힐빌리의 노래 (Hillbilly Elegy)

힐빌리, 레드넥, 화이트 트래시, 교육 수준이 떨어지는 미국 중하층 노동자 계층을 부르는 말로 미국내에서도 대중 매체등을 통해 자주 극단적, 폭력적 대가족위주의 생활을 하는 모습으로 자주 그려진다 .  예전에 본 영화 서바이벌 게임, hills have eyes 등 에서 나오는 살인자 들의 이미지가 그것이다.

어떻게 보면 그런 사람들의 변론서? 에 가까운 책이라고 할까. 힐빌리 가정에서 태어난 저자가 어떻게 그가 처한 그 환경을 딛고 일어났는지에 대한 자서전이다.  내가 읽으면서 느낀 해당 지역이 지닌 가장 큰 문제점은, 첫째, 힐빌리 본인들 스스로 문제를 외부로 돌리는 경향이 있으며, 둘째 괜찮은 직장이 많이 사라졌다는 점이다.  어째서 트럼프가 당선될 수 있었으며 자국내의 자동차, 철강 일자리를 중시하는지 이해하게 된 것 같다.

hillbillies shared many regional characteristics with the southern blacks arriving in Detroit

논점이 흐려지기 때문일수도 있지만 이 책에서도 타 인종이 겪는 어려움에 대한 이야기는 언급되지 않았다.
So why was California so different? The answer, I’d learn, was the same hillbilly highway that brought Mamaw and Papaw from eastern Kentucky to southwest Ohio.

Napa was like a different country. In California, every day included a new adventure with my teenage cousins and their friends

South and the industrial Midwest, my travels had been confined largely to places where the people looked and acted like my family.

많은 사람들이 미국 하면 떠올리는 캘리포니아는 미국사람들 에게조차 문화적 충격으로 다가오는 장소였음이 분명하다.

In the middle of the Bible Belt, active church attendance is actually quite low

사실 바이블 벨트에 사는 사람들의 교회 출석율은 그렇게 높지 않다는 새로운 사실..
 No one I know in San Francisco would feel ashamed to admit that they don’t go to church.
  그러면서도 교회에 가지 않는 것을 죄처럼 여기는 분위기는 분명히 존재하는 것 같다.

I devoured books about young-earth creationism, and joined online chat rooms to challenge scientists on the theory of evolution

admired my uncle Dan above all other men, but when he spoke of his Catholic acceptance of evolutionary theory, my admiration became tinged with suspicion.

I didn’t wear clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch or American Eagle unless I’d received them for Christmas.

실제 한국 청소년들보다도 구매력이 떨어진다고 보여진다. 하지만 글쓴이는 자기 능력으로 계급의 사다리를 오르는데 성공하였다. 그가 올라단 사다리의 높이는 오히려 한국보다 훨씬 커보인다.

Mamaw—uninterrupted and alone—saved me. I didn’t notice the causality of the change, how living with her turned my life around. I didn’t notice that my grades began to improve immediately after I moved in. And I couldn’t have known that I was making lifelong friends.

 실제 글쓴이가 이렇게 성공할 수 있었던 이유는 그의 할머니와 정부의 시스템 덕분이라고 보여진다.

I came home and asked Mamaw why only poor people bought baby formula. “Don’t rich people have babies, too?” Mamaw had no answers, and it would be many years before I learned that rich folks are considerably more likely to breast-feed their children.

 Despite our efforts to draw bright lines between the working and nonworking poor, Mamaw and I recognized that we shared a lot in common with those whom we thought gave our people a bad name.
실제 내가 느낀 미국분위기는 빈민가 사람들은 서로에게 해를 끼치고 싫어한다는 것이다. 오히려 부자들에게는 어떠한 동경을 가지고 있는 것처럼 보였다.
When the factories shut their doors, the people left behind were trapped in towns and cities that could no longer support such large populations with high-quality work.

Those who could—generally the well educated, wealthy, or well connected—left, leaving behind communities of poor people. These remaining folks were the “truly disadvantaged”—unable to find good jobs on their own and surrounded by communities that offered little in the

Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach.

 트럼프가 미국 전체에 해가 되는 것을 알면서도 왜그렇게 자동차와 철강산업 등 블루컬러 노동자들의 일자리를 위해 노력하는지 알 것 같다. 좋은 일자리가 없는 지역은 정말 늪과 같이 그곳에 사는 사람들의 삶을 망치고 만다.

Our eating and exercise habits seem designed to send us to an early grave, and it’s working:

 We rarely cook, even though it’s cheaper and better for the body and soul.
집밥이라는 존재는 얼마나 고마운 것인가. 영양적으로나 영혼적인 측면에서나,

When I came home from boot camp with my fifteen-hundred-dollar earnings deposited in a mediocre regional bank, a senior enlisted marine drove me to Navy Federal—a respected credit union—and had me open an account. When I caught strep throat and tried to tough it out, my commanding officer noticed and ordered me to the doctor.

I had no idea that people did these things. Compare banks? I thought they were all the same. Shop around for a loan? I felt so lucky to even get a loan that I was ready to pull the trigger immediately.

As a culture, we had no heroes. Certainly not any politician—Barack Obama was then the most admired man in America (and likely still is), but even when the country

To understand the significance of this cultural detachment, you must appreciate that much of my family’s, my neighborhood’s, and my community’s identity derives from our love of country.

 실제 미국에 대한 이런 충성심이 지구에 사는 전체 사람들에게도 선인지는 의문이다.

I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life.

실제 본인들이 처한 빈곤의 많은 원인이 내재해 있다는 사실을 이렇게 깨닫게 되면 굉장히 뼈아플 것 같다.

The New York Times recently reported that the most expensive schools are paradoxically cheaper for low-income students.

 미국의 교육제도는 엘리트 양성에 굉장히 최적화 되있다고 생각한다. 미국내에서 뛰어난 사람들은 그들이 가진 재산에 상관없이 굉장히 효율적으로 교육을 시키는 방면 세계 각국에서도 부와 재능을 가진 사람을 끌어들인다.

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