it was with great sadness that i read the e-mail from joe bageant's publicist announcing the author's death from cancer on saturday.
bageant was a winchester, va. native with a fascinating biography -- which you can read here.
his newest book, american pie, is, or should be available, now... already a best seller in australia, bageant was doing a publicity tour for his book when he was stricken -- just four short months ago.
i first ran across his essays on counterpunch.org. i couldn't believe the guy's literary style, his working-class point of view, and mostly that his essays were often set in his hometown of winchester -- with a motley crew of characters that were all too authentic to another virginian with working-class roots.
i went to winchester twice in the past several years, looking for the bar bageant often described in his writing. my most recent visit, back in december, a friend who's a local and i wandered the town one rainy afternoon, looking for traces of the author -- but came up empty handed. that's what you get when you try to pirate wifi off the neighbors' connections!
what a bummer. we'll all be the poorer for losing the keen insights of joe bageant into the redneck psyche -- written from the perspective of one who saw past the banality and cluelessness of working-class existence, and empathize with the courage and resilience of these hardy people -- from which he came.