In the latest New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Drew takes a long look at Virginia Senator, Vietnam vet, and rumored Obama running mate Jim Webb. It's a flattering profile, though I'm not sure if this bit will win over the Review's genteel readership:
Webb's fierce pride in his own people tells us a great deal about him. Though he grew up in different parts of the country, he identifies most closely with the people who live in the mountains and hollows of southwest Virginia, among whom he has countless relatives. His father came from there and he has a brother living there. Webb proudly describes his brother as "a real mountain man." The Scots-Irish, he wrote, produced the nation's warriors and its country music, and "the building blocks of America's working classes." Yet, he said, "no other group has been so denigrated, attacked, and even feared by America's ever more interconnected ruling elites."
Then there's this:
In his writings, as well as in his new book, Webb has argued that a combination of blacks and the Scots-Irish working class could form an electoral majority. He argues that they have similar grievances: lack of adequate education and health care, job training and job opportunities; and that both have been put upon or neglected by the elites. To him, the basic issue is more one of class than of race.
Webb's got a point here. I distinctly remember the rapper Ice T arguing sometime in the early 1990s that rap and country music were really very similar. Both were about hard living, good times, local pride, and so forth. The blues, of course, shares a number of common ancestors with country music.
So in the spirit of racial harmony and urban-hillbilly unity, I submit Brooklyn's country heroes Uncle Leon and the Alibis performing Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back."