Friday, May 24, 2013

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

Second nonfiction I have read recently that has evoked Dante’s inferno for me. Sacco and Hedges takes the reader on a tour of our sacrifice zones. Areas that capitalism and other forces (racism and classism mainly) have made into third world failed states that exist in the borders of the world’s number one economy. Pine Ridge reservation, Camden, New Jersey, West Virginia Coal country, the produce fields of Florida, and finally the Occupy protests. These pieces are intended as both prophesy of unfettered capitalism and a shaming for our collective turning of the back. In other words this is muckraking piece in the classic style. There is a tension between Hedge’s manic street preacher of doom delivering an erudite and passionate sermon that critiques history and safely held preconceptions with Sacco’s more humane and thoughtful portrayals. This tension gives way in the last and weakest section on the Occupy movement as Hedges turns most of the piece into a plea for revolution (without any real answers though many of his critiques seem trenchant) which makes it the weakest section, as good reportage on the Occupy movement is needed more than his rant.

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