Dignity: A Conversation with Chris Arnade

The Athenaeum Review art

Our guest today is Chris Arnade, the author of Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America. He is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Guardian, Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal among many others.

In this podcast:

What does “dignity” mean, and how do you recognize it when you see it? (1:30) — How the bureaucracy of “helping institutions” can have a bad effect on the people they are trying to serve (6:30) — What would be a better way for us to think about social issues in America? (11:30) — Growing up in small-town Florida, and views of the class structure in America (13:30) — What public policies do you think would help people who are struggling? (16:30) — Has writing this book changed your views on the role of religion? (20:30) — What America can learn from the virtues of El Paso and East L.A. (25:00) — Race, racism and the working class (30:00) — How do you approach the craft of photography? (33:30) — Techniques of storytelling: the influence of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 and the feminicides in Ciudad Juárez (37:30) — Alternatives to mainstream journalism: the interviews of Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich (44:00) — What are the ethics of interviewing people who are struggling? (46:00) — Has moving out of New York City affected your perspective? (48:30) — Observing American politics: Glenn Greenwald and The American Compass (51:30) –Fort Dodge, COVID at meatpacking plants , and truck stops in Missouri (55:15)