Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rabbit Town



Movie trailers certainly have changed, haven't they? Note the weirdly moralistic voice over. I include the trailer for the forgotten adaptation of Rabbit, Run as a curiosity to go along with this Sam Tanenhaus essay, which celebrates Rabbit (the Rabbit of Redux in particular) as a man poised to ride out the coming change.
John Updike visited The New York Times a week before Election Day in 2008. Whom, I asked him, would Rabbit Angstrom most likely vote for? “I’m so for Obama,” Updike replied, “that I can’t imagine creating a character who wouldn’t vote for him.” And yet in “Rabbit at Rest” — the last novel in the cycle, which concludes with the hero’s death — we discover he cast his final vote for George H. W. Bush. When I reminded Updike of this, he looked startled. But he was right about 2008. Obama carried Reading that year, and he did it again on Nov. 6. The finally tally, John Forester said, “was 17,248 for Obama, and 3,740 for Romney.” Why the lopsided outcome? Because the city’s population has indeed changed, though not in the way Rabbit foresaw. Nearly 60 percent of its population is now Hispanic. Rabbit, more open-minded than he first appears, would have made his peace, just as he did in 1969. “I love my country,” he avows, “and can’t stand to have it knocked,” even if it has become something he no longer recognizes.

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