White Trash Chic

Carolyn Chute, the prolific novelist who writes about the working poor of the rural Northeast, lives in a Maine village with her illiterate handyman husband and several Scottish terriers. She also owns a cannon.

To describe this artist as 'eccentric' doesn't do her justice. That description is more fitting for the likes of a shallow clothes horse like Lady Gaga. (Although C.C. is making quite the fashion statement in this photo.)

Chute is a one-woman campaign against "The System." Her amenities-free homestead features, not a bathroom, but an outhouse. She's the founder of the 2nd Maine Militia, a non-partisan organization of working-class New Englanders who love guns but are suspicious of the Wall Street Journal and Wal-Mart. She also prefers the "grave silence" of woodsmen to yuppies who yap.

Indeed, the plain-spoken Chute is known for her off-the-grid wit and wisdom. Despite her literary successes, she remains unpretentious.

As she told the New York Times, “We’re poor, and we lead a very different kind of life. We depend on other people so much. They come and bring us vegetables or whatever, and sometimes they tell us their secrets."

As opposed to that fake 'man of the people' shtick that John Edwards attempted during his presidential campaign, Chute's populism is authentic.

Here's a link to her first gritty book The Beans of Egypt, Maine, which is about a hardscrabble family living in a depressed community. It was also made into a movie. (Beware: Kid-unfriendly content.)

Update: Here's my column on Chute.

No comments: