I am developing a major man-crush on Joe Bageant. I first became aware of him from this essay, linked to from The Smirking Chimp. As a writer he's a more articulate version of Hunter Thompson (with whom he apparently used to hang), with that Thompsonian passion that makes its way up from deep inside the gut, with stops at the bile duct and the seminal vesicle. He's also got a finely nuanced feel for the species Redneckius Americanus, based on his life among them in Winchester, VA, about a half-hour's drive from my Lovettsville.
I'm trying to suck it up to write him a fan-letter, offer to buy him a drink. I think we could come up with a few things to talk about.