Go West

Exile in Greenville by Liz Phair
The Atlantic, March 2010

I’m headed to Phoenix to attend a NASCAR event (the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil) and a conference on eco-conscious design (the 2009 Greenbuild Expo), which are taking place simultaneously. I’ve never been to a NASCAR race. I picture a bunch of rednecks dousing themselves with beer and slapping their wives on the ass. I’m more familiar with the environmental crowd, and expect to have zero fun at the expo learning a lot of depressing facts about the future that I’ll feel helpless to do anything about. But I figure if I ask the folks at NASCAR what they do to recycle, and get the green-buddies to admit they still dream in Rodney Dangerfield Technicolor, then maybe I can convince our fractious society that we have more in common than we think.

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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