the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

July 25, 2005

What’s The Matter With Book Discussions


Over at the TPM Cafe Book Club, Thomas Frank is discussing his bestseller What’s the Matter With Kansas.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him, and he’s got a sharp yet laid-back wit. Here he reflects on a book reading in Kansas:

How has the book been received in Kansas? Well, at first there was a great deal of hostility from the local media, arising, I suspect, from a lot of bad impulses. My favorite example of this: I was in Wichita in May 2005 to speak at a bookstore, and a TV crew wanted to do an interview before I got started. First question: Are you “afraid” to be in Wichita? I laughed. Second question: Why did I “flee” the Midwest? I wrote the book while living in Chicago, I pointed out. Third question: Why was I doing only one reading in the state of Kansas? This was my tenth, as a matter of fact. You can easily decipher the journalistic narrative that they were plugging into here: Blue-state, east-coast, glasses-wearing elitist makes fun of the honest, God-fearing people of the heartland. Good thing they didn’t catch me swigging a latte or something.

Hopefully, we’ll get him as a guest speaker at Drinking Liberally at some point. During our own book discussion would have been nice, but what can you do. Speaking of which, any thoughts on a future book discussion?


  1. Jesse had a book at the MoveOn party that looked interesting. Something about money, I think. I can’t remember the title.

    Keith5:50 pm

  2. It was “The Problem of the Media” by Robert McChesney.
    It’s a great reference (a bit like a textbook) on the issue of
    bias in the media as a result of corporate policies. McChesney
    aims to dispel myths (that corporate commercial control of
    media is best, that our media system is a natural outgrowth of
    of our democratic society, that our media give the people what
    they want, that the press is liberal, etc.).

    —Jesse • 2:44 pm, July 26

  3. Money, media, … I knew it was something important that started with an M. There’s a website for it at Looks interesting.

    Keith6:59 pm, July 26

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