January 04, 2011
Joe Bageant Has Cancer, Damn It

Susie Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla just posted this:

I just got an email informing me that my friend Joe [Bageant] has cancer, a massive inoperable tumor and will be starting chemo soon. (He dictated the email — he can’t write.)

He’s hoping that with chemo and painkillers, he’ll be able to write again sometime soon.

If you have any prayers, send them his way. (He didn’t say that, I did.)

I’m very, very sorry to hear this, and hope that the good, in this instance at least, will not die young.

I only knew Joe slightly — he and his wife put me up for a night when I was passing through Winchester once — but he left me with a story that will introduce you to the man. The sharp, bitter and funny essays he had been putting on line for a while were beginning to get some attention. One day (I’m telling this from memory, not notes, but I think I have the general outlines down) he got a call from a book editor in New York who asked if he would be interested in publishing his posts as a book.

He said no, he had chewed that mouthful already and if he was ever to write a book he’d want to do it from the ground up, and that would be too much work even to consider.

Well, she said, do you think you might consider it for a $300,000 advance? He found this argument persuasive and the eventual book was called Deerhunting for Jesus.

“There I was with real money in my pocket for once in my life,” Joe said. “Now what the hell was I supposed to do? I’d been talking the talk all my life, was I going to walk the walk?”

His answer was to buy a bunch of steel cargo containers and have them hauled to an empty lot in Belize, a country where he had lived happily for a while. He hired welders to cut doors and windows, fixed up the insides, and gave the new homes away.

Go to Joe’s site, read his essays, read his books, and feel free to alter your consciousness before, during or after you do so. Believe me, he won’t mind.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at January 04, 2011 06:03 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about Joe. One day I followed someone's link (it could have been from this site)and discovered his writings and I'm so glad I did.

It makes me sad that he became so disillusioned with our country, that he had to abandon it. It makes me sad because deep down I know he is right and America, the land of opportunity for all, was always just a daydream.

Posted by: Pat on January 5, 2011 3:50 AM

You can send cards and flowers to Joe at :

757A
WVU Hospital
1 Medical Center Dr.
Morgantown, WV 26506

Posted by: on January 5, 2011 8:41 AM

Might I suggest instead of flowers send a card and a donation to a charity for the poor - as Joe says "his people". I think Joe would appreciate that even more but from each according to his or her heart. Joe is a "con los pobres de la tierra" sort of guy.

Posted by: Buck on January 5, 2011 9:33 AM

I got the 'Note from Joe' in my email yesterday. I discovered Joe a few years ago and loved the first essay I read so much that I emailed him to thank him for his thoughts and his wonderful, powerful and sometimes hilarious prose. Much to my surprise, he wrote back and we've sent occasional notes back and forth ever since. My first thought was the same as Jerry's - DAMN!

Posted by: Noel on January 6, 2011 1:52 PM

This is worse than the repuglicans taking over the house.

Posted by: John Gall on January 7, 2011 12:25 PM
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