Well, Jimmy Carter's had a rough time with some journalists of late, but nothing can compare--for down-home guile or...


CRACKERS: The Whole Many-Angled Thing of Jimmy, More Carters, Ominous Little Animals, Sad Singing Women, My Daddy and Me

Well, Jimmy Carter's had a rough time with some journalists of late, but nothing can compare--for down-home guile or downright hilarity--to this. Fellow Georgian Blount (Three Bricks Shy of a Load) was overjoyed at Carter's election since it signaled, in the words of Blount's brother-in-law, ""We ain't trash no more."" But now, while he's willing to support Carter on some issues--the killer rabbit, for instance--Blount is upset about Carter's de-Southernification. Like fast-food chains and the mass media, he's been homogenized by American culture. (Billy Carter, on the other hand, is authentic--but that's another, funny story.) Referring to the ""textbook-perfect Movement"" of the Sixties, personified by Martin Luther King, Jr., as a precursor to the election of a Southern white with black support, Blount theorizes that ""it may have encouraged nationally ambitious white Southerners like Jimmy Carter to nationalize their standards according to some idealized liberal media version of national standards."" Expanding on this, he goes on, ""the Carter Phenomenon picked up on the Movement and spread it broader and blander--with an unthreatening, unsexy, therefore unlikely-to-be-shot vague white man up front."" But Blount's assault on Carter is part of his own effort to come to terms with his deracination: a veteran of the Sixties protests, Blount now lives in Massachusetts. For one thing, he has to unburden himself of the desire to be a country singer--better, he thinks, than being president--so in a chapter entitled ""Whiskey and Blood,"" he gives a sampling of his songs, with lyrics like, ""I'm comin on in my jalopy, Ain't no way no one can stop me, Till I see that highway sign, Where I lost you who were mine: 6 Killed at This Intersection. You were the object of my affection. 6 Killed at This Intersection, and number 6 was you."" It might have been better if Jimmy'd become a song writer, but it's a good thing Blount became a journalist. The manic humor here is genuine, but so is the substance of Blount's confrontation with roots.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1980