Monday, August 28, 2006
Another Blind Empire Falling
Of course, the reason it takes so long for him to move through a subject is because he entwines other threads along with his main points. It is often skillful and beautiful writing and, as a writer, I admire it on that level. On another level, I keep wanting him to be more concise, hone the text a little more. That's my editor voice talking. I suspect (and this is not a final judgment since I've only read a small percentage of the whole) these two volumes could have been distilled into one but it's difficult to say for sure and I don't see a lot of obvious flab to the text.
A more satisfying read (for me at least) is Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berman. After catching the last half of a segment on BookTV/C-SPAN, I thought it would be worth reading and it is. He does not offer solutions but describes why he thinks America is on the declining side of empire. I could quibble with the relative importance of some of the symptoms he notes but not with the general overall picture he paints. Seek it out. Don't expect happy talk though. I think it's better to face grim truths than pretend they don't exist. Paradoxically, I feel much better when someone articulates truths I observe but never hear anyone talking about, particularly not in the media. When no one talks about events and trends that seem obvious to me, it can make me feel a little crazy, a little outside of consensus reality. This is a danger of our mass media: so focused on the immediate and finite events that a broader analysis is never even attempted.