Take away a man’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 you’ve got to give them something else. And they did.
This hideous religion that’s all over the country–these huge church-malls–that’s what substitutes for these lost towns. But that’s not a town. That’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. That’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 can’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)