10 April 2011 — Joe Bageant – Head On Radio Network
Let 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.’