Book Review: The Redneck Manifesto

The-Redneck-Manifesto

IronCrossIronCrossIronCrosshalf_ironcrossVery good!

Author: Jim Goad

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

I was talking with a buddy of mine who works at a record store about Donald Trump, and while his views are polar opposite to mine, he finds the Donald amusing rather than infuriating, especially when he says that he appeals to the uneducated.  After all, Donald Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator, right?  His language is plain, he appeals to emotions and he taps into the simple-minded, unenlightened common folk who still believe that ‘bortions are wrong, that women should be in the kitchen, that gays are evil Satanic pervs and that whites are downtrodden, in spite having the world handed to them on a silver platter thanks to the labor of non-whites.  However, when I hear words like “uneducated” and “unenlightened”, the first thing that I think is “un-indoctrinated.”

For you see, as far as I’m concerned, those dumb, uncultured, uneducated, unenlightened, backwards thinking, mouth breathing, hillbilly, white trash honkies, who everyone likes to lampoon in the movies and TV, actually ask the best questions.  “Why IS it okay for blacks to call me a honky or a cracker?”  “Why is Al Sharpton allowed to talk about how much he hates whitey on TV, and not lose his career for it?”  “Why is it okay for blacks to have black pride, Asians to have Asian pride, Latinos to have Latino pride and Jews to have Jew pride, but not okay for me to have white pride?”  As Goad put it, “I didn’t even care about having white pride until you told me that I wasn’t allowed to.”  Seriously, try asking any of those questions at a college or among your liberal friends and you’ll be tarred and feathered as a racist, neo-Nazi, KKK leader quicker than you can say “white privilege.”  Get caught on someone’s camera phone mentioning it and say goodbye to your career.  With The Redneck Manifesto,  Jim Goad of Answer Me! zine and current editor of Takimag attempts to set the record straight on the bogus claim of “white skin privilege.”

Jim Goad wrote his near masterpiece way back in 1997, years before there was a thing called the Alternative Right and during the height of the Clinton administration.  Though uneven at times, Manifesto has enough historical facts, cultural analysis and witty one liners crammed into its 255 pages that it should be REQUIRED reading for any college civics course that hasn’t already been turned into a cultural Marxist think tank.

The basic thesis of The Redneck Manifesto is simply that the big disparity in the United States is between classes, rather than races.  The book also addresses that which has widely become manifest in many a college campus; that the cultural puritans are now on the left, rather than the religious right.  Goad dedicates a good chunk of the final portion of the book to trashing white liberals and pointing out inconsistencies in their thinking.  Unfortunately he fails to link old school Marxism to cultural Marxism and, as a result, parts of the book take on a sort of kumbaya, “all of the races are united and angry at the man” message.  I honestly wonder if he simply hadn’t read about cultural Marxism yet or if Manifesto represents a transition in Goad’s political views.  He does briefly bring up how cops kill more white people than black people, how black people kill more white people than white people kill black people and how black people kill more of their own than white people kill black people, but, for some reason, he still felt the need to mention that blacks are equally oppressed as whites by the system.  I found this last part a little tough to take in, especially since he wrote this piece about black reparations.  I mean, you can’t be Howard Zinn and Jared Taylor.

But the majority of Goad’s tome takes on some assumptions about the various honky cultures.  He tells the history of Irish slavery and indentured servitude and how it was often worse than black slavery.  He talks about how many British criminals were sent to the New World as slaves before they were shipped off to Australia.  He discusses the etymology of words like “redneck”, “honky” and “cracker” and how, if you want true parity, you should treat them as if they are racial slurs that are as bad as those directed at any other group.  He delves deeply into the unquestioning religiosity of Southerners, including their faith in faith healers and snake handlers.  And he asks the all important question: “What’s so bad about hatemongers, gun nuts and paranoid, tax-resisting extremists?”  Obviously the name of that chapter is tongue in cheek, but draws attention to the fact that most “experts” on the topic of “extremists” excuse these people with the ad hominem of “they’re crazy”, which is lazy, disingenuous and indicative of how easy it is to pigeonhole and stereotype entire groups of people.  Sound familiar?

Some of the conspiracy cult segments seemed to go off the main topic a bit.  As entertaining as it was reading about his hanging with Elvis/Bigfoot/UFO/Weekly World News enthusiasts, it almost seemed like I was reading a segment out of Apocalypse Culture, rather than a treatise on race relations in the U.S.  That’s not a major complaint though, and I was introduced to the written work of Western Bigfoot Society president, Ray Crowe, so that’s a plus.

If you’re familiar with Goad’s writings, you should know what to expect.  He’s full of acerbic wit and clever turns of phrase that can say more in one sentence than some political pundits say in entire speeches.  And any use of racial slurs is purely to make a point, rather than to exhibit malice, which Goad seems to be completely free of; in fact the man is probably one of the most ideologically pure writers I have ever read.  As I mentioned, his rhetoric occasionally sounds downright “power to the people” style Marxist, which is later contradicted by his disgust for having so much of his tax money taken from him.  I’m still not sure if that’s because he doesn’t like what the government will do with his tax money or if he’s just fighting for free market principles.

And, since the book is somewhat politically ambiguous and more focused on culture, you don’t have to be a right winger to enjoy and appreciate it.  In other words, if you’re a non-PC Sanders supporter, meaning that you want all the “perks” of big government, yet you still think it’s cool to grab a woman’s ass at a bar or to make racist jokes, you can totally get into this book.  And I HIGHLY suggest that you do.

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