I just learned that Joe Bageant is dead. He died back in the Spring. I feel badly; I should have known this sooner. See, everyone, that is what happens when you don’t show up for life–but never mind, excuses are cowardly.
I’ve always admired Bageant’s work, especially his earlier essays. They were a big influence on me when I was writing political opinion pieces for the school paper. He and I exchanged a few emails when I was an undergrad. I think it’s really awesome when older people make themselves accessible to young people. Mr. Bageant was very approachable, and I know it wasn’t just because I’m a girl because my email addy wasn’t gender-specific.
I am grateful to all of my teachers and mentors who helped to cultivate my intellect. I really miss them; the pain of their loss was excruciating and traumatic. But it’s my fault they aren’t in my life now. As always, I am the one who terminated contact. Basically, I terminated myself. Now that I’m here again, maybe I could get them back…? While they are still running around on Spaceship Earth, unlike Joe Bageant?
Go to Bageant’s website and read all his stuff. He’s insightful and can be very funny. The fellow has a gift for metaphors–consider this quote, snatched at random:
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.
HAHAHAHA thrashing mastodon in Pleistocene tar pit!!! Too funny. I love you, Mr. Bagaent. I did not quite have a Dad-crush on you, but I would have liked to have been your friend. Thanks for all the essays and your kind response to my emails.
P.S. I am serious–whenever one of my intellectual heroes (or even favorite authors) dies, I always kick myself for not sending fan mail when I had the chance. Off the top of my head, I missed the boat with Edward Said and Kurt Vonnegut. Why? Isn’t not as if I didn’t KNOW that they were old and that people die, after all.
I gotta write to Robert Hughes and that guy who wrote The Arms of Krupp. That was a really good book.