Barbara Ehrenreich: Antichrist of North Carolina

After Nickel and Dimed — an expose on working poor in
America — was adopted by the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill as a reading for incoming students, author Barbara
Ehrenreich expected some debate — but nothing like the controversy
she encountered. At the beginning of the school year a group of
students and right-wing state legislators held a press conference
damning the book as a ‘classic Marxist rant’ and ‘intellectual
pornography,’ Ehrenreich notes in The Progressive. But,
after reading the full-page ad in the Raleigh News and
Observer
, Ehrenreich realized that ‘this controversy was less
about the book than it was about me.’ The ad said she was a
Marxist, atheist, and enemy of the American family. For the next
few weeks she debated numerous times on conservative radio shows
throughout the state. She says the topics of Marxism vs. feminism
and Christian altruism vs. social pragmatism were able to distract
her for a while. Still, the real issue — ’60 percent of North
Carolina families with children do not earn enough to meet basic,
bare-bone, needs’ — was left untouched by the controversy.
Joel Stonington

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Antichrist of North Carolina

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