Ron Howard’s Netflix adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy continues a long tradition of seeing hillbillies as a symbol of pristine American whiteness. It’s the same nostalgia Trump has mobilized on the far right.
Ever since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, newspapers and magazines have been obsessed with constructing a mythology of a “forgotten” white working class. Hillbilly Elegy just reinforces the stereotypes it insists it’s illuminating.
Netflix announced the forthcoming movie adaptation of JD Vance’s reactionary, victim-blaming book Hillbilly Elegy yesterday. But why would anyone seek answers about life in Appalachia from a right-wing former venture capitalist?