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View Diary: Asperity, Austerity, and Control: Huxley, Orwell, and 1984 (87 comments)

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  •  Peope pay to vote for Am Idol? (9+ / 0-)

    Seriously?  That's over the top vapid.

    Speaking of vapid.  I'm watching the 30 somethings.  They don't read books anywhere near the volume my gen did.

    Grandkids don't read at all.

    Heck, the Middle/Junior high school doesn't even give the kids textbooks to take home to study.  All they get are worksheets to be completed..

    It dawned on my that newborn grandkids won't need to diary their life's activities.  Somewhere out there on a cloud will be a digital record of their life if someone wanted to bother to compile it.

    That said, I forgot to mention, as I was on the fly earlier.

    GREAT, GREAT WORK, Geogre.

    Food for thought.  Electronic book tablet named KINDLE.  Helloooo.....

    Our local Barnes & Noble now looks more like a Kiddy Store.  Seriously, half the store is devoted to kids stuff.   Gone are the couches and gathering centers.  For that matter. Gone are most of the books for adults.

    There are some docs I have found on line that I have copy/pasted and stored in case they are disappeared.

    I'm glad I'm old.  I don't like this world anymore.  People have lost dignity and graciousness.  Everyone seems so easily angered.

    The least the gov could do would be to let us grow our own weed for some relief from the grief in our own homes.  I advocate for grow and consume.

    lol

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:58:57 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  a better question is: people watch american (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre, Larsstephens, Hamtree, G2geek

      idol?

      sorry, but high school talent shows aren't for me.

      •  It's not a high school talent show (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee

        It's semi-professional singers who've been working hard to build their careers, but presented under the guise that they're just random people that have finally been "discovered."

        "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

        by CFAmick on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:43:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Alas, O tempore O mores (really this time) (8+ / 0-)

      One thing about reading a lot is that you realize that everyone thinks it stinks "these days." I think there's empirical evidence that there is less cultural continuity today.

      If we say, "Nobody reads," then the book industry points out that sales are up. They're selling many copies of "bondage for housewives" and "Oprah sez" and "Soduku for Dentists Offices." Oh, and Screamin' DJ sells copies of his book, "Negroes! I see negroes!" What we mean, of course, is that literature is disappearing, that works that aim (even if they fail) at stylistic superiority and multivocal meaning are few.

      To that the defenders of today's world will say, "So? It's a hip-hop nation? Cut and paste is the new normal! Plagiarism doesn't exist! Post-modernism means that it's all cool, man."

      What we're actually discussing, I think, is a loss of common culture. Whether it's "Last night's 'All in the Family'" or "Ed Sullivan," the network model had national contributions to popular culture. The Bible provided what Northrop Frye called The Great Code that all artists could use as a symbol bank. The "great books" lists infused generations with common vocabularies of reference. These bound individuals together, enabled metaphor, and allowed for allusion.

      I can talk to "Bible based Christians" majoring in Christianity and say, "And what was it that the serpent promised Adam and Eve in the garden?" (This is when teaching "Young Goodman Brown" by Hawthorne.) They don't know. They haven't read it. They've never read the Bible. They just read bits.

      I don't care anymore if they all watch stinking cartoons. I just want the world, nations, and regions to have cultures.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:19:46 PM PDT

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      •  To have, or to be cultured? (5+ / 0-)

        I want Utopia, a place to fit in w/o fear of derision.  A united people lacking patience for any sort of injustice and where kindness is popular.  For a kind soul, traversing an unkind landscare, finds no rest except in seclusion, or perhaps the company of one or two others.

        Thomas More, Utopia

        “If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this but that you first make thieves and then punish them?”
        ― Thomas More, Utopia

        “Until you put these things to right, you're not entitled to boast of the justice meted out to thieves, for it's a justice more specious than real or social desirable. You allow these people to be brought up in the worst possible way, and systematically corrupted from their earliest years. Finally, when they grow up and commit the crimes that they were obviously destined to commit, ever since they were children, you start punishing them. In other words, you create thieves, and then punish them for stealing.”
        ― Thomas More

        “Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody's under the frightful necessity of becoming first a thief and then a corpse.”
        ― Thomas More, Utopia

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:19:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bertolt Brecht (4+ / 0-)

          "You gentlemen who think you have a mission
          To purge us of the seven deadly sins
          Must first work out the basic food position:
          That's where it begins. . .
          First make sure that those who are now starving
          Get proper helpings when we all start carving."

          Actually, one of More's near contemporaries, Thomas Hoby, wrote a nice little piece (it's quite readable, esp. if you can handle Utopia) called "The School Master." He makes the point that a gentleman will spend two hundred pounds on his horse and boast of it, but he will grow upset and spend as little as possible on the education of his son, but the son will be responsible for supporting him in his old age, and the horse will be long dead. (A rich guy with an $80,000 car complaining about paying taxes for public schools that spend $1,500/student.)

          Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

          by The Geogre on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 04:50:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Geogre, helpImdrowning, ybruti

            This is the type of conversation that is so lacking.  Volumes have been so well written that, if read, could help humanity understand present day dilemmas and even expose the vileness of today's so-called political discourse.

            Example:  I would have had the Wisconsin's Congress and citizens read Sinclair's The Jungle immediately after Scott Walker attacked the unions.

            My eyes were opened by Leo Tolstoy, whose writing style has spoiled me forever.  So much of the hearts of men are revealed in his writings.

            I stepped over the disinformation about the evil of Machiavelli, and read a collection of his works.  I wish I had done so in my youth.

            What a brutally honest man.   And what a talent for being able to see the darkness of man's intent and write about it in a manner that is accessible to all who are willing to admit the truth.  

            I will look for your continued series.

            For those of you interested, there is free Machiavelli online.

            Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 1 (Life of Machiavelli, History of Florence) [1532]

            It's anyone's guess whose translation is an honest one.  I personally tip toed into Machiavelli with this book:

            The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library Classics)

            It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

            by War on Error on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:41:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Discourses! Must read! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              helpImdrowning

              Machiavelli's Discourses are fantastic. I read them in a class on the development of the essay (unofficially; officially, the class was on something like periodic literature of the 18th century, but we were all over Montesquieu and La Rochefoucauld and Machiavelli). Discourses is modern in its irony (or, rather, Modernism finally got back to the Renaissance in ironic sophistication).

              Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

              by The Geogre on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:09:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The purpose of making thieves and punishing them (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre, helpImdrowning

          .... is entertainment for people who derive pleasure from the act (direct or vicarious) of cruelty toward someone who is powerless.

          Punishment is our outlet for sadism, all neatly wrapped up in jargon and made socially acceptable compared to other forms of sadism.  

          We don't want to legalize kidnapping and torturing other peoples' children, because that would break the social darwinist paradigm whereby each person gets to believe that their genes are most-fit.  And as a pragmatic matter, that would be destabilizing to society, whereas punishment at least claims to have a stabilizing effect.

          In any case we need a rationalization for the sadism, and "he deserved it" works wonders.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:50:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This seems a bit harsh as a judgement of people's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            emotional motivations for seeing others punished for so-called misdeeds.  Declaring it to be, or associating it, to sadism seems to be a somewhat of a stretch and maybe even mean spirited toward a large portion of humanity.  It might be more accurate to say many, or most, people feel a burning need to feel superior to others, because if sadism is at it's root, there isn't much hope for us as a species.  Of course I could be wrong.  I wish you well.

            "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

            by helpImdrowning on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 03:43:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK, I'll admit to an excess of hyperbole. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              helpImdrowning

              I don't agree with my own statement as written above, for the majority of humanity.  I wrote it that way in part for shock value.  And I caught myself in the contradiction when I noticed my own reaction to those child sex abuse cases shortly after posting that comment.  "Oh, so you enjoy punishing those bastards, eh G2G?"

              However it does apply to a subset of society, notably the puritans and extreme right wing, particularly the religious right: you can see it in many of their statements.  Robertson and Falwell on 9/11 and about Katrina and so on, were classic cases, blaming the terrorist attack and storm deaths on gays, abortions, and witches.  

              The most extreme case is the Phelps cult, who "protest" at funerals.  

              However there are also leftie equivalents of that, and we see them frequently in these pages.  

              But for most of us, the desire to punish comes from outrage at the crime and the desire to reduce the fear of criminality in our society.   Though, that "reaction to fear" stuff can also become dangerous in its own way, when it eclipses the necessity for objectivity in administering justice.

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 05:04:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  THIS! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Geogre
        What we're actually discussing, I think, is a loss of common culture. Whether it's "Last night's 'All in the Family'" or "Ed Sullivan," the network model had national contributions to popular culture. The Bible provided what Northrop Frye called The Great Code that all artists could use as a symbol bank. The "great books" lists infused generations with common vocabularies of reference. These bound individuals together, enabled metaphor, and allowed for allusion.
        There is the great wound from which we continue to bleed.

        Almost nothing has a name.

        by johanus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:33:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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