Take away a manâ€™s actual sense of manhood – which is conventionally based on the ability to work, to earn money, to be self-sufficient, to provide for children – and youâ€™ve got to give them something else. And they did.
This hideous religion thatâ€™s all over the country – these huge church-malls – thatâ€™s what substitutes for these lost towns. But thatâ€™s not a town. Thatâ€™s a cult. A town is diverse, in a real way, not in this fake way we have now. A community is a butcher and a doctor, a minister, a town troublemaker. A ‘community’ is not a bunch of people united by some grievance. Thatâ€™s just self-righteousness – incredibly dangerous and antidemocratic. People have become so rigid; their opinions seem to them like themselves. When that happens (and it has happened) people canâ€™t change their minds. If you are identified by your opinions – if that is the very basis of yourself – how can you change your mind?
Fran Lebowitz, Ruminator Magazine interview with Susannah McNeely (August/September 2005)