Paul Reyes’s highly personal take on the residential real estate crash in Florida.
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MANY OF REYES’S trashing-out portraits in Exiles appeared in long articles he wrote for Harper’s and the New York Times. The matter probably should have ended there. There’s some good reporting in the profiles. But the rest of Reyes’s book is vaguely leftist skylarking or material that has appeared elsewhere, such as Reyes’s history of Florida real estate booms and busts, some orchestrated by hustlers Barnum would have loved. This material, while mostly accurate and sometimes entertaining, is well known.
The most problematic part of Exiles is the 50-page diversion detailing the peccadilloes of Miami activist Max Rameau, whose game is getting homeless people to move illegally into foreclosed homes on the theory that everyone has a right to housing, then getting maximum publicity from the stunt. Rameau is radical enough and skilled enough at attracting television cameras that Michael Moore’s outfit showed up for the fun. Reyes never endorses Rameau’s approach. But the sheer heft of his treatment, a fifth of the book, implies sympathy. As does his language, when he refers to a home Rameau’s group has taken over as having been “liberated.”
Reyes declares his politics overtly in a homey scene from election night ‘08 when he and his dad, an engineer, entrepreneur, and thoroughly practical man, watch the presidential returns together. Dad is appalled by Obama, calling him “Jimmy Carter number two.” Young Reyes gloats his approval of the voters’ choice. “It’s beautiful,” he croons.
“Just wait,” says Senior. “You were a little baby when I was paying eighteen percent and gas lines were two blocks long. Just wait.”
Reyes’s portraits are well crafted and affecting. But some readers may wish to wait until Reyes senior writes a book.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online