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Never got past the turtle

In this strange New York Times article that complains that today's kids don't move around enough (i guess they're supposed to be chasing jobs all around the country), the author bizarrely admonishes people to be more like the Joad family from Grapes of Wrath.

AMERICANS are supposed to be mobile and even pushy. Saul Bellow's Augie March declares, "I am an American ... first to knock, first admitted." In "The Grapes of Wrath," young Tom Joad loads up his jalopy with pork snacks and relatives, and the family flees the Oklahoma dust bowl for sun-kissed California. Along the way, Granma dies, but the Joads keep going.

And then at the end:

In the mid-'70s, back when every high school kid longed for his driver's license and a chance to hit the road and find freedom, Bruce Springsteen wrote his brilliant, exciting album "Born to Run." A generation later, as kids began to hunker down, Mr. Springsteen wrote his depressing, dead-end dirge, "The Ghost of Tom Joad." We need to reward and encourage forward movement, not slouching. That may sound harsh, but do we really want to turn into a country where young Americans can't even recognize the courage of Tom Joad?

Did the authors actually read Grapes of Wrath? Because as i remember it, the whole point of the book was that the Joad family pinned their hopes on the idea that there would be jobs in California, and when they got there, they found out that there weren't any and they wound up being treated like second class citizens, abused by the system and scraping to survive.

Not exactly the right message for the kids of today. I think they should just stay at home and mess around on facebook.

Dean Baker does a good job destroying the rest of the article.

By fnord12 | March 13, 2012, 1:08 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage


uh....i thought it was Grampa who dies. i should know this cause i tried to read this book 3 times and that's the part where i gave up each time. mebbe both Grampa and Granma die in this horribly depressing book. it wouldn't surprise me.

where exactly do the Buchholzes want "young people" to go? there aren't any jobs anywhere. they might as well stay home and save themselves the expense of traveling to another state rife with unemployment.

There's plenty of death in Grapes of Wrath.

They want everyone to go to North Dakota, which is having a mini-boomlet due to an oil discovery, but as Dean Baker says, there's just not enough jobs to absorb even a small portion of the unemployed. See also: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/scale-and-energy-booms-continued/