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Know the West

Our national denial


So he had literary flair and put himself at real personal risk — all very admirable — but if Charles Bowden produced anything in any way helpful to understanding and dealing with the Mexican border crisis and migration, it is nowhere evident in the pieces by or about him that have appeared in HCN (“Charles Bowden’s Fury,” 10/13/14).

None of his buddy Ed Abbey’s sense of humor or proportion seems to have stuck with Bowden. There’s nothing at all funny or measured about the grisliness he documents, but his tone of grim relish comes off as offensively self-indulgent, even pompous.

Yes, many of us readily admit to seeing our growing population, fueled to such a large degree by immigration, as not just one of our greatest national background worries, but the one most desperately denied and ignored. Bowden may have occupied his own flashy and idiosyncratic place off in an obscure corner in that national denial, but it must have occasionally dawned on him which broader, button-down interests he ultimately served.  

Sorry, but I find the adulation misplaced.

Phil Leatherman
Bremerton, Washington