Are We All Living In 'Elsewhere, U.S.A.'? Author and sociologist Dalton Conley says we have entered into brand-new terrain where the line between work and leisure is blurred — thanks to the advent of the BlackBerry. Conley talks about his new book, Elsewhere, U.S.A.

Are We All Living In 'Elsewhere, U.S.A.'?

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NEAL CONAN, host:

This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a new book called "Elsewhere, U.S.A.," sociologist Dalton Conley describes the wrenching changes that utterly transformed the economy and our families; how in one generation we've moved from the company man and family dinners to a world where technology allows affluent professionals to work 24/7, leisure time for kids and parents vanishes between the ballet lessons and the BlackBerry, and the economy means that Mom and Dad may work in different cities, even different continents, and everybody feels compelled to check their email at bedtime, and Conley suggests we best learn to love this strange new world.

If "Elsewhere, U.S.A." describes your life, call and tell us how you got there and how you like it. Our phone number is 800-989-8255; email us, talk@npr.org. You can also the conversation on our Web site. Go to npr.org; click on Talk of the Nation. Later in the program, Steve Clemons joins us to argue that from an American point of view, there's little real difference among the candidates for prime minister in Israel's election tomorrow and why he would want to see right-winger Bibi Netanyahu win. But first, "Elsewhere, U.S.A." author Dalton Conley teaches sociology at NYU and joins us here today in Studio 3A. Nice to have on the program.

Dr. DALTON CONLEY (Author, "Elsewhere, U.S.A.;" Chair, Sociology, New York University): Thanks for having me.

CONAN: And who lives in "Elsewhere, U.S.A."? Who are the residents?

Dr. CONLEY: Well, first of all, they are generally in the top half of the income distribution, and I think, really, the further up you go, the more you see this kind of behavior. They're more likely to be city residents with the faster-paced lifestyle. They're more lucky to have children because then they're being tugged in many directions with their family responsibilities, balanced or not balanced, as the case may be, with their work responsibilities. And they tend to be my generation around sort of early middle age, where we grew up in a pre-digital, pre-Internet era with a certain set of social norms, and now we find ourselves in this brave new world. It's really nice and sweet that Grandma can Skype the grandchildren or email some photos and the younger generation has grown up and never known any other world. It's my generation that's really caught in the middle and tugged anywhere.

CONAN: You write, for the first time in history, the more we are paid, the more hours we work.

Dr. CONLEY: I think that's probably the most stunning statistic in the book. At one time, you worked really hard in America to get ahead and, quote, live the good life. That's always been in tension with something very deep in our soul called the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, to use the terms of a sociologist from 100 years ago, Max Weber, where, after the Protestant Reformation, the notion was we really didn't know if we were saved or not. If you think economy insecurity is bad, try ecclesiastical insecurity.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. CONLEY: And the solution to that was to appear blessed on Earth, and you did that in two ways. One is, you found your vocation, which literally means calling in French, and you worked really hard at that job, that career, that calling. And on the consumption side, you basically spent as little as possible; you were miser. And we see that ethic reflected in Benjamin Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac," a penny saved is a penny earned, and so forth. And that was the sort of cultural vein for most of American history, Weber would argue. Add in the invention of accounting, double-entry bookkeeping, you get capitalism. But by mid-20th century America, the sociologist William H. Whyte, who was an editor at Fortune, wrote a bestseller called "The Organization Man," better known as the Company Man, described the new social landscape in post-war America, where we were expected to show loyalty and not hustle and not be an entrepreneur the way the sort of 19th-century swashbuckler was.

CONAN: But we've conformed.

Dr. CONLEY: To conform in - mostly conformed through consumption, that you had to, quote, keep up with the Jones, by buying the latest model Ford or General Motors car. You moved to the suburbs in a rapidly suburbanizing America and bought all these new appliances. You see the rise of the charge card, which presages the incredible debt we're under today. And that was very much in tension with the curmudgeonly Protestant-ethic entrepreneur from the 19th century that never quite went away. And today's family, I argue, has really resolved those tensions through redefinition, really, but at a high price.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get some callers in on this conversation. Does the "Elsewhere, U.S.A." description fit your life? How did you get there? How did you like it? 800-989-8255; email talk@npr.org. And let's see if we can start with Jackson, Jackson with us from Buffalo in New York.

JACKSON: (Caller) Hi. How are you guys?

CONAN: Very well, thanks.

JACKSON: I just wanted to say that we have been doing this for about a year. My wife is employed as upper management in Ontario. We reside in Buffalo. And about four years ago, we changed our income-earning strategy. I was remodeling homes, and I saw my client-base dwindling in Buffalo as my wife concentrated on her master's degree, and we flipped(ph) for primary income, and we're not having very much fun.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Because she's in one country and you're in another.

JACKSON: Yeah. She's actually - she had an apartment for awhile in Ontario, and she's actually recently now begun commuting so that we can save the money against the nearly $150-a-month apartment, so...

CONAN: Yeah, and do you have kids?

JACKSON: We do. We have two children. I've got a six-year-old, who is wonderfully off the charts for intelligence, and I have a three-year-old, who is on the autistic spectrum. So, he is also a bit of high-demand during the day, and we could talk for another two days about the challenges of being full-time male homemaker...

CONAN: Sure.

JACKSON: A stay-at-home dad. But I'm doing pretty good at it, and - but we have, both of us, worlds in our feet.

CONAN: That does sound at least on the outskirts of "Elsewhere, U.S.A."

JACKSON: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. CONLEY: It sounds like he's right in the center to me in the - and his situation points to a couple of the trends that, I think, underline this social transformation above and beyond the blinking, beeping, Twittering devices that sort of demand our attention all the time. And that's - last week, the Labor Department announced that for the first time there are more women in the labor force than men because men have been disproportionately hit by the recent round of layoffs, and that really is the, kind of, final coup de grace in a steady trend. In the 1950s, the world of "The Organization Man," 17 percent of moms worked outside the home in the formal labor market. and those were most likely to be low-income moms, not professionals, who worked because they absolutely needed to, to support the family's food expenses. By the height of the second wave of feminism, of the ERA NOW Movement in 1975, only one-third of moms worked outside the home, when Ledbetter, Lilly Ledbetter, who's the namesake of a recent bill for pay equity...

CONAN: Sure.

Dr. CONLEY: Went to work in 1979, she was really an exception. But by the 2000s, 70 percent or so of moms work outside the home. So, now, if you're a stay-at-home mom, you're the minority, whereas you were the norm before. That's an incredible social change in a relatively rapid time that kind of dovetails with the technology and with rising inequality to create this kind of frenetic juggling lifestyle.

CONAN: And Jackson, do you see any end insight to your situation?

JACKSON: No. I mean, we really are - we're six figures invested in (unintelligible) math industrial design degree. My wife has two degrees, two masters, and so, we have educational debt. And we, you know, we're going to have to keep forging ahead in the manner that we are.

CONAN: No?

JACKSON: So, we're, you know, knuckling down and making the best of it, but I know that we're far from alone. I think that there'll be many other people waiting and hopefully to talk about their own experiences in this regard...

CONAN: Let's get to...

JACKSON: I hope - the point I'd like to make to you guys really quick is that I hope that all Americans, in this recent buy-American flare-up, I hope that we learn how common a neighbor we have in Canada and how many of the social issues that are affecting us right now will be affecting Canadians as strongly in another eight months to a year, and that we can learn that this trans-border lifestyle, even in New Mexico - I have friends in California that do it southern - and it's important to a lot of people...

CONAN: Jackson...

JACKSON: And I think they...

CONAN: You're right. There are a lot of other people on hold, and I need to get to them. But good luck to you.

JACKSON: Oh, sure. Go ahead.

CONAN: OK. Bye-bye. Now, let's see if we can go to Matt, and Matt's calling us from Detroit, also not far from the Canadian border.

MATT (Caller): Hi, Neal. Thanks for taking my call.

CONAN: Go ahead.

MATT: Yeah. I just wanted to say that I'm a mid-30s father of four, married, and we're actually trying to hold on to our, you know, the old-type Midwestern lifestyle of a - I work for Ford Motor Company as a pipe fitter, and my wife stays at home, and we enjoy five to six meals with the family, even - all of our children are younger. We don't run them all over the place. We're not going from, you know, one event to the next nonstop. We really try to just slow things down. And it's kind of - we're seeing more and more that, you know, there's been this kind of - not necessarily, like, a lie, but this feeling that you need to keep with up with the Joneses is really something that you - you know, we've kind of noticed that it's not the kind of thing that we want to buy into it if we can help it. It's really hard not to, but it's really nice to be able to just kind of do our own thing.

CONAN: Well, Matt, thanks very much for the call. Good luck.

MATT: Thanks a lot, Neal.

CONAN: And Dalton Conley, you write a lot about economic anxiety, even alienation, on this feeling of the necessity to keep up, and well, in fact, you talked about this phantom anxiety, well, to try not to - you got caught on the switches writing your book just before the big meltdown. It didn't turn out to be quite so phantom. People are truly anxious now.

Dr. CONLEY: Well, I think that the meltdown really has confirmed our worst fears, that a lot of us were working in a weightless, kind of, puffed-up economy that really wasn't producing anything, particularly where I come from, in New York, where the - you know, finance is based. And I think the caller is really a dying breed, an endangered species, and it's fitting that he works for one of the big three, because they make the stark contrast to the kind of work style and norms of the big corporations today, the quintessential one being Google, where there are complete bound - blurred boundaries between home and work. You work all the time, but you also get free massages when you first show up at Google, and you have to pay for them after that, free food, a gym there, dry cleaning. They basically make the office more like home, just like home is more like office. It - and it's very expensive, but in the end, it gets much more out of workers.

CONAN: It gets much more out of workers, but do workers get more out of it?

Dr. CONLEY: Well, I was - in my time at Google when I was interviewing people, I was trying to dig deep for some cynical attitudes, and I was shocked that - I don't know if it was a generational thing or what have you - but they were among the highest, most satisfied workers, and Google is consistently rated as one of the best companies to work for. But I don't know if they can sustain it, but...

CONAN: Dalton Conley, author of "Elsewhere, U.S.A." We'll get to more of your calls in just a moment. If "Elsewhere, U.S.A." describes your life, how did you get there? How do you like it? 800-989-8255; email us, talk@npr.org, even using your Google account. I'm Neal Conan. Stay with us. It's the Talk of the Nation from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Just before the break, we were talking about Google.com as the cultural epicenter of "Elsewhere, U.S.A." Dalton Conley writes in his book that we may see dormitories soon at the Googleplex as the line between work and home continue to blur. You can read an excerpt from his book, "Elsewhere, U.S.A.," on our Web site, npr.org. Just click on Talk of the Nation or just Google it. If "Elsewhere, U.S.A." describes your life, call, tell us how you got there and how you like it, 800-989-8255; email talk@npr.org. James is calling us, James from East Wenatchee in Washington.

JAMES (Caller): Hey.

CONAN: Hi.

JAMES: Yeah. So, I just out of active duty Army; spent four years living in Tacoma while my wife and kids lived in East Wenatchee. And now the job situation is so bad, I'm having to join the National Guard and work in Olympia, which is just south of Tacoma, just so my wife and kids can stay where they are, and it's not getting any better.

CONAN: And this dislocation that James is talking about - I don't think he's talking about people making over $200,000 a year from his description - but nevertheless, it's beginning to affect people, you know, as he says, just out of the Army, people who need to be in the National Guard to support the kids and their family.

Dr. CONLEY: Yeah. I mean, the class that I'm talking about really is at the upper end, but the effects are - go all the way down the ladder, so to speak. The rise in homeownership that we saw peak at - over two-thirds of American households owning the homes in which they live also translates to anxiety, even in the best of times, because the home used to be a place where you retreated to and left the logic of the marketplace when you wiped your feet at the front-door mat. But now, if you're a homeowner, you're worried about your housing values; should I refinance now? I'm playing the credit markets, as they - the interest rates go up and down. It's now a refuge. It's - you're living in an investment. It's another way that the sort of a line between the marketplace and what we would call the social economy or the private sphere has really blurred. Plus, as much as we like to think of ourselves as an increasingly frenetic, moving-around nation, actually, over the last 100 years, we're more rooted. And that's partly a story of homeownership and the fact that we are more rooted and we often have two careers, and so, therefore can't - we don't have spouse that's just willing to follow us anywhere deems that commute times have just increased dramatically and extreme commuting situations, such as we've heard several of today, are more and more common.

CONAN: And James, your wife is working as well?

JAMES: Yes, she runs an Avon business and babysits out of our house and takes care of our three children of broad age range. So...

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Well, it sounds like you're taking care of the dog, though.

JAMES: No. That's the neighbor's dog.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: That's the neighbor's dog. OK. Well, I'm sorry you don't even get to take care of the dog, James. It must be extremely difficult.

JAMES: It's not easy.

CONAN: All right. Good luck to you.

JAMES: Thank you. Bye.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

Dr. CONLEY: And I should say, child care is another example of the fact that more and more of our - what once used to be provided by the social economy, so to speak, is now provided by market relationships, and in fact, the fastest growing sector for low-wage employees is food preparation and service, something we used to do for ourselves.

CONAN: Let's go to Sue, Sue with us from Salt Lake City.

SUE (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, Sue.

SUE: I am a work-at-home technical writer, and I've done that for seven years, and my husband works in social services, so that's kind of an economic necessity. And I have three children, and so, it's been a juggling act for a long time. I get up in the morning and check my email, and throughout the day, I need to be available online. And so, I do feel some guilt about splitting my attention between the children and my work. But I also think that there's kind of a myth we've created about how our mothers used to stay home and give us their undivided attention and play with us all day long. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and she was mopping the floor, and she was...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SUE: Talking on the phone, and she was meeting with other ladies. So, I think they kind of - this is a new thing, but I think it's also not a new thing for moms to be juggling and splitting their attention between their children and other things.

CONAN: One of the things that Dalton Conley writes about, though, in his book is that it's hard to tell the difference between when you're taking care of your family and when you're actually working and the hours extend, well, 24/7. You're working on the weekends, I assume, too.

SUE: On the weekends, sometimes, you know, I put the kids in bed and then I work until two in the morning. So, it's definitely - but it's a good thing, because then I'm also able to be there to pick the pick the kids up from school and take them to their activities. So, it's kind of a mixed bag.

CONAN: And Dalton Conley, that's the silver-lining part of this situation that you're describing.

Dr. CONLEY: Right. I'm not trying to be nostalgic about some great bygone era of the Ward and June Cleaver or anything like that. I'm really trying to describe a new landscape without moral judgment and say that things are better or worse than they were before, that people's attention spans are necessarily less so that they're not just - that they weren't distracted by other things 20 years ago. I'm just really trying to describe a new landscape that, I think, is increasingly common. Before 1979, if you looked up home office in the media, it would be referring to that place in London that, you know, reports to the prime minister.

CONAN: Right.

Dr. CONLEY: Today, that's one of the fastest class of workers, and of course, you don't even need to be at home to work. You know, you can walk down the street with your BlackBerry or your iPhone and you're working.

CONAN: Here's an email from - Sue, thanks very much for the call, and good luck, by the way.

SUE: Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Eli from Louisville: I completed my undergrad education in 2005 and haven't lived in the city as my significant other since then. Cheap gas, interstates and cheap airfare have made weekend visits the norm. How common is that, historically, and historically, as you look along the great time line, very uncommon, but in terms of recent years?

Dr. CONLEY: Well, we don't really have data about how many people are, you know, dating across datelines or even national boundaries, as we heard before, but you know, the sense is that has increased. But we have to also keep in mind that, in some ways, that's the return back to the future, so to speak, or return to the past, because the '50s kind of cultural reference point of the nuclear family, living in the self-contained unit, really was more the exception than the rule for most of history. And there was migrant labor, and husbands and wives were often gone for extended periods in the early 20th century and the 19th century, during - but mostly to do agricultural work that was seasonal. And so, in a way, we're returning to that kind of relationship with - but with, obviously, new mediated technologies.

CONAN: Kaitlin on the line from Salt Lake City.

KAITLIN (Caller): Hi. I was calling in to say, as I was listening, I thought a lot about my mom. I'm a teacher and an artist in residence. I teach theater. And my mother was an educator as well and constantly brought work home. I'm in my mid-30s and I have two kids. My husband and I both have doctorates, and for us, this is always been a part of life. We're always sort of trading here, you take the kids while I write a paper, and then swap. And actually, I'm on my way home right now, early today, because I have a sick little one, and as soon as I get him down for his nap, then I have lesson plans I need to write.

CONAN: And you can do that from home because of the technology.

KAITLIN: Exactly.

CONAN: And...

KAITLIN: In fact...

CONAN: This is, as Kaitlin suggest, for some people, nothing new. However, the technology that we're talking about enables this, and you're writing about this combination of things, the economy, the technology and the change in our family lives, where we have two Ph.D. families, as Kaitlin's is, again, not unprecedented, but many more in this generation than there ever have been.

Dr. CONLEY: Right. And the marriage of a Ph.D. to a Ph.D. is also a part of this story, because back in the days of the 1950s, again, the partner would like to - was more likely to marry his secretary or marry somebody who then would opt out of the workforce. Maureen Dowd in her columns often likes to complain that the executive only wants to marry the secretary, and the highly educated, powerful women are left out in the cold. That's just - couldn't be further from the truth today. Today, what sociologists call assortative mating has increased. So, the more we earn, the more we work, and the more we earn, the more we probably married a spouse who also is a high earner, and that in itself has exacerbated the inequality, which in turn drives the anxiety and the need to keep up. So, in good times, we're falling behind, relatively ,because we feel like people ahead of us, the further up you go, the gaps get bigger and the rate of change gets bigger, and in bad times, we're worried about just holding onto what we've got and servicing all the debt we've accumulated to sort of keep up, and that is new.

CONAN: Kaitlin, we hope your child feels better.

KAITLIN: Thank you.

CONAN: Thanks, bye. Let's see if we can go to - this is Pam, Pam's from Midwest City in Oklahoma.

PAM (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

PAM: As I was listening to your show, it made me think about my own situation. And I've been working out of my home for the last 12 years, and I raised my three kids out of my home. I managed reps in five states, and I was on the road, on the email, on the telephone constantly, never had a break. And then, I got laid off, and my last child left from home, and I just felt like - I've never been an addict, but I thought I just came off of an addiction. And it was hard to withdraw from, you know, the kids and the work, and I just felt, like, almost dead.

CONAN: Was it, like you say, coming off a drug because you didn't literally know what to do?

PAM: I would wait. I was, like, jumping day - you know, throughout the day. What's next? The phone's going to ring, the email, and there was nothing. It went from, you know, being on 24/7 to absolutely nothing.

CONAN: From the constant stimulation to just let's see what's on "Oprah" today.

PAM: And you know, at some point, you think, I don't really want to know, because everyone else out there is doing something and I'm not doing anything.

CONAN: And you would - I may be extending your metaphor beyond its ability, but Dalton Conley, you would argue that the drug that Pam was on is called weisure.

Dr. CONLEY: Right. Well, increasingly, we like our work. That's one of the good aspects of the people who are in this class in this new economy, this knowledge economy. So, part of it is demand-driven, that they want to work more and more. As I said, it harkens back to the Protestant 3thic, the vocation, people have found their calling. It's really great. On the other hand, we also get addicted, to use her metaphor, to the constant communication coming in over the transom(ph) or through the email, so to speak, that it's a validation. Someone out there knows I exist and - or want to be connected and networked all the time and really feel that alone as much more starkly when that's cut off as dramatically as it was in this case.

CONAN: Because you - when you were getting all those messages and all those phone calls, Pam, you felt needed, and of course, the kids added to that, too.

PAM: Yeah, and it's strange, because you always think, I need a break, I need a break, I need a break from this. And when you get it, you're like, what happened to my life? You know, it just went away. And honestly, I just felt like I had been on some kind of a drug. And it was - I don't know how to relax. I don't know how to have leisure time, because everything revolved around my children or my work, and so, it's been really difficult. And you know, you kind of have this feeling of worthlessness, and you don't really want to share it with your friends because you've been so - you know, your life has been so exciting and you've been doing so much and you don't want to tell people, I'm just sitting at home in a chair, waiting for a phone call, you know?

CONAN: Well, Pam, I think anybody would tell you, try to get up, get out and do something, and see if you can rediscover at least part of that.

PAM: Well, I'm working on it.

CONAN: Good luck.

PAM: All right. Thanks.

CONAN: Thanks very much. Our guest is Dalton Conley, a university professor of the social sciences at New York University and acting dean for the social sciences at NYU. He's the author most recently of "Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms and Economic Anxiety." You're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. Paul is on the line, Paul calling from Tucson.

PAUL (Caller): Yes. Thank you for taking my call.

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

PAUL: I am a college student in my early 20s, so my childhood was a little bit before parents were hooked on their BlackBerries or iPhones. Although I remember when I was in high school, my dad starting to work more at home from his home office, and on the weekends, he would be working a lot, too. But without sounding too sappy about it, I feel like a lot of the new technology has actually brought my friends and my family and me closer together and stimulated conversation at the dinner table, you know? So, a lot of times, I'm checking my news on my iTouch, and I get 100 percent, I would say, of my news online, and I get to share that media with my friends on Facebook. So, we're, you know, we're often on the same page in terms of the news and information we're getting. I get the emails out to my folks, and they're emailing me things. So, when I'm home on the holiday or weekend, we have a lot to talk about. You know, I get to talk to family overseas using Skype or Facebook. So, I wonder if that's like a sort of generational thing with, you know, people my age seeing the Internet or technology like BlackBerries and iPhones and the Internet as a sort of way to share media and, you know, watch television and get news.

CONAN: It's the difference between technological touch-typers and hunt-and-peckers.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. CONLEY: Right.

PAUL: Yeah.

Dr. CONLEY: Well, I think, it's definitely rewritten social relations in our social lives, that sort of always connected or the Facebook phenomenon. And - but it's also rewritten some other sort of long-held concepts or boundaries, if you will, and one of those is between public and private. The metaphor for the self used to be that we had a front-stage self that, you know, who we are on the street, in public, at work and so forth. And we had a backstage that we let certain people into; that was intimacy. You shared these secrets. You shared - you've kicked your feet up, took off your shoes, so to speak, and let people see the, quote, real you. And for much of American history, with this ethic of American individualism, the imperative was to find your true self, find your authentic self, and then use that as a lone star to guide of your choice of work, of marital partner, of your ethics and so forth.

And now, we live our lives in this Escher-like bottle of social relations, where it's - everything is out in the open. There's no distinction between private and public. It started with people talking about what they had for lunch on crowded buses on their cell phones. And now, people email or Facebook the most personal things. Recently, I got an announcement...

CONAN: Twenty-five random facts about me?

Dr. CONLEY: Yes. Exactly, tag, you're it, with these games, and someone announced that they're divorced on Facebook - someone I barely knew, something intensely painful and personal to their network through Facebook. And maybe the younger generation is OK with that, but I think, as I said, for those who are of the bubble generation like myself of living half our lives pre-digital and half post-digital, there is a disjunction between how - what the norms are now or the emergence of new norms and what we thought of as private and public before.

CONAN: Paul, thanks very much.

PAUL: Yeah. Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye. And before we let you go, Dalton Conley, this is going to be the norm for what percentage of the population, do you figure?

Dr. CONLEY: Well, I think an increasing percentage - Smartphone-penetration rates, in other words, usage of things like BlackBerries and iPhones and basically Web- or email-capable phones. is on the rise. It's still small; it's still just under 10 percent, but it's rising fast. And in certain occupations - doctors are now approaching 75 percent. And so, the more the population get saturated with these technologies and driven by the economic anxiety that we're all feeling and the family burdens or pressures, I don't think this is going away. We're just going to have to come up with new norms of how to envision life.

CONAN: Dalton Conley, thanks very much for your time. Appreciate it.

Dr. CONLEY: Thanks for having me, Neal.

CONAN: Dalton Conley, the author of "Elsewhere U.S.A." He teaches at New York University, and he was with us here in Studio 3A. Coming up, the day before Israel's elections, political commentator Steve Clemons says, "Give Us Netanyahu. Please." The election of hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu, he argues, would force the Obama administration to rethink U.S.-Israeli relations. He joins us next. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the Talk of the Nation from NPR News.

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