Archive for The Writer’s Notebook

Perspectives: Stabilizing Capitalism by Creating Zombie Comsumers: One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society by Herbert Marcuse (Beacon Press Edition, Boston, org. published 1964 pb.)  I read One-Dimensional Man as a philosophy student at the University of Kansas during the mid-1960s. As a reader of Hegel, Marx and Freud,…

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Perspectives: Plutocracy, Oligarchy, Demagoguery: America Abandons its Democracy–Lewis Lapham and Noam Chomsky on our Present Horrors

Perspectives: Plutocracy, Oligarchy, Demagoguery: America Abandons its Democracy Books: Age of Folly: America Abandons its Democracy by Lewis H. Lapham, Verso, London/New York, 2016 ($29.95)  What Kind of Creatures are We? by Noam Chomsky, Columbia University Press, New York, 2016 (Chapter 3: What is the…

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Am I Alone Here? by Peter Orner

Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner (Catapault, New York, 2016, $16.95) Peter Orner is the author of two novels, two story collections, and a number of articles and essays in important journals and newspapers. He…

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Sorrows of the Digital World: The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a Technological World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen, MIT Press, Cambridge/London, 2016. “And the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. No one…

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Sorrows of the Digital World and “The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu (or, The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads!)

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2016. $28.95 At a recent small college basketball game I was in the stands with perhaps twenty or thirty other fans, most, unlike me, parents of…

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The Sorrows of the Digital World: An Expanding Bibliography for a Brave New World

  Yes, the sorrows of the digital world indeed. Mommy on the cell phone while walking with her baby daughter in the park on a beautiful morning, the guy driving seventy-five texting and staring at his lap.  Generals and Billionaires running the show on Twitter….

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Perspectives: Reality Hunger by David Shields

  Perspectives: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, by David Shields, Alfred A. Knopf, New York (2010)   We must accept the premise, so important to David Shields, that our society and culture now is “unbearably manufactured”, riddled with spectacle, innuendo, falsehood, celebrity, misinformation and data smog….

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Second Look Books: The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch

American Demagogue: The Why and How of Donald J. Trump Books discussed in this essay: The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch, (W.W. Norton and Company, New York) (1995) Listen, Liberal or Whatever Happened to the Party of the…

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Second Look Books: A Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge

 Second Look Books: Hole in the Sky by William Kittrege (Alfred A. Knopf, $20) Review first published Sunday, August 30, 1992.   It seems impossible, but there is a place in America that is so empty, so terrifyingly beautiful, that one, on seeing it for the…

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Ray Bradbury–Imitation is the First Step

For ten years I wrote at least one short story a week, somehow guessing that a day would finally come when I got out of the way and let it happen…Ten years of doing everything wrong suddenly became the right idea… I hasten to add…

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