Here’s the best tweet ever:
Patricia Lockwood grew up in suburban Missouri and has a dad who is a Catholic priest. I know a few people who tell a story like, oh my dad was in seminary and met my mom who was a novitiate nun and they dropped out and got married. But this is not the case, through a special dispensation he was still able to become a priest even though he had and maintained a marriage with kids. Lots of kids.
He is also larger than life in both literal and figurative ways. He wails on his guitar as if a sex act, he is large-bodied and barely clothed most of the time, he sits and watches action movies in loud orgies of masculinity, and he listens to both Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly at the same time, fistpumping in agreement. Patricia Lockwood loves him to death.
Her mom loves tragedies memorialized in the news but hates the New York Times.
There’s a persistent myth that Donald Trump voters are all uneducated, poor white subaltern figures. There’s also a persistent myth that they secretly harbor anti-gay and racist feelings infinitely outward. But of course, there’s more so a complicated array of factors and features that define any and all of them. If her educated, thoughtful, and possibly insane father is also a gung ho conservative Republican whose devotion also explodes past normalcy, I think that could stand in for a lot.
Her father and my father are not that different. My dad is also a blustery, rage-filled narcissist with issues with people of color and the LGBTQ community, and he’s only ever voted Democrat. “I recognize this as bluster, because my father is a blusterer. If you have a blusterer in your house, you must treat him as the weather, capable of gathering himself in a second and storming. If a blusterer does harm, it is as the weather does harm: by flattening and blowing down. This is more a feature of fathers, I have found. God too spoke out of the whirlwind.
Sometimes the bluster is even funny. Every so often, during his rages, my father would yell “HOMEY DON’T PLAY THAT” at the top of his lungs, to demonstrate how much he would not accept the bullcrap of whatever was going on. No one knew where he had picked it up. Did he stay up late and watch In Living Color after we were in bed? He pointed at us and shouted it, HOMEY DON’T PLAY THAT, like it was one of the commandments. Who was homey? Was he homey, or was it God? Did homey signify some sort of respect for the natural order, which we were disregarding through our action? Our Homey, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, you do not play that, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
This book is seriously funny. I laughed out loud several times and read several of the passages to a tolerant housemate.
In terms of what it achieves: it sheds emotionally light on heartland conservatism. This book involves abortion protests, Catholic dogma, cultural conservatism. It does so without being condescending toward it, smug, utterly dismissive, and without supporting it. Turns out the people who feel these beliefs are still actual people.