(This interview with Joe Bageant by Patrick Ward first appeared in the November 2010 issue of UK's Socialist Review. In his previous book, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War, Bageant took on the media's portrayal of the "redneck" community he grew up in. Here, he talks about his second book, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir.)
Interview by Patrick Ward
How has the community you grew up in changed today?
Today there are the old ones who remember, but they're dying. There are people in my generation, but we ain't spring chickens ourselves. Then there is a small contingent of hippies who moved there to look after the land. They are wonderful. Then there are a lot of well to do people from Washington DC who have their hobby farms. The closest ancient old town, George Washington's Bathtub, is very fortunate that the gay community took it up as a place to come on weekends or to buy up little farms. But the average person is definitely among the high unemployed. The county I describe is one of the richest in West Virginia. Can you imagine what the poorest are like? They are goddamn horrible.