A short history of the blues essay

It wasn't until the publication of Pynchon's gargantuan novel, Gravity's Rainbow, that people began to consider a significant literary connection between the two writers.

A short history of the blues essay

Not all of the unreason is partisan, as the anti-vaccination movement has shown. To be sure, the average American can sign his name more or less legibly, and can make out the sports headlines—but how many nonelitist Americans can, without undue difficulty, read as many as a thousand consecutive words of small print, some of which may be trisyllabic?

Instead he is concerned with attitudes. There are million Americans who have inhabited schoolrooms at some time in their lives and who will admit that they know how to read… but most decent periodicals believe they are doing amazingly well if they have circulation of half a million.

It may be that only 1 per cent—or less—of Americans make a stab at exercising their right to know. And if they try to do anything on that basis they are quite likely to be accused of being elitists.

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Many efforts at spreading knowledge—like the Chatauquas of the early 20th century, the educational radio programs of the 40s and 50s, and the public television revolution of the 70s and 80shave been ad hoc and nearly always imperiled by funding crises and the designs of profiteers.

Nonetheless, the widespread though hardly universal availability of free resources on the internet has made self-education a reality for many people, and certainly for most Americans.

But perhaps not even Isaac Asimov could have foreseen the bitter polarization and disinformation campaigns that technology has also enabled.

You can read the essay as a PDF here.

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A short history of the blues essay

In , scientist and writer Isaac Asimov argued in an essay that “there is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been.” That year, the Republican Party stood at the dawn of the Reagan Revolution, which initiated a decades-long conservative groundswell that many pundits.

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