November 23, 2004

"He's probably crazy"

The hunter murders story takes a twist with the news that the killer is a Hmong.

That has people wondering if ethnic tensions are at play here, and while it doesn't look like it on any overt level, you have wonder given the strange and tortured history of the Hmong in America.

Two absolutely fantastic reads on the subject are Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which you probably know about, and a chapter in Calvin Trillin's Killings. If you only know Trillin's recent twee stuff with the food, and the family, and the Bush-bashing rhymes, this earlier work of gimlet-eyed cultural journalism -- a collection of articles about killings and American communities -- will be a revelation. If you like audiobooks, see if you can find the edition with Trillin reading it himself, not the apparently inferior version available on Amazon.

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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