Barbara Ehrenreich, the nation's pesky liberal conscience, is back with another tome decrying the troubles of America's poor and the absurd lust of the ultra-rich. She's not our liberal guilt; that implies that we, as a nation, have harmed our lower classes so much that we need to make it up to them. Ehrenreich, author of 2001's Nickel and Dimed, is the liberal conscience by reminding us that things are going wrong right now, this moment, but it's not too late to fix it. Ehrenreich's This Land Is Their Land consists of bite-size nuggets (usually two to three pages) of well-worded essays expressing disgruntlement at the continued subdivision of our populace into ever poorer and ever richer subclasses. She mines the media for examples of just how surreal the world of the superrich actually is. While Home Depot's old CEO glided on a golden parachute worth over $200 million, and Manhattan bars are straining $10,000 martinis, the poor are now largely too destitute to buy clothes at Wal-Mart or keep the heat on in their children's bedrooms. Okay, we all know that the poor are struggling and the upper class continues to separate itself from lower income earners. But every now and then it's good to have a reminder. Ehrenreich provides this reminder with surprising levity and humor.
Tue., July 8, 7:30 p.m., 2008