Where was I? Oh yes, the Huffpo, has decided to go on a major safari into deepest Redstate America. Trying to get to understand the people that voted for Donald Trump by visiting enclaves where no one did.
History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme. Back in 2005, after having unexpectedly lost to George W. Bush, there were various expeditions into the dark interior of the United States. To places where they eat of things called "the backstrap" and drink PBR unironically. The lower middle class condescension was as thick as it was hilarious.
Iowahawk (yes, he's still a NeverTrumper but I can live with that) used their terror of traveling amongst the Red People to write a pastiche of Joesph Conrad's the Heart of Darkness.
Here is a sample of:
Iowahawk's Heart of Redness
It is the same route Von Drehle followed before he went missing: I-80 to Nebraska, then south on highway 77 through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Ironically the Post had sent Von Drehle on his own mysterious mission - to learn why the natives were suddenly agitating against Post subscription offers. He went missing on January 11, emailing his final story draft with a cryptic personal note: "the horror... the horror."
My entree fork toyed with the competently-prepared lamb shank in merlot reduction, as I pondered the even more ironic irony that this ironic mission would take me to regions that were reportedly unfamiliar with irony.
"Is it true what they say?" asked Fleming, the young photographer whom the Post has assigned to accompany me on the journey up-asphalt. "I mean, about the religion, and the cannibalism?"
"No," I repond, managing a half smile. Fleming was visibly nervous, unable to eat his Portobello-duck gnocci. The truth is I had heard the stories too, and didn't really know the answer. I thought it best to reassure Fleming, a green staffer fresh from Columbia Journalism School. He might ultimately prove to be a liability on this mission, but if I was going to be in the middle of Kansas I needed a companion familiar with Maureen Dowd just to stave off the madness.
At least Fleming had an excuse for volunteering, I thought; he had that false bravado of youth. But what was it that drove me here? Was it Von Drehle, or was I actually looking for something missing inside myself? I didn't have time to answer, because the third member of our party arrived at the table.
"You Dionne?" said the hulking man in the Carhhardt jacket. "I'm Epstein, from the Sociology Department."
Epstein was the legendary University of Iowa sociologist who knew the west Red Country better than any man in civilization. He knew their language, their mores, their favorite NASCAR drivers. It was rumored that he had even lived among them for a time, but my editors at the Post warned me not to speak to him of it.
We poured over maps and discussed logistics until 7:45, when Epstein called for us to adjourn.
"There's a faculty panel symposium on Cuban health care over at Schaffer Auditorium," he said. "I suggest we attend, because there won't be any more where we're headed."
"We may be doing the Lord's work here, gentlemen, but the local tribes do not always look kindly on it," he warned. "Last month one of our tenured friars merely told his students that Bush was the anti-Christ, and he was viciously attacked by counterarguments. He was so traumatized he had to report the student to the disciplinary committee."
Read the whole thing.