protecting ourselves — not in the longnrun, but right now? This is the dilemmanBernhard Goetz faced; this is whynhe is neither a vile figure nor a heroicnone, but rather a tragic one.nA final thought. It’s no accident thatna psychotherapist who fully partakes ofnthe dominant political culture of thenBay Area should write a book in whichnBernhard Goetz receives no sympathy,nwhile the four thugs who accosted himnare made into martyrs. Nor is it annaccident that a radical lawyer like WilliamnKunstler is involved in a plan tonsue Goetz for millions of dollars overnhis alleged violation of the “civilnrights” of the thugs. Nor, finally, is itnat all surprising to find left-wing sociologynprofessors describing BernhardnGoetz as merely another example ofnwhite middle-class oppression of underprivilegednminorities.nThat is, Lillian Rubin’s book is bestnunderstood as part of a particular culturalncontext of the left. It is a culturenof instinctive “sympathy for the devil,”na feeling that criminals in this societynare as much victims as victimizers, asnmuch sinned against as sinners — ifnnot more so. It’s this sort of thinkingnthat led Norman Mailer to championnthe murderer Jack Henry Abbott as angreat, persecuted American writer andnhero—whereupon Abbott was let outnof jail and promptly killed again. It’snthis sort of thinking that (in anothernfamous case) led left-wing Catholics atnYale to pour sympathy on RichardnHerren after he hammered his girlfriendnBonnie Garland to death whennshe jilted him: Herren, after all, wasnHispanic, and thus automatically onenof the oppressed of the earth; BonnienGarland was Anglo, and rich (in short:na bitch). And it’s this sort of thinkingnthat led a lawyer for a “prisoners’ rightsngroup” in California to complain angrilynabout how popular demonstrationsnagainst Lawrence Singleton, followingnhis early release from prison,nhad “completely disrupted Mr. Singleton’snlife”; the lawyer failed to mentionnSingleton’s crime — which was thenraping of a 15-year-old girl and thenFalling Off the Turnip Truck tyj.o. Taten”And somewhere, waiting for its birth,/nThe shaft is in the stone.”n— Henry TimrodnRural Worlds Lost: The AmericannSouth 1920-1960 by Jack TemplenKirby, Baton Rouge: LouisiananState University Press.nSouthern Folk, Plain & Fancy:nNative White Social Types by JohnnShelton Reed, Athens, GA:nUniversity of Georgia Press; $13.95.nMedia-Made Dixie: The South innthe American Imagination (revisednedition) by Jack Temple Kirby,nAthens: University of GeorgianPress; $12.95.nSearching for the “Southern quality”nonce identified by MarshallnMcLuhan can be an absorbing andnJ.O. Tate is professor ofEngUsh atnDowling College.nrewarding quest. After all, the South isna vast and varied region, one that has,nas things go in this country, a lot ofnhistory and a brace of interlockingncultures. But even though the South isnthere, you still have to search for it: sonmany interstate highways. ChickennLickin’s, Honda factories. WestnGerman pharmaceutical plants, andntransplanted Yankees get in the way.nWhen you finally do run into annauthentic item or personification ofnSouthern culture, you would know itnin the dark. Some months ago I wasnsitting with some company in the reconstitutednbasement of an antebellumnmansion (complete with its originalnboxwoods and crepe myrtles, with answord hanging in the hall upstairs),nlistening to a 90-year-old lady explainnjust exactly why Flannery O’Connornwas a spoiled child, a malevolent person,na literary fraud, and a purveyor ofnnncutting off of her arms. What, then, isnmore natural than for Lillian Rubin tonend her book with a bitter analysis notnof her four thugs but of Americannsociety, its inequities and racism?nThe left, of course, is perfectly entitlednto engage in its bitter and subtlen”analyses” of crime in America. Butnmost Americans don’t think aboutncrime in this way: They’re too busynworrying about how to defend themselvesnfrom criminals. So the reality isnthat the left’s “analyses” of crimencome at a high political cost. By essentiallynexcusing criminal behavior, ornattempting to “understand” it, or bynusing it as a vehicle for condemningnsociety rather than the criminal, thenleft essentially places itself outsidenAmerican society—and adopts a hostilenstance towards it. And from such anposition of hostility, the left ought tonhave a very hard time gaining credibilitynwith the American people for any ofnits ideas (including its ideas aboutncrime). To which one can only respond:nThank God.nugliness. The lady spoke from personalnfamiliarity and was proud she hadnslammed Wise Blood shut on page 5nback in 1952. She had no intention ofnever opening it again!nThe worse, the better. Feeling a bitnlike Quentin Compson listening tonMiss Rosa, I was glad there werenwitnesses to confirm the occasion. Butnof course there are other ways ofnexploring or identifying Southern culture,nand I don’t necessarily meannreading Lewis Grizzard or getting onnthe outside of real biscuits and seriousnham or viewing Ernest Goes to Campnor consulting Ernest MatthewnMicMer’s White Trash Cooking. But Indo mean reading some recent seriousnstudies of the South, such as JacknTemple Kirby’s Rural Worlds Lost:nThe American South 1920-1960.nProfessor Kirby relates a story thatnevery Southerner who didn’t (or evenndid) fall off a turnip truck knows somethingnabout. His big book is a study ofnmodernization, rural industrialization,ndisplacement and migration, in short,nof a transmogrification of a culture:nMARCH 1988 / 31n