The satire comes off not as comic genius but as another example of the mindset that leads to populist revolts.
“You can have enlightenment for ninepence but you prefer ignorance.” That’s you. You can do better, and God help your sorry-ass soul if you don’t try.
I’m still not above watching vapid reality shows about meth-addicted Tiger tamers. Nor am I dismissive of the compelling fare we find on streaming media — we are living in a golden age of middlebrow culture. Certainly the world doesn’t need another writer praising the virtues of Moby-Dick. And that’s not my point. Sitting here in isolation, I come to praise the elemental beauty and depth that can be found only in great works of literature. Moby-Dick demanded my attention, imagination, and time. — David Harsanyi on reading Moby Dick
“There is much that is in need of reform in American life. But reform is not very much in fashion among populists, who are ensorcelled by the much more exciting prospect of revolution — and destruction.”
This may be the real gift of this book and its real magic, Susan Petrone’s moving us from indifference to understanding and caring for others and our world, and that’s a very real transformation.
The bulk of the book is classic Brookhiser. Short, pithy and insightful description of history and its impact/significance. But it is also an argument about American nationalism and the need for remembering who we are and how we got here.
What an odd little book. Bills itself as noir but veers close to black comedy. It is French so perhaps I should have expected weird … :-)