Books – the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.
To shoot a man because one disagrees with his interpretation of Darwin or Hegel is a sinister tribute to the supremacy of ideas in human affairs—but a tribute nevertheless.
The violent illiteracies of the graffiti, the clenched silence of the adolescent, the nonsense cries from the stage-happening, are resolutely strategic. The insurgent and the freak-out have broken off discourse with a cultural system which they despise as a cruel, antiquated fraud. They will not bandy words with it. Accept, even momentarily, the conventions of literate linguistic exchange, and you are caught in the net of the old values, of the grammars that can condescend or enslave.
It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
Topics: Past, The Past
To many men… the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.
The new sound-sphere is global. It ripples at great speed across languages, ideologies, frontiers and races. The economics of this musical Esperanto is staggering. Rock and pop breed concentric worlds of fashion, setting and life-style. Popular music has brought with it sociologies of private and public manner, of group solidarity. The politics of Eden come loud.
Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.
There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.
The journalistic vision sharpens to the point of maximum impact every event, every individual and social configuration; but the honing is uniform.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Norman Mailer American Novelist, Journalist
- Cynthia Ozick American Novelist, Essayist
- Raymond Chandler American Novelist
- Lionel Trilling American Critic
- Russell Hoban American Author
- Robert M. Pirsig American Writer
- Susan Sontag American Writer, Philosopher
- Lloyd Alexander American Writer
- Joyce Carol Oates American Novelist
- James Salter American Fiction Writer