42 / CHRONICLESnhigh-tech, high-wage industry advancednthinkers get excited about. It’snthe kind of industry that finds lowwage,npoorly educated, gratefiil-for-a-n)ob, displaced cotton pickers attractivenworkers. It’s also often the kind ofnindustry so economically marginalnthat it needs tax breaks and subsidies ofnvarious sorts. It doesn’t do much fornour average industrial wage, or ournimage. Some say that we’re basicallyncompeting with the Koreans, on equalnterms, and that’s uncomfortably closento the truth. But it beats picking cotton,nand Mr. Rust’s machine does thatnthese days, anyhow.nAs Hamilton Horton has pointednout (in his contribuhon to a symposiumncalled Why the South Will Survive),nthough, because industry hasncome to us late, it offers some interesting,ndesirable features to offset its obviousnshortcomings. Most of all, itndoesn’t uproot its workers. These factoriesndon’t have to be located in cities,nnear harbors or railheads; they formninstead a sort of archipelago along thenInterstate highway system. Their workersndon’t have to move to within streetcarndistance either (recall those Toronadosnand Firebirds in the parking lot);nthey can stay in rural communitiesnwhere they were raised, and they do.nJust down the road from my cottonnfield and bearing factory were twonBaptist churches, almost within sightnof one another. I presume that one wasnblack and one white, but I couldn’tnhave said which was which: Both werenmodest brick buildings of recent vintage;nboth stood on carefully maintainedngrounds; both had large gravelnparking lots. Both were obviously verynmuch in business.nWho goes to those churches? Well,nnot cotton pickers. There aren’t anynleft in that county, as far as I couldnsee. Some farmers, to be sure, andnperhaps a few agricultural wagelaborers.n(The machine operator I sawncould have been either.) But mostnmembers of their congregations wouldnprobably fall in the category the censusnbureau calls “rural, nonfarm” — anquarter or more of the South’s population,nand a higher proportion herenthan elsewhere. These are folks whonlive in the countryside, generally ownnsome land there, but work at bluecollarnjobs in rural factories or commutento such jobs in the South’s townsnand small cities.nThese are the children of yesterday’sncotton pickers. A few years ago, whennHowell Raines went to Alabama fornthe New York Times Magazine andntracked down some of the tenant childrennAgee wrote about, that’s what henfound: men and women living in mobilenhomes not far from where theyngrew up, working at jobs like welder,nmeat-packer, nursing-home attendant.nI know a couple who live about annhour from here, in an unfashionablendirection. They’re 10 miles from thennearest small town and close to 50nfrom the nearest cities. Both grew upnon farms, but she’s now a receptionist,nand he’s working as a mechanic whilentrying to get a job as a rural mailcarrier.nEach commutes an hour tonwork (in opposite directions) — annhour there and an hour back. They’rencertainly not rich, or even well-off; Inpresume they’re in debt up to theirneyebrows. But they have a comfortablennew double-wide on six acres with angarden, deer, and wild turkey. He’s gotna boat that I covet, two cars, and anfour-wheel-drive truck. (A country boyncan survive.)nThey have relatives nearby and willnsoon have one even nearer: A son whonjust got out of the army is probablyngoing to put his mobile home on theirnproperty. They seem to feel this arrangementnbeats apartment living, andnI agree with them. They also believentheir lives are better than they wouldnhave been 50 years ago; they work verynhard, but I don’t know anybody lessnnostalgic.nThis new pattern of industrialization—none really made possiblenonly by the automobile and decentnroads — does have cultural consequences.nIn particular, it avoids thensort of “proletarianization” supposednto result from yanking people out ofnthe villages and countryside and jammingnthem together in an urban workingnclass. It allows for the possibility ofnblue-collar workers as individualisticnand conservative as the farmers andnpeasants Marx had in mind when hengroused about “the idiocy of ruralnlife.” Certainly, in much of the Southnit has produced factory and servicenworkers who support their churches,nclean their graveyards, tend their gardens,nhunt and fish, and generallynmanifest that vibrant folk culture wennnwere talking about.nOf course, it wouldn’t do to romanticizenthis new pattern, any more thannthe old one. The South’s rural, nonfarmnpopulation is more amiable andncontributes more to social stabilitynthan an urban mob. But we’re notntalking here about a happy industrialnpeasantry, miraculously preservednfrom the acids of modernity. To judgenfrom the number of satellite dishes, angood many spend a lot of time watchingntelevision. We can hope they’renwatching Pat Robertson. But it’s probablynthe Playboy Channel.nJohn Shelton Reed lives in ChapelnHill, North Carolina, which has recentlynmetastasized.nLetter From Albionnby Andrei NavrozovnWill It Play in Peoria?nChronicles readers may remember thatnin my last letter I described the “RussiannStyle” exhibition in London as anSoviet propaganda ballon d’essai,nflown to test Western media responsento the new nationalism emanatingnfrom Moscow. It is by no means coincidentalnthat such a test should benmade here rather than in the UnitednStates: The more diverse and at thensame time less localized British pressnoffers Soviet propagandists a quicker,nmore complete picture of their successesnand failures. In other words, thentheater of Soviet propaganda uses Londonnas a New Haven of old, openingnshows here and taking them to NewnYork once all the kinks in the productionnhave been taken out. More preparationsnare now under way, and whatnfollows is a kind of preview.nThe richly illustrated catalogs ofnMezhdunarodnaya Kniga (InternationalnBook) have just announced thenpublication of several timely tides. Letnus ponder why, at this particular momentnin history. Progress Publishersnshould bring out Christian Ecumenism,na treatise of some 300 pagesnproving that “theologians see the waynout of the crisis of religion in unifyingnall Christians”—unless, of course, itsneditors suspect that “all Christians” arenready to be unified under Soviet rule.n