Thompson is trying to update Wilbur Joseph Cash’s classic 1941 work The Mind of the South. One can’t understand the South without dealing with the two Rs, race and religion, and Thompson covers those quite astutely, along with family life, farming, rural culture, and politics.
When I first became a veterinarian, image mattered a lot. I was young and female in a profession that valued experience and was overwhelmingly male. I quickly learned to use everything I could to look like “the doctor” was supposed to look: business professional clothing, white coat, stethoscope, name tag labeled “Doctor Janisch.”
The food movement has called attention to the abuse of animals that are raised and killed on factory farms. But even farmers who raise animals in humane ways, in small-scale operations, intend for the animals to be slaughtered. Bob Comis, a professional pig farmer, asks how can he ethically raise pigs knowing that his ultimate aim is to kill and market them for consumption. “As a pig farmer, I lead an unethical life,” Comis confesses. “I am a slaveholder and a murderer” (American Scholar, Spring).