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Tom Joad, in the Grapes of Wrath, has been an all American symbol. How horrible we were in the past, and how we have gotten much, MUCH better than that.

However, he's not up to date with the modern ways that poor people really think about their government, as shown to us by the media:

First of all, Tom CAN'T be poor.  He has to be a rich man, because that is the only character people want to read about.  The speech pattern can stay, because that adds to the allure of the character.

Therefore, I present to you as small snippet of Tom Joad's final monologue, had it been written by a modern, successful author that sold a million copies.

------------------

Tom: I been thinking about us, too, about lazy people living like pigs and good rich land layin’ fallow cuz they can't find no people willin to work. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers livin off the dole. And I been wonderin’ if I just stood up, an pulled myself up by my bootstraps…

Ma: Oh, Tommy, they'd just take any money you made and give it to tha folks who don't want to work, then where'd you be?

(Continuation on the flip)

Tom: They’d rob me anyways. Sooner or later they’d smear me for one thing if not for another. Until then…

Ma: Tommy, you’re not aimin’ to be one of them fascists.

Tom: No, Ma, not that. That ain’t it. It’s just, well as long as I’m a rich man anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just put together a think tank and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it.  I don’t know enough.  But that's more than enough to make up my mind.

Ma: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could say bad things about you and I’d never know?

Tom: Well, maybe it’s like my agent says. A fellow ain’t got a product of his own, just little piece of a big product, the one big product that can be sold to everybody, then…

Ma: Then what, Tom?

Tom: Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so lazy bums can steal, I’ll be there to take names. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll have the cop's back. I’ll be in the way guys shout down an opinion they don't like. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re bored and they know it's time for my new fall line up, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they should have paid for and livin’ in the houses that they refuse to pay rent on– I’ll be there, too.

Ma: I don’t understand it, Tom.

Tom: I do ma, it's the American way.

Originally posted to detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:11:13 AM PDT

  •  Beautiful. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, detroitmechworks, PSzymeczek
  •  You know, my mom's family made the Joads look (4+ / 0-)

    like the Rockefellers.  But you know what?  She's the biggest teabagger you could ever imagine.  I have never been able to figure that out.  Neither have any of her other children or grandchildren, who are all progressives.  Anybody else have a similar family history?

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:29:58 AM PDT

    •  I think group identification has a LOT to do... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, PSzymeczek, 207wickedgood

      with this.

      People, for some reason or another, want to belong to groups.

      I think a lot of Tea Partiers WANT to belong to the rich folks group, so they ape their politics and mannerisms...

      Not realizing of course, that the rich wouldn't deign to allow them to lick the mud from their boots.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:32:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Damn. I think you hit the nail right on the head. (3+ / 0-)

        Whenever my mom goes to a restaurant, for example, she takes on this affected mannerism, hoity toity so to speak.  She even holds her mouth in this weird position when she talks, with her lips all pursed like they could pull any moment, revealing bare fangs.  And when we have Thanksgiving dinner at her decidedly lower middle class table, she puts on this air that she imagines rich people exhibit.  I nearly fell out of my chair when she went around the table asking everyone, "May I serve you?"  ????  What the effing hell is that?  It's like she was acting like WE were the rich people and she was our servant or something.  Extremely uncomfortable to people who prop their TV dinners up on their laps in the bed in front of a TV watching Fawlty Towers on Netflix.  But now that I think of it, in a way she reminds me of Basil Fawlty, except he's funny.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:42:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Basil Fawlty had an excuse... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, PSzymeczek, 207wickedgood

          He lived in a society that actually HAS ancient social stratification.  

          Here...  we're supposedly all equal.

          I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

          by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:45:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My favorite episode is "The Germans." (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            detroitmechworks, 207wickedgood

            That guy cracks me up.  They only did two seasons, because according to Cleese, they had developed the characters and had done everything possible with them without becoming trite and that is something they refused to do.  Seldom does such artistic integrity trump $$$$$.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:48:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, that AND he and his ex broke up during... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZedMont, PSzymeczek, 207wickedgood

              the second season.

              The tension is fairly obvious during the performances, IMHO.

              I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

              by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:50:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Didn't have anything to do with Polly did it? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                detroitmechworks, 207wickedgood

                My second favorite episode is the one where Polly is not wearing a certain article of intimate apparel.  On second thought, maybe "The Germans" is my second favorite.

                Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

                by ZedMont on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:09:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Polly WAS his ex. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PSzymeczek, ZedMont

                  The two of them wrote the show together.

                  Probably one of the reasons it was so good, IMHO.

                  (Always liked Connie Booth, so I'm a little biased.  Must admit I've always been a bigger Palin fan than a Cleese fan as well)

                  I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

                  by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:11:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I knew they wrote the show together but I didn't (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    detroitmechworks

                    know they were married.  I liked both their characters.

                    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

                    by ZedMont on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:13:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  oh boy do i! (4+ / 0-)

      my grandfather was a coal miner in Kentucky, who lived thru the worst of the strikes and was a loyal union member until the day he died.  He swore his sons would never set foot in a mine, and moved north.  He had been put to work sorting rocks at the age of 6. He praised public education, and made sure his children got thru 8th grade - the norm then.  he taught himself everything, and sought out mentors, read everything he could get his hands on.
      He was spiritual, but despised the hypocrisy he saw in
      churches, and saw members of his own family who became preachers as a means to get out of the mines themselves and live off the meager earnings of their flocks instead of working for living and not "a calling".

      Fast forward and except for 4 out of 11 grandchildren, the rest of the family tree are teavangel /libertarians.  Go figure.  He must be spinning in his grave.  It's difficult to handle any family gathering, and blows have been thrown.
      We four and our families can only think the rest are impaired, missed the empathy gene, have a defective vegus nerve, have been brainwashed by their religious community or are just willfully selfish and mean spirited.

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