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Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions That Matter in Right-Wing America

by Linda Kintz

Buy the book: Linda Kintz. Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions That Matter in Right-Wing America

Release Date: September, 1997

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Linda Kintz. Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions That Matter in Right-Wing America

Rehash, rehash

I was raised right-wing fundamentalist.

Ms. Kintz has done nothing in this book except rehash 90% of what I already know. The analysis is so weak as to be nonexistant.

I can only assume she was not raised believing as I was and this is all new, hence the shock and horror at such basic tenants as "a family should a married couple and their children."

Unfortunately this shock clouds her ability to analyze anything.

For a much better piece on the same topic, I suggest Donna Minkowitz's _Ferocious Romance: What my encounters with the Right taught me about Sex, God and Fury_.

From Amazon.com

New Required Reading for Those Baffled by the Right

Linda Kintz is to be commended, first and foremost, for doing something that most on the academic left (I number myself among them) would recoil from in horrow: slogging through the written words in which the increasingly focussed agenda of America's new right-wing finds its expression and lays down its thoughts. In one volume, Kintz goes a long way, I think, toward advancing the possibility of mutual discussion between Right and Left. Those on the Left, she argues, need to quit dismissing and laughing at what appears to be irrationality, cheesiness, and seductive sermonics; to understand the resurgence of the Right, one must get to the heart of exactly how powerful emotions are--emotions which, Kintz argues, are neither wholly rational nor irrational--in its recent success.

Rather than predictably pin American religious and political conservatism on absolutist and narrow-minded interpretations of the (politically instrumentalized) Bible and thus of natural law, Kintz examines the dynamic interaction between such absolutism and the construction of gender roles in the American conservative family structure. This proves a very productive strategy, and enables her to offer astute readings of issues such as gun proliferation (which she links to a wounded masculine pride and budding national fear nascent in the post-Vietnam years) and the pro-life movement (which stems, she claims, from the very fixed role assigned to the power of reproduction in the religious right's imagining of the family).

While reading "Between Jesus and the Market," I almost wished that Kintz had gone to greater lengths to interpret her material rather than provide extensive rehearsals of it, rich with quotes. But then I had to remember that the ground Kintz is covering--publications by right-wing think tanks and pundits--is so new for most of her (presumably left-wing-academic) readers, that the play-by-play really is, ultimately, useful for drawing liberal skeptics into the conservative world she is attempting to read. The reader who has an immediate and unpleasant visceral reaction at the name "Rush Limbaugh" will have a much more informed reaction after encountering large chunks of his actual words in Kintz' fine book. Thus, the prolonged engagement with the texts serves a powerful purpose, and Kintz is right to have recognized this.

Implicit in this entire study is a sharp criticism of the Left. That there is little or no dialogue between conservatives and liberals in America is tragic, Kintz admits, but she quite rightly seems to insist that, if anything is to move forward, we on the acadmeic left must take it upon ourselves to emerge from the safety of our intellectual irony in an effort to understand the Right, and then to bridge the gap. As the only "liberal" in an immediate family that is almost entirely of the conservative bent that Kintz describes, I came away from this book with something even more valuable. Kintz has put the finger on exactly what my difficulty is in understanding where my parents come from--my parents, who, while among the most compassionate people I know, went door-to-door recently at the request of their church, helping to drum up votes in favor of an anti-gay initiative on the California ballots. "What kind of powerful rhetoric," Kintz asks, "can call itself love without recognizing that its effects are the same as if it called itself hatred?" (29) The sooner we can answer that question, the better off we'll all be.

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