Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right
January 5, 2012
40 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
$5.00 - On Sale Now
Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome bestselling author and columnist THOMAS FRANK for a discussion of his latest political polemic, Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right.
Economic catastrophe usually brings social protest and demands for change—or at least it's supposed to. But when Thomas Frank set out in 2009 to look for expressions of American discontent, all he could find were loud demands that the economic system be made even harsher on the recession's victims and that society's traditional winners receive even grander prizes. The American Right, which had seemed moribund after the election of 2008, was strangely reinvigorated by the arrival of hard times. The Tea Party movement demanded not that we question the failed system but that we reaffirm our commitment to it. Republicans in Congress embarked on a bold strategy of total opposition to the liberal state. And TV phenom Glenn Beck demonstrated the commercial potential of heroic paranoia and the purest libertarian economics.
In Pity the Billionaire, Frank, the great chronicler of American paradox, examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results. Using firsthand reporting, a deep knowledge of the American Right, and a wicked sense of humor, he gives us the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous. The understanding Frank reaches is at once startling, original, and profound.
"No one fools Thomas Frank, who is the sharpest, funniest, most intellectually voracious political commentator on the scene. In Pity the Billionaire he has written a brilliant expose of the most breath-taking ruse in American political history: how the right turned the biggest capitalist breakdown since 1929 into an opportunity for themselves." —Barbara Ehrenreich
Online ticket sales have now ended, but tickets can still be purchased at Harvard Book Store and by phone at 617-661-1515 until 4pm the day of the event.
Remaining tickets will be on sale at the door of the Brattle when we open doors at about 5:30.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes
As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand Crimson Corner on the right side of the street and Curious George book shop on the left side of the street. Keeping the newsstand to your right, proceed along Brattle St. (you will pass the restaurant Tory Row). Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe, Casablanca Restaurant, and Harvard Square Optical, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.
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