I didn’t think I would be writing this post this morning. My back-up computer died last night. It was running very slowly and when I tried to restart took so long that I did an improper shut-down (i.e. turned off the power) and then it refused to come back. It would boot up to the black e-machine screen and that’s as far as I could get it. I gave up and read Proust.
I am re-reading Lydia Davis’s translation of Swann’s way, the first volume of Proust.Â I don’t remember finishing it. I honestly don’t remember reading it, but I have notes up through about a third of it. The new translation of Proust has a different translator for each of the seven volumes. It seems to me if I had finished the first volume I would have ordered the second. That’s my plan anyway. I tend to wait and order the next book I want to read by an author when I can see I am just about finished with the current one.
I get the distinct feeling that less and less people are reading books these days. I guess it’s not that big a deal. Book readers have always been a minority. Michigan is suffering under tons of budget cuts. Our Republican problems predate the country’s. Govenor Engler cut taxes and then on the eve of his last days in office cut education funding entirely. His idea was that if he cut the funding the next adminstration would have to figure out how to fund education. Schools in Michigan have been in trouble ever since then.
It’s so ironic, because I feel like schools in the USA in general do not do a good job of educating. I think it is directly related to the crisis of government and country we find ourselves in today. People tend to think of democracy as another word for capitalism these days. Democracy failed in Iraq. It never had a chance . Jeffersonian democratic theory says educate the people and they can govern themselves.
The United States population is uneducated. Reasoning capacity takes a back seat to consumerism and entitlement for me but not for thee. Our situation has a certain amount of logic to it. When there is a vacuum of coherence in government, state and local, it seems that people will be more likely to enter the situation for the wrong reasons (personal profit or agenda). People have lost a lot of the notion of representing citizens. Locally, I have contacted members of the state government and media with questions and comments. Surprisingly, I get responses that are argumentative. They point out the error of my ways or worse they don’t respond. Hmmm.
Right now, once you get into a position of power whether it is government or media or business, you exploit it no matter if you represent 51 % of voters or an even smaller per centage of your organization of choice (business, church, whatever).
The United States is about power right now not representation. It will probably stay that way as long as he or she with the most money wins (elections or anything else).
You can see that I am glad to have my little pulpit back.
I think books can sustain ideas and propositions in ways that inform things like governing and life choices. There is wisdom in books not advertisements or blips on the screen. Just my opinion.