The World of Communication
Finally, after 1,000 years of steady technological progress they created electronic toys that amused their constituencies. The electronic toys made life enjoyable; everyone felt less need to talk to one another. Now each one is supplied his of her own electronic gadget, and isolated. This was counted as a victory, for the principle of individualism. And they communicated through the gadget itself – which was called social networking. They weren’t really living – they were just going through the motions.
Now there were some, naturally, who persisted in making trouble. These are the “Wall Street” group, the Occupation New York folks, for example. But the police, largely recruited from society’s misfits, have their methods to keep the protesters in line.
On compuses, radicalism is prominent. It is surprising how much so: not on the part of the students but rather on the part of teachers. They seem to have come to a consensus that radical approaches work best when it comes to finding viable options, for a vibrant intellectual culture.
They speak in whispers. Although they are there, they are part of a “polite” tradition of the Western culture, the same tradition that, heavens to Betsy, would not think of interfering with National Socialism – not until 1939. Not until thousands of Jews and trade unionists had already had the shit beat out of them, or, killed. (This is confirmed in a book I recently saw, from 1934!)
And as for these radicals in academia, the rest of the world arranges the furniture so as to easily ignore what the college teachers are up to. The academics do not seem to mind; they don’t seem to.
For example, when Bill Clinton nominated Lani Guinier to be something http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lani_Guinier everybody immediately came together to get her out of the society in general, or the general life of the society, and create their own little enclosure movement to get her back where radicals belong in academia. And the academics themselves seem to be in accord with this.
They’ll be speaking, but very, very softly, in a whisper as it were – like a soft breeze rustling through the willows. This way they also avoid confrontations also with one another. Everyone is polite to everyone else; this is the only way the culture has ever know how to behave, as if all we have is our civil behavior – and that is the table around which everyone gathers, to become confused. And, after all, academic work requires long hours of study. So, everybody has to be nice, and where does that leave us?
“Autumn in New York”
New York is outrageously beautiful. The way to see it, if not in photographs, is to get up enough money first, and then, when you go, you can go from museum to restaurant to theatre without even having to think about the poor much less respect them. Yet remember as well New York is a hotbed for liberalism —there’s a tradition of diversity. Or as Jay Carney, press secretary to the president would say, “a great American tradition”—of diversity. Maybe he would say that. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/27/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney ]
I would even say that, given a solid background of history and tradition, the New York liberal reformer, as long as she is kept in her place, has a kind of zest or spice. Which of course is just one small part of the whole magic that is Broadway. And, it is known: the only place to see a Broadway play is Broadway!
So, then: why are these Wall St. “occupy” people ruining it? Is it a good thing or a bad thing that they are doing so?