How did hemp go from being a popular industrial material to a banned substance in 1937? Author Joe Bageant describes how the non-psychoactive plant was once used in everything from paper to automobiles, until a targeted PR campaign forever tied hemp’s image to it’s cousin, marijuana.
Joe Bageant is a renowned commentator on the politics of class in the US. His previous novel, Deer Hunting with Jesus, has been been turned into a play and an upcoming tv series. His regular online columns have made him a cult hero among political progressives and gonzo-journalism junkies. Bageant’s latest book Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir is a coming-of-age story set in post-World War II America in the small white tribes of West Virginia, where a massive social and economic shift from agrarian to urbanization has meant the heavy loss of meaningful work and community. Representing the ‘hillbilly’ class as a minority, Bageant laments ‘the piece of the rainbow pie’ promised to the working class of his forefathers, which never materialized. He praises the ‘white trash’ trucker heroes, who stood up to the corporate oppressors by unionizing, helping to form a middle class, and finally affording an education for their children.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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