Gnawed by the elements on the outside and woodsmoked by a thousand griddlecake mornings on the inside, where children ran the stairways and mice ran the cellars, my grandparent’s house was stuffed and running over with life itself.

Book with Joe Bageant’s best essays now available

4 March 2012 — Joe Bageant

For those who prefer a real book rather than reading on a computer screen, a book with 25 of Joe Bageant‘s best essays is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant will be available for distribution in the USA April 1. This book was first published last November in Australia by Scribe.

Before he died one year ago, Joe and I had talked about such a book, even though he initially had doubts that people would pay for something that’s available for free on the web. But, many emails from his readers convinced Joe that enough people wanted the essays in book form to make the project worthwhile. After Joe died, Henry Rosenbloom, Joe’s friend and Australian publisher, asked me to select and edit essays for the book.

Video: Documentary film with Joe Bageant opens

3 August 2011 — Joe Bageant

Kingdom of Survival, a documentary film in which Joe Bageant is a focal point, will premier at the World Film Festival (Festival des Films du Monde) in Montreal, August 18 through August 28. The segments of the film with Joe were made more than a year ago. Before he died last March, Joe had seen an unfinished version of the documentary and told director M. A. Littler that he was pleased to be a part of the film. In addition to Joe, the documentary has interviews with Noam Chomsky and Mark Mirabello — plus a reclusive cabin builder, an anarchist book publisher, and a folk musician.

Here is a trailer for Kingdom of Survival. For those who don’t know Joe Bageant, he is the second speaker in this clip. Continue reading

Joe Bageant: Joe picks and sings Hemingway's Whisky

5 June 2011 — Joe Bageant

Here is an outtake from The Kingdom of Survival, a documentary now in production that includes interviews with Joe Bageant, Noam Chomsky, a radical book publisher, a cabin builder, a musician, and a radio host. This segment was shot one year ago when Joe was visiting his home in Winchester, Virginia.

‘Hemingway’s Whisky’ was written by Guy Clark and became the title for Kenny Chesney’s recent album.

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Joe Bageant: Joe picks and sings Hemingway’s Whisky

5 June 2011 — Joe Bageant

Here is an outtake from The Kingdom of Survival, a documentary now in production that includes interviews with Joe Bageant, Noam Chomsky, a radical book publisher, a cabin builder, a musician, and a radio host. This segment was shot one year ago when Joe was visiting his home in Winchester, Virginia.

‘Hemingway’s Whisky’ was written by Guy Clark and became the title for Kenny Chesney’s recent album.

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Bageant’s Frustration: Extreme Isolation By Morris Berman

21 May 2011 — Joe Bageant Morris Berman

RAINBOW PIE COVER.jpgGiven how much we had in common, it’s perhaps a bit odd that Joe Bageant (1946-2011) and I never met (although I think we did correspond at one point). He even wound up living in Mexico a good part of the time. But the real connection between us is the congruence of perception regarding the United States. Joe came from unlikely roots to have formulated the political viewpoint that he did: working-class, right-wing, anti-intellectual, flag-waving, small-town Virginia. A “leftneck,” someone dubbed him; it’s not a bad description.

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Joe Bageant: Poet, Redneck Revolutionary, R.I.P. By Marc Campbell

11 April 2011 — joe bageant

Joe1_thumb

Joe in Hopkins Village, Belize

Joe Bageant was an extraordinarily gifted writer and thinker. Author of Deer Hunting with Jesus and countless essays and editorials on politics and society, Joe was a champion of human rights and a fearless critic of our government’s mistreatment of its working class. His writing is imbued with compassion but also a caustic wit that laid bare the working class’s tendency to do what is in their own worst interests. Watching Joe tear into the Teabaggers was like watching an extremely large feral cat play with its food. His death comes at a time when his voice is needed more than ever. I’m not sure there’s anyone out there that can fill the void.

This is not an obituary. I’m not trying to give the reader an overview of Joe’s life in a few paragraphs. I am sharing a few of my memories of Joe as a friend and writer.

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Rainbow Pie: Attention Must Be Paid By Bob Kincaid

10 April 2011 — Joe BageantHead On Radio Network

rainbow-pie2.jpgLet me be up front about things: I want you to buy Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. I want you to buy it not because I have any financial interest in it. I don’t. I want you to buy this book because it is a magnificent memorial both by and to one of the best American writers of the waning of the 20th and dawning of the 21st centuries. I want you to buy this book because, as the line from ‘Death of a Salesman’ notes, ‘Attention must be paid’.

I met Joe Bageant online in 2007. After reading Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War and many of his essays online, I sought Joe out for an on-air interview, which he gave me with what I came to know as his characteristic great good humor. From that conversation (the only one in which I have given over an entire show to a guest) forward, I knew I had a friend and comrade. Our conversations thereafter only cemented that understanding.

Now that he’s gone, the fact that I never got to meet him personally is somewhat assuaged by his having allowed me to meet his family and his world in Rainbow Pie. Being as I am a hillbilly and a redneck, those are my people, too, with their uncouth joy, unbearable sorrows and unending labors. Very likely, they’re yours, as well. It is a world I recognize easily, and recognize also that it was not something about which it is easy to write.’

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Joe Bageant: Bageant Moves On By Fred Reed

28 March 2011 — Joe Bageant: Bageant Moves Onwww.fredoneverything.net

We don’t last, and there’s no warranty

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Joe Bageant and Fred Reed in Ajijic, Mexico, 2008

Jocotepec, Mexico — Joe lived awhile down the lake. We would visit him of an afternoon, Vi and I, and find him, a bear of a man, bearded mountain Buddha, writing on the porch of his one-room place in Ajijic. Always he wore his old fishing vest, in which I suspect he was born, and sometimes he carried a small laptop in one of its pockets. Usually we adjourned to the living room, which was also the bedroom, dining room, and salon. He would fetch bottles of local red, or make the jalapeño martinis he invented — there was a bit of mad chemist in him — and we would talk for hours of art, music, the news, politics, and people. Especially people. Sometimes he grabbed one of the guitars from the wall and sang blues, at which he was good. I guess growing up dirt poor in West Virginia puts that kind of music in you.

Joe could fool you. He talked slow and Southern, lacked pretensions, and you could talk to him for weeks without realizing how very damned smart he was.

One day we dropped in and he said he had just found that he had cancer. It went fast. He died Saturday.

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Joe Bageant, 1946-2011

27 March 2011 — Joe Bageant

joe_bageantAfter a vibrant life, Joe Bageant died yesterday following a four-month struggle with cancer. He was 64. Joe is survived by his wife, Barbara, his three children, Timothy, Patrick and Elizabeth, and thousands of friends and admirers. He is also survived by his work and ideas. According to Joe’s wishes, he will be cremated. His family will hold a private memorial service.

Joe Bageant: an update

February 12, 2011 — joebageant.com

An update on the health of my friend Joe:

After a month in hospitals, cussing doctors and wanting to escape, Joe Bageant is back home in his own bed in Winchester. He is continuing the chemotherapy as an out-patient.

I talked to Joe by phone this morning and he sounded quite strong — compared to when I last saw him New Year‘s Eve at the Guadalajara airport as he left for Virginia. “I’m feeling better and better every day,” Joe said. “But, I’m so busy keeping track of when and how many pills to take that it will be a while before I get back to writing. I haven’t even touched my laptop in two months.”

Joe has received several thousand emails from his readers, more than he could read and acknowledge even when healthy. Joe’s wife Barbara and his son Tim select several emails every day to read to him. I am saving all of Joe’s email and will send him a package of well wishes when he gains even more strength and feels like reading again.

Ken Smith

A note from Joe Bageant

6 January, 2011

I got this email from my dear friend Joe the other day. He is currently receiving treatment at a Veterans hospital. Please send him a get well note, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

Dear friends, associates and fellow travelers, As you may or may not know, I have been struck down by an extremely serious form of cancer.
www.joebageant.com/joe/2011/01/a-note-from-joe.html

Joe Bageant: AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?

7 December, 2010 — Joe Bageant

Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga

Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico — If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

teabags.jpgOne explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?

But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and (B) we cling to institutions dedicated to making sure we never find out.

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‘Redneck’: Tea Party just a Spectacle By Joe Bageant

24 September, 2010 — Joe Bageant

More than 43 million people are living below the poverty line, but who are these people? For some reason, in this country, there’s always been an assumption that the poor, or the underclass, are the non-white people that live in this country, and the fact that there has always been a white underclass has become taboo. Author Joe Bageant known for his book Deer Hunting With Jesus and his recent book Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir, explains that the working class are being faithfully mislead.