Book Review: “You Talkin’ To Me?” E.J. White


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw

    What people think of as a “Noo York” accent is largely an outerborough accent from generations past. Bernie Sanders has lived in Vermont for nearly 50 years, maybe more than 50 years) and he still sounds like he never left Brooklyn.

    Interestingly, I have had people debate whether I have a New York accent or not. People have said LeeEsq has more of one. When I lived in Japan, fellow ex-pats either said something like “You sound just like out of Seinfeld” or “I can tell you are from New York but I can’t tell where in New York you are from.” When Lee and I were in Sweden nine years ago, a guy on a train started cracking up and said we sound just like “we are from a Hollywood movie.”

    The thing about Donald Trump is that he reeks of outerborugh resentment at the Manhattan swells. He grew up wealthy, he always wanted to be part of the Manhattan elite, but he never understood why the Manhattan elite cared about the arts and culture and philanthropic giving. All of that was alien to him and he could never emulate it. Places like Lincoln Center and MOMA and the Met probably bore him to tears.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay

    Wow, this sounds like just the sort of thing MrsJay would love. (I would probably devour it as well!). Too bad we just celebrated her birthday. Hmm, but maybe for Christmas?Report

  3. Avatar gabriel conroy

    I haven’t read the book, but I suspect (from your description) that White is overplaying the supposedly “WASP” aversion to Jewish, Irish, and Italian persons and underplaying the very real economic and cultural power the Midwest exerted since, say, the Civil War at least through the beginnings of deindustrialization and rustbeltification. (Of course, a significant portion of the Midwest and even non-Midwest also underplays the Midwest’s cultural and economic influence. I’ve been known to do so, at least with respect to culture, from time to time.)

    For this:

    doesn’t comment on Donald Trump, or how a party that railed for decades against “New York values” chose a quintessential New York huckster for its avatar.

    There’s also a converse (obverse? opposite? counter?….I get the words confused) observation: how a group that denigrates people in the Midwest sees one of their chief enemies in someone from Jamaica Queens. Maybe, just maybe, there’s bigotry all over and goodness all over and people like me don’t need to make stereotypes of other people. And maybe, just maybe others shouldn’t do it either.Report

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