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Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Optimist Has Not Left The Building

Although I've never actually done a tally, I'd estimate about 20% of my almost 1700 published blog posts have cited books that have moved me in some way.

I finished "The Death Of Truth" (2018) by Michiko Kakutani months ago. Ever since, I've wished her book was the first I'd ever mentioned here. My faulty reasoning? Perhaps, had Kakutani's book been my first unequivocal recommendation, more people would take my evangelism seriously and, in turn, read a book subtitled "Notes On Falsehood In The Age of Trump." I say this knowing well how confirmation bias steers all of us away from information that doesn't support our beliefs. But I'd be a moral coward if I didn't use this puny forum to direct more readers to such an important book.

" … a disregard for facts, the displacement of reason by emotion, and the corrosion of language are diminishing the very value of truth, and what that means for America and the world."

Aside from the historical perspective, erudition, and research that give it heft, this book brims with passages like the one above, many containing triptychs that can stop any discerning reader cold. And though Kakutani's subtitle is guaranteed to alienate those clinging to alternative facts, anyone who venerates the 60's - a nostalgic sinkhole I've fallen into many times - prepare yourself. This talented writer traces our cultural fondness for relativism - and the mendacity that fits that garbage like a glove - back to the "New" Left. Kakutani is even harder on the post-modernists. All this to say there's plenty of blame to go around.

I read "The Death Of Truth". Then, it wouldn't leave me alone but I couldn't figure out a way to do it justice. Then I read the Op-Ed in yesterday's NY Times by a White House insider. Hope returned and my strategy emerged.

1 comment:

  1. I know you have no interest in keeping pace with the Now Read This Book club sponsored by the PBS News Hour and the NYTimes. Therefore I will bring you up to date anyway, just to annoy you. Here are the past selections, all of which I have read and enjoyed.
    Jan 2018: SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward
    Feb 2018: KLLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON by David Grann
    Mar 2018: EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid
    May 2018: EDUCATED: A MEMOIR by Tara Westover
    Jun 2018: LESS by Andrew Sean Greer
    Jul 2018: PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee
    Aug 2018: WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY by Lesley Nneka Arimah
    I’m waiting to get my hands on this month’s book, EARNING THE ROCKIES by R.D.Kaplan.
    I suspect it will have your name written all over it.