Devil’s Elbow is a collection of columns by award-winning newspaper columnist and long-time reporter Marc Munroe Dion. In the book, Dion shines a light on Trump’s America, the bad, the ugly and the moderately OK, using his prickly wit and poignant humor.
Stretching from early 2017, just as President Donald Trump was sworn in, to the end of 2018, just after the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, Dion’s columns describe how even just two years of Trump’s presidency have transformed this nation, widening an already deep divide and entrenching everyday citizens in this murky swamp of hypocrisy and hatred.
A veteran reporter and newspaper columnist, Marc Munroe Dion is an old-school newsman who fell out of a Frank Capra movie, complete with pipe and fedora.
Born in the struggling former cotton mill town of Fall River, Massachusetts, Dion spent his childhood moving around the country with his sharp-witted Irish-American mother and his French-Canadian father, both of them chasing the work that left their hometown.
As a teenager in Missouri, Dion dominated his high school debate team and in 1975 was the No. 5 ranked high school orator in America.
The fascination with words continued, as Dion worked his way through college and graduate school as a laborer, bartender and janitor, publishing his first book, a collection of poetry, along the way. He never forgot the people he met at work, or the threadbare, funny stories they told him on loading docks and in bars.
After working for The Associated Press, the Kansas City Star and the Providence Journal as a writer, book reviewer and columnist, he accepted a job on The Herald News, a daily in his hometown of Fall River, where he found more people with stories to tell and became aware, in his own words, that “the working class is being hunted out of this country like coyotes.” Dion’s column, called “Living and Dion,” appeared Mondays in The Herald News for 24 years. During that time, he won 30 writing awards not only for his column but for editorial writing and for newspaper stories chronicling the history of Southern New England. He won the New England News Press Association award for Serious Column back to back, in 2010 and 2011. In 2016, he won that organization’s award for Best Political Column. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice.
A loudmouthed independent with a talk radio program on WSAR, Dion says his program, “The Marc Dion Show,” is informed, freshened and connected to reality by his work as a reporter in a city of 90,000 people.
“Conservatives want to take away your union card,” he says. “Liberals want to take away your guns. Why should anyone have to choose one or the other?”
Tough-minded and unrepentantly working class, Dion’s sense of humor sounds more like a barroom than a newsroom, and his political observations are more concerned with issues than political parties.
Dion lives in a 108-year-old three-floor apartment house with his wife Deborah, who is also a reporter, and two cats, a curvy, entitled calico named Maggie, and Jack, who is named for American writer Jack Kerouac.
Dion says there is one job in journalism he never wanted.
“I didn’t want to chronicle the death of the working class, but that’s what I’ve done for 30 years.”