"If Americans had listened to Steinbeck, would things be different today?"
That's the question asked by a headline writer in The Denver Post -- metro Denver's only major newspaper these days -- atop an op-ed-page column by Rachel Dry from The Washington Post. In the piece, Dry reports that reading John Steinbeck is again a popular pursuit.
Especially since current times are so tough, Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," the story of a Depression-era family picking up stakes in dusty Oklahoma and moving to California where life wasn't much better, resonates again with many readers, Dry reports.
But Dry suggests that Steinbeck's later writing is even more apt for today's readers. "At the end of his career, Steinbeck's main subject was his extreme distaste for materialism in America," she writes. Two non-fiction works of the late Steinbeck, "The Winter of Our Discontent" and "Travels With Charlie in Search of America" (which I read), "have it all," Dry says.
"Apathy, greed, moral decay, a dissection of an America gone soft."
Well, I know I've gone soft because I spent 18 months trying to cure my body of colo-rectal cancer, when I could not exercise properly.
I know, too, that I cannot say I've "gone soft" Dry-style, or Steinbeck-style.
I am actually going back to the church of my youth, I'm not apathetic enough to keep me from writing my opinion in this newly started blog, and, though I would like to make much more money than I am making now, I still don't make enough to be able to describe myself as greedy.
And I suspect many, many more Americans are like me.
They decry the near total destruction of the American middle class by high-flying and high-powered corporate forces under the guise of free-market democracy -- just as I do.
And they can only hope -- because its the only thing we can afford -- that the current Depression will end in a way that our government rebuilds the nation's middle class along the way.
That's my opinion.
To be frank, I don't much care whether you like it or not.