Jim Hightower is the author of There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. Hightower seeks to advance the populist, or progressive, movement with this book. Hightower is a disgruntled Democrat -- he told Gwen Ifill in an interview that "as a Democrat, I've been terribly disappointed. (PBS). There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos was published in 1997 and although it is filled with slightly amusing anecdotes, Hightower appears to me nothing more that any of the other political talking heads he claims to be working against. Hightower's credentials are Former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author. (Jim Hightower) These credentials do not qualify him to be an expert in the field of politics, merely an outspoken Democrat.
In the first chapter of this book, Hightower claims that the "symbol of today's America is no longer Old Glory, but the corporate Logo" (Hightower 5). He claims that nothing is scared from marketing and corporate America is gobbling away at America. He says that kids alone spend $15 billion a year of their own allowance money on such things as sneakers, perfume, and clothing. Parents add to the pile of money spent, according to Hightower, $120 billion. (5) This is interesting information; however, it sets a trend very early in the book, which is that Hightower rarely offers proof for his claims. Hightower accuses all politicians for being too "corporatized" as well. (8) He claims that since corporations own them, they should be branded. This is an example of another type of trend Hightower sets early in the book, which is attempting to solve these very serious problems with less-than-funny humor. In this first chapter, Hightower clearly expresses beliefs that capitalism is wrong. He blames this on Britain when he says, "Like powdered wigs and boiled beef, the corporation is a British invention, essentially created by the Crown . . . To amass the capitol needed to exploit the wealth of its American and Canadian colonies" (30). According to Hightower, the corporation "invites mischief." He insinuates that it is a sin to make money. He seems to forget the spirit of capitalism that this country was founded on. Capitalism is not a sin and neither is making money. Neither is a corporation making money. He further proves his naivete by acting surprised in 1992, when he discovered that the Democratic National Committee was hosted by "ATT&T, American Express, Nynex Corporation, and Time Warner Inc." This, according to Hightower, was a device of Bill Clinton, who "wedded" the money and the access. (41) Strangely, Hightower devotes an entire page and a half (49) devoted to the sad industry of penile enlargements. What a nightmare for men, he says, when it seems like only "yesterday technologists of fashion" left men alone (48). This is an example of Hightower's in ability to see the real world or understand how it operates. Quacks have been around as long as mankind. Hightower's attitude leaves us to wonder if her is living in the real world. Hightower also believes that technology has only increased family stress (61) and paints the average worker as someone who has his or her life stolen from him by his or her boss. Corporations, capitalism, and the work week are all problems, according to Hightower but he never lays out a plan that could help solves these problems.
Hightower's next chapter is devoted class war, in which he further reiterates his message of corporate evil. He points out that CEOs such as Lou Gerster of IBM makes thousands of dollars by firing employees as well as John Teets of the Dial Corporation. Hightower makes clear observations -- there are the haves and the have-nots. However, this is not news. Again, in Hightower's opinion, the evil Republican "gene" has infiltrated the human race. America needs a "real economic policy that gives people the tools they need to build and maintain a middle-class life." (87) The closest thing to a solution that Hightower can come up with is a joke about Saint Peter. (88)
Hightower's third chapter attacks the media. He claims it is a "goofy notion" that America's media machine 'is a hotbed of Stalinesgue liberalism" (117). The true media bias is not to the left or right, but to the top, Hightower says (137). he doesn't miss the opportunity to insult talk radio,…