The Redneck Manifesto

The Redneck Manifesto

by Jim Goad

Touchstone Books

Websters 2 defines manifesto as “A public declaration of intentions or principles, esp. of a political nature.” Well, The Redneck Manifesto certainly is that. Subtitled “How Hillbillies, Hicks and White Trash became America’s Scapegoats,” this rant is based around two tenets: a: In today’s culture the term “redneck” is considered polite speech, humorous even, but to use a derogatory slang term for any other social or racial group makes you only slightly less grotesque than Hitler and b: The working man is the curb on which the powerful wipe their boots.

Now I don’t disagree with either of those statements, nor the implications that they suggest, but I don’t really need 274 pages to convince me of it. Goad makes good points about race and class in this country, and has historical facts to show that just about anybody walking around mainstreet USA has a reason to hate somebody, somewhere.

Well, that’s true enough. But he doesn’t seem to be able to just make his point once — it’s over and over again, and in frequently antagonistic language, that really only belittles his main objective. The book, if edited into pamphlet form, would probably find its way into the back of a rental truck outside a government building someday. By ending the tome with the statement “Montani Semper Liberi,” Goad seems quite okay with that.

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