Getting Down and Dumb at Burt's Tavern
"Too much public education only gets working people riled up and full of backsass."
-- Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd
By Joe Bageant
My home town is one of those slowly rotting East Coast burgs that makes passers-through think to themselves: "What the hell is this? Mayberry USA on crack?" The town's 250-year old core is a blighted clot of ramshackle houses carved into apartments and cheesy businesses. Its outer rim of slurb is the typical ugly gash of commercial hell, an assortment of mindlessly jammed-together tire dealers, grim asphalt, slurp and burps, and car dealerships of the type that make the U.S. one of the ugliest nations on earth. A sign in the median strip of this gash proclaims Winchester an official U.S. "All-American Town."