cew (constance22) Wed 24 Dec 03 11:00
A lot less respect for educated people in the US (as opposed to Europe, South America, some parts of Asia). Instead, there's a Khmer Rouge-y chorus of orchestrated sneers, railings against the "elite," town against gown. Did the anticultural trend begin with Nixon and those nattering nabobs of negativism? Maoist Joe McCarthy? Not sure, but it's going strong. In Chile, workers from every class could quote Neruda with pride. Who's America's equivalent icon?
Curtis White (curtiswhite) Wed 24 Dec 03 11:36
Wow. One day to go and this conversation finally gets really interesting. Great posts everyone. Medieval barber surgeons were no doubt oppressed and no doubt alienated if you can buy into notions of human normativity. Marx referred to "natural children" when he wanted to refer to human capacity out from under capitalism. Bob Daniels: Like I said earlier, I'm as massey as they come. I was saved by sputnik and raised by hippies (metaphorically). Sorry you found the book tedious. I'm an intellectual and an artist, but I'd like to think I am those things not in a pedantic sense (why didn't you have to look up that word? Can't you imagine someone who would? What would you say to that person who didn't know the word pedantic? I don't mean to be confrontational. I actually think these would be good things to ask yourself.) but as a way of saying "Thought and art gave me a kind of life I couldn't imagine when I was growing up (quite absurd).") And I do think that attentions spans are part of the medium's message: we get dumber. Imagine, people like Hegel could compose feats of linear thinking that are impossible to conceive today. Cynthia: dumb and dumber? Coiro: Nice to hear from you again. Thought earlier nastiness had driven you from the fold. Your comments on one of my favorite movies goes right to the heart. I saw an Iranian movie resently that began by looking at a red wall and a faucet and a chair and maybe a flower for several very long and breathtaking minutes. Finally you just had to say, "Oh yeah, movies are a VISUAL art form." Look at Werner Herzog's movies and all the time he spends just looking at natural formations, like a mountain, forest, river, horizon. They become part of the drama. they are characters. That's smart in a way nearly nothing in American cinema is smart. Kill Bill? Forget it. Adolescents rule the roost here. Constance22: That's spot on. In the nineteenth century there were Hegel societies in Cincinnati and St. Louis and their membership was all working men. Railroad guys, factory guys sitting down after work to drink dark beer and contemplate the master/slave dialectic. the first and only general strike in the United States was in St. Louis in 1882 (?) and was led by German working men many of whom were also armchair philosophers and political theorists after Marx and Hegel. I'd love to talk to working people about Hegel, I think they need him. But I wonder if I'd escape with my life. That fact describes a social pathology that my book is very much about. The ideas we need are forbidden to us...and we do the forbidding. (Consider that too Bob.) As for our icon. P Diddy?
Curtis White (curtiswhite) Wed 24 Dec 03 11:38
bob daniels: You mention "axon." I used to know an axon. Not a very pleasant fellow. But, unhappily, he passed away a short time ago.
cew (constance22) Wed 24 Dec 03 11:49
Ooh. In synch. (I actually put in "P. Diddy?" in the first draft, then took it out.) Hegel societies? You're kidding! No, I know you're not kidding. Cripes, what has become of us?
cew (constance22) Wed 24 Dec 03 12:20
There is a real lust for dumbing-down in the Brave New Clear Channel Universe. Compare your basic US network newscast with one from Europe: there's a wealth of topics and facts available to them everyday cheese-eating surrender monkeys and their ilk that Americans aren't ever exposed to. Not to mention the Iraq War Actual Facts Blackout, where a massive percentage of the US populace is operating under a cultural chador of totally wrong impressions. Which is impressive.
Theodore C Newcomb (nukem777) Wed 24 Dec 03 16:59
Re: attention spans There have been plenty of studies to show that our children, who grew up in the PBS Sesame street format, have a radically different attention span than those of us from the 'old school'. They are used to having input at about a 8 second framework, as Sesame Street introduced something new at about that rate. Thus the 8 second rule for a web page to load.
Angie Coiro (coiro) Wed 24 Dec 03 17:14
True enough. But coincident occurence doesn't prove cause/effect.
C.E. Wilkinson (constance22) Thu 25 Dec 03 08:28
Variances in time-length of information presented is one thing; paucity of veracity in the information offered is quite another, and is, I think, what helps support the dumbing down of America.
Curtis White (curtiswhite) Fri 26 Dec 03 10:13
This, friends, is to be my last official post. I'll check in on a weekly basis for a while till things get quiet. Too quiet (as they used to say in cowboy movies). Constance: Nice to be in synch with someone every once in a while. Even if in this absurdly tech mediated format. (I was working this morning and writing about how our relations with near everyone else is mediated in one way or another so that the world appears full of phantoms. Other people exist as if in parallel universes. We don't know how to make contact. Do we need a medium? No! It was the medium and its message that got us into this situation. That and money. That's the other thing I was thinking about. How many of our relationships are mediated by money? Let's talk about wealth in those terms. I have a relationship with my students because I'm paid to do so. Etc.) Yeah, the Hegel societies were very real. You might even be able to find out about them with a google search. some research has been done. The eight second rule and its imaginable relationship to Sesame Street is really provocative. It's the sort of thing that even if it's not true is so rich that you run with it anyway just to see where it goes. You see, in the end you've been talking to a novelist. Best to you all. Curt
Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Fri 26 Dec 03 10:21
Best to you Curt! It's been too short and this has raised lots of questions and issues to explore. Thanks!
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 26 Dec 03 17:38
Thanks, Curtis, for visiting with us here. Do hang around as long as you like. Thanks, also, to all of you on- and off-Well who helped make this a valuable session in the Inkwell.
cew (constance22) Sat 27 Dec 03 06:04
Those fleeing the corpo-krypto-media-mass-worldview now take refuge in internet freedom: but once it's recognized as a source for power, how long will that last? Nice talking with you. Good luck.
Clare Eder (ceder) Sat 27 Dec 03 13:21
<scribbled by ceder Sat 27 Dec 03 13:22>
Teleological dyslexic (ceder) Sat 27 Dec 03 13:23
Thank you, Curtis, you have given us many insihgtful reflections. ;-)
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