The message is clear in my mind, but it may not be in yours. Marketing our books can sometimes be tougher than we ever expected. Here is one example....
Nobody seems to get it. No one seems to even care if they get it! The Last Horizon is about the root driving forces behind modern American culture. I wanted to finally write the book that had been inside my head for thirty years. The subject could so easily have been political or economic. That was even my first choice of the way to present the material. There were several reasons why Horizon came out as apparently schizophrenic as it did. The first was that I knew going into the project that I could never compete with the pundit celebrities such as Al Franken, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, or even Thomas Frank, whose What's the Matter with Kansas? has come very close to the book I originally wanted to write. The second reason that Horizon became what it did was to sell to a female audience. I had repeatedly read how women outnumber men as book buyers, and my two previous books had concerned male-oriented subjects. The third reason for Horizon's schizoid nature was that I wanted to entertain the readers as much as possible, and sex is usually far more entertaining than economic theory!
The theory of a modern American class system is my own. The phrase the class system is simply what I chose to call this thing I discovered back in the late Sixties. It could just as easily be called herd behavior. It is simply a theory that psychology does not exist without sociology. The Class System is broken down into easily digestible chapters in Horizon. It has been the DNA of the behavior of Americans since World War II. It is the key to how we got where we are today, sexually, economically, and politically.
Someone said long ago that race would be the issue that eventually brings down America. I agree with that wise comment, but I tend to expound upon it with a detailed history of our culture included. One of the first details noted in Horizon concerning The Class System is that it exists solely within the WASP population of the middle class. This is seemingly a stark contrast to the concept of race being the entity that brings down America. This is also one way in which Horizon displays its schizophrenia. Is it a book about dating and relationships, or is it a book about the economic and political structures of America? The result is that it has to be some of both. The more political, economic, and racial issues have been saved for a later book. The intent was to make Horizon as palatable and digestible as possible. Its 270 pages could easily have been a thousand, but I was working definitively to keep its depth and detail under control. Like the DNA evidence in a murder investigation, a person needs to carefully examine and interpret the details of the discovered evidence before it should be integrated into the whole of a murder case. Our sexual mores and how they have created and controlled The Class System are only the first pieces of the puzzle. After we have adequately assimilated these new concepts, we can move on to the next plateau of understanding. The discovery and understanding of the DNA is only the first step.
Some of America's celebrity talking heads are beginning to get it, and they are doing a fine job of waking Americans up. We have seen the enemy and he is us! An interview with Paul Krugman that I read just this morning (August 6, 2004) stated how much he has personally become more aware of the liaison between the corporate powers and the religious right. Well, duh! This is exactly the sort of thing a person could come to understand better after reading Horizon. The difference is that Horizon only scrapes the surface of this phenomenon, while providing the crucial DNA that is necessary for the reader to really develop a deep understanding of the insanity that has gripped America. Thomas Frank has done a fine job of describing the connection between the blue collar middle class being forced down economically into the lower class and the same people continually voting for Republicans that lead the effort to push their constituents downward. Duh again! How do they get away with this apparent insanity? By utilizing The Class System, that's how! They may not call it by the name I gave it, but they sure as hell are utilizing the same psychological principles to do this bit of dirty work. What does the next book need to address? How race will bring down America. It does not matter if the book is authored by Paul Krugman, Thomas Frank, or Floyd M. Orr. What does matter is that someone must take the next step. This is a story that absolutely must be told. What is the factor that the good guys, the left wing, have seen to it that no one can discuss intelligently? Race. What is the unspoken element driving the voters in Kansas? Race. They are voting with the white folks. Is this all they are doing? No. They are voting the way The Class System has directed them. They are acting illogically. They are following ancient passions inspired by the herd instinct. It's in their DNA.