Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Reprise rather than a Reprieve

I wrote this a year ago. I wasn't wrong then. Much in the world has changed. But certainly NOT enough. I'm not wrong now. It's us. 'Murika. 

What prompted the rant was a Sir Paul McCartney and Kanye West collaboration that became all the buzz on the Interwebz for about five hours (seven hours less than the lifespan of  a moth, just as a point of reference). 

It was to actual news what Velveeta is to actual cheese. But who cares. 

We cannot tell news from noise but if we’d been paying attention, at least, we could smile knowingly as if we were in on the joke. Neil Postman, in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” published thirty years ago, forecast the American Intellectual Landscape in which we currently live (avoiding Newton Minnow’s well-known “Wasteland” characterization, but not happy at what he saw on the horizon).

He argued, suggests an article I am smitten with that those of us who struggled all those years ago with summer reading lists that had George Orwell’s “1984” were better served had we read Aldous Huxley. 

Let me steal an insight: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. 

Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Somewhere I hear the strains of Yellow Submarine, almost the perfect vessel to navigate such a sea. Meanwhile, long story even longer, it turns out we do know who Sir Paul McCartney is, and Kanye West as well. These are truly days of miracles and wonder.
-bill kenny

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