They're something I've been pushing, seemingly forever, and perhaps Our President's defiance of those norms is getting Deep Thinkers who previously honored the norms in the breach to rediscover their value. But the rot has been coming for a long time, and Charlotte Hays's When Did White Trash Become the New Normal?: A Southern Lady Asks the Impertinent Question is a hilarious exploration of inquiry into the nature and the causes of the rot. (The perfect summer relief to offer as Book Review No. 17, particularly after a dark and stormy night last night, to be precise.) It has to be hilarious, as "standards of decency are now culturally insensitive." And yet, the book illustrates all the ways that goes wrong. "Why Obesity, Tattoos, and Velveeta(R) Prove That Arnold Toynbee Was Right." About celebrating the downscale -- the $64 word is antinomianism -- as being a signifier of the rot, that is. There are also recipes. And anyone who specifies yellow mustard as the quintessential White Trash condiment is spot on.
(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge.)