Friday, June 25

The Path of Virus Deaths

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The chart here shows the relationship — daily deaths compared with an index equal to 1.7 percent of newly diagnosed cases from three weeks earlier. The two lines have risen almost in tandem for the past three months:

“Hillbilly Elegy,” J.D. Vance’s best-selling memoir of growing up in Ohio with family roots in Appalachia, has been a signature book of the Trump era. The movie version — released last week on Netflix, starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams — has been less successful.

Many critics have panned it as simplistic, painting rural American life with overly broad strokes. It “understands rural poverty mostly via iconography — rundown houses and kids in swimming holes and the like,” Emily VanDerWerff writes in Vox. In The Times, A.O. Scott says the film pretends to link the characters to “something bigger without providing a coherent sense of what that something might be.”

In the conservative publication The Bulwark, Sonny Bunch writes that many liberal critics are too harsh on the movie but agrees that it suffers from “lack of focus and muddled messaging.”

After Netflix announced its involvement with the project last year, Meredith McCarroll, a professor at Bowdoin College who has written about Appalachia, wrote that the movie’s release might have one silver lining: to spark discourse about the richness of life within the region, rather than accepting any one portrait of it.

“I hold out some hope,” McCarroll wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review, “that more attention to Appalachia might make space for debate, and debate might shed some light on the wild range of life that is happening right now in those mountains: angry protests and mournful music and joyful poetry and determined activism, all derived from and leading to a love of place.”

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