Big White Ghetto

Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the "Real America"

[Amazon Link]

A compilation of 22 of Kevin D. Williamson's National Review articles 2012-2019. It's short: 231 pages including endmatter. But each article is a little gem, and if you're wondering what all those asterisks in the magazine meant, they're spelled out here. Including the title of the article about the stage version of Glengarry Glen Ross which in the magazine was "Death of a F*****g Salesman".

But he's also good at indirectly saying what he means. The state of city finances in San Bernardino, California? "This is a paddle-free scato-riparian fiscal expedition of the first order."

The articles are mostly reportage; no extended discussions of political philosophy, only as much as necessary to expose the folly of clueless pols. The title article is about Owsley County, Kentucky, which, at the time of writing, was the poorest county in the US. (It's since been "surpassed" by two others.) In a memorable section, KDW describes how food stamps (EBT payments) are near-immediately traded for more liquid assets, specifically cases of soda.

There's a lot of variety, and KDW is a gifted reporter and writer, avoiding clichés of both left and right. (His analysis of white poverty has irritated at least one other NR writer.) But he visits civil court in Lubbock; drug dealers in Birmingham; pot marketers in Denver; slums in Chicago; and many more. Each article is full of insight and pyrotechnic prose. Highly recommended.