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Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy 
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 Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy
Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy

Please use this thread to discuss Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy.



Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:45 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy
I see now where I got the thought that Vance would be a "Mitch Daniels" Republican. He says in Chapter 13 that Daniels is his hero. As I've said, this is my second reading of the book. My mind had contrived to forget the information about Mitch Daniels, so I was free to think the idea was mine. Interesting.

I thought that in the part on his law school experience and applying for jobs, he was no longer really in the territory of adjusting to the handicap of his background. That is a world that almost anyone must adjust to and learn the ropes of; I doubt that it's second nature even to the privileged. His realization that succeeding is largely about leveraging social capital is something that many non-hillbillies don't catch on to. He is correct about social capital being crucial without a doubt, though. What the graduates of the elite universities gain above all is entree to highly placed and influential people. Of course, it still takes skill and drive to work this system. Maybe at once time long ago going to the right school meant that you'd be taken care of financially and professionally, but I doubt that's the case now.

Not a word in the book about J.D. marrying a woman with Indian parents. He clearly didn't think her heritage was relevant, and presumably his family had no adverse reaction. I watched a clip of the two talking to Megyn Kelly. They seemed very happy together. Usha was pregnant at the time and about to start a Supreme Court clerkship. Soon things will really get crazy for them.

Before getting to this happy stage of relationship, Vance had to shed some of the emotional defenses his family life had caused him to adopt, almost bottoming out with Usha. He talks about the unpromising futures of people who early on experience too many ACE's (adverse childhood experiences). That all makes sense to me. One of these ACEs is having parents who were divorced or separated. I think there is also research indicating that divorce might help prevent some bad things happening to kids, if the parents try to hold on only for appearance's sake.

The section that affected me most deeply was Vance hearing of his mother's heroin addiction and having to set her up in an apartment after her most recent boyfriend kicked her out. Being a graduate of Yale Law while having to parent his mother and save her from herself would have been wrenching indeed.



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Harry Marks
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:08 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy
I'm especially happy that Vance came to the Lord, and married Usha. She took a big risk marrying him. It's crazy how those of us that came from dysfunctional families spend most of our adult life undoing damage from our childhood. It's amazing how just the right type of people show up at the perfect time to help us untie the knots. He's changing from the inside-out and it's beautiful to see. This was an excellent book and I'll keep up with JD Vance in the future.



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Harry Marks
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy
DWill wrote:
I thought that in the part on his law school experience and applying for jobs, he was no longer really in the territory of adjusting to the handicap of his background. That is a world that almost anyone must adjust to and learn the ropes of; I doubt that it's second nature even to the privileged. His realization that succeeding is largely about leveraging social capital is something that many non-hillbillies don't catch on to.
Well, there's succeeding and succeeding. I got into one of the top 10 departments of economics on sheer academic ability. But better social capital would have helped me navigate the shoals of grad school and have a better academic career afterward. I think the "escalator" of social mobility that is meritocracy will take a person out of troubled culture, but won't help them work out how to manage the issues of other people's emotions and personality, while social capital can really help a lot with that.
DWill wrote:
What the graduates of the elite universities gain above all is entree to highly placed and influential people. Of course, it still takes skill and drive to work this system.
I think for people who want to figure in the establishment, those contacts are a crucial advantage. But as you say, it still takes moxie. If we just want to know what allows people from miserable backgrounds to attain to normalcy, I think we have to look to other pathways. Catching a good job can be work with the local power company, or finding a company where one's strengths matter a lot. But it certainly does seem that the same persistence and self-control that gets a person through college will be important in most of the ordinary jobs that poor people wish they had.

DWill wrote:
Not a word in the book about J.D. marrying a woman with Indian parents. He clearly didn't think her heritage was relevant, and presumably his family had no adverse reaction.
Interesting. I certainly had no clue. I think the name sounded vaguely Scandinavian to me. The drive that Indian parents pass on to their children is legendary. You rarely meet a slacker from Indian heritage here in Central Europe. I was very impressed with the way she mentored him, and it's a bit humorous that her immigrant heritage still left her with better understanding of upper class American ways than he had.

DWill wrote:
Before getting to this happy stage of relationship, Vance had to shed some of the emotional defenses his family life had caused him to adopt, almost bottoming out with Usha. He talks about the unpromising futures of people who early on experience too many ACE's (adverse childhood experiences).
I wish all parents had the insight that Vance has on the other side of working through the effects of his turbulent and emotionally burdened childhood. It's probably okay to lose it now and then, but if it's in the context of a determination to manage one's troubles without damaging the kids, there's a lot that parents can do, before, during and after their moments of desperation. But of course if you are having the kind of life that goes from one train wreck to another, you probably aren't too swift at protecting your kids from that.



Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:05 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 13 through 15 of Hillbilly Elegy
Jan_wow wrote:
It's crazy how those of us that came from dysfunctional families spend most of our adult life undoing damage from our childhood.
I was kind of astonished, reading Maggie Scarf's "Intimate Worlds" back in the 90s, at how the bulk of families are not really very good at being families. Going by her informal info from academics and therapists administering of the Beavers Scale, fewer than 40 percent of families (and probably more like 25 percent) are doing no lasting damage to their kids.

It gives a person pause. And it suggests that most people have some issues from family of origin, and should probably be getting some help for it. And of course, I am all for them finding the Lord.



Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:12 pm
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