Malacandra.me

Today in Magic Ruralism (tm)



Magic Ruralism (tm) noun: a literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of political fantasy.

As I have mentioned before, the Beltway media's hot new genre is something I call Magic Ruralism.
...just as Thrilling Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly were in the business of cranking out hard-boiled crime genre fiction for the titillation of their readers, so have The New York Times and the Washington Post gone into the business of cranking out True Tales Of Rust-Belt Trump Murricans! for the titillation of their readers.
And I wasn't kidding.  As someone who probably still has a 1997 paper copy of the Dustbook Guide Little Magazines & Small Presses moldering away in the basement and could, at one time, tell you what the submission policies and pay scale were for every science fiction market from Playboy and Omni (serious money) to the Windycon writer's contest (a gold coin and approbation) I tell you that in all the animal kingdom there is no species that seeks out sustenance and communicates it's location back to the hive more efficiently than hungry writers hustling after a buck.

And that is exactly what is happening at The New York Times. 

From yesterday:
He’s a G.O.P. Immigration Hard-Liner. So Why Is He Trailing in Trump Country? 
The two-story house, painted like an American flag and with a giant Trump lawn sign, was a semifamous roadside attraction in 2016. Hundreds of people detoured an hour outside Pittsburgh to take pictures there, and Donald Trump himself tweeted an image of the “Trump House.”
Writers don't invent markets.  If they did, this Liberal blogger would have long ago socked away enough dough buy a sweet little Route 66 motel and convert it into a fully-funded artist and writer colony.  No, paying markets remain paying markets only so as long as there are enough people with enough money to make it viable for writers to cast their nets into those waters. 
Across the street, three factory workers on a lunch break last week said they had not even heard of Mr. Barletta, who forged his political identity as the mayor of a small city at the other end of the state that he vowed to make “one of the toughest places in the United States” for illegal immigrants.

A few blocks down Latrobe Street at the Tin Lizzy Tap Room, Bob Lihan, a retired brewery worker, said that though he thought Mr. Trump was “doing great,” he planned to vote for Mr. Barletta’s Democratic opponent, Senator Bob Casey Jr., in the fall — that is, if he votes at all...
And at this moment, The New York Times and the Washington Post have almost singlehandedly invented a brand-new, paying market for thrilling tales of Economic Anxiety out on the wild frontier.
A tour of Westmoreland County last week found that dozens of Trump supporters there are only vaguely aware of Mr. Barletta. 
“I don’t know who you’re talking about, really,” said Fred Tomlinson, a retired machinist.
Of course, for us Liberal inhabitants of Middle America who have been actively yelling for decades about the monster factory the GOP has been building, this is equal parts horrifying and hilarious.
Mr. Porterfield, 58, was having breakfast at Dick’s Diner in Murrysville during a visit home from State College, where he now lives. He recalled an uncle who had lost a steel mill job in the 1970s and wound up working as a short-order cook at Dick’s, the same job he had had as a teenager.
Honestly, if i'd known the Times and the Post were going to invent an entire Magic Ruralism (tm) genre of hair-raising True Tales From Trump Country --
On a hot July evening, a parking lot on Route 22 was filled with American muscle cars of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Barracudas, Mustangs and Thunderbirds in glistening paint jobs sat displayed with their hoods open to show off spotless engines.
-- for the titillation of an elite readership who live a million social miles distance from the Republican madness running amok in my back yard --
The owners sat in camp chairs on the surrounding lawn, in sight of a pro-Barletta billboard across the highway showing an empty suit and saying “Bob Casey: 12 Years of Nothing.
-- as a freelance writer who lives perpetually on the edge of financial ruin I would have positioned myself better.
Bill Adams, owner of a black 1965 Cobra, said he was unfamiliar with Mr. Barletta, but would vote for him out of support for Mr. Trump, to “keep the good times rolling.”
I'd have gotten myself an agent and, in my Carhart jacket and plumber's jeans from Big "R", taken the New York writer's scene by storm as a savage from the brooding, bitter Interior.

I'd have ensorcelling the Very Serious People With Very Large Checkbooks with tales of Midwestern pity and terror gleaned from eating at D&J Cafe, getting shorn at The Hair of the Dog barbershop and over beers at Boone's Saloon.

From the Washington Post today:
QAnon: Meet a real-life believer in the online, pro-Trump conspiracy theory that’s bursting into view

...
The son of a civil engineer for the Navy, Burton grew up all over the country but completed most of his schooling in Southern California. He studied finance at San Diego State University. He liked to sing when he was young.

He said his father, now 88, was a “Southern Democrat,” a supporter of conservative white Democrats in the South, who became a “Reagan Democrat,” part of a massive defection of white voters from the Democratic Party that helped realign the two groupings in the second half of the 20th century.

“I grew up in the glow of the [Ronald] Reagan presidency,” said Burton, who was a registered independent for much of his life but declared himself a Republican 10 or 15 years ago. Part of what accelerated his drift to the right, he said, was the rise of the Clintons’ “corrupt empire,” as he put it, which he said was documented in “Clinton Cash,” a 2015 book by Peter Schweizer, a collaborator of Stephen K. Bannon, who was then head of Breitbart News and later became, briefly, Trump’s chief strategist.

The Clintons, he said, “subverted” Barack Obama, whose presidency, according to QAnon, caused mounting dissatisfaction in the military, where Burton has been led to believe the seed of “Q” was planted.

“Apparently military brass in the Pentagon got sick and tired of it, and they found a candidate that they could discuss everything with,” Burton said. “And apparently they went to Trump and asked Trump to run.”
Hell, at no additional charge I'd have happily pissed in New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger's fireplace to make my legend complete.


Behold, a Tip Jar!