Parking cones evincing polarization and/or anti-intellectualism.
Here’s an interesting article at Politico in which a bunch of opinion leaders offer their guesses about how the current trouble may lead to numerous (mostly positive) changes in society. Note the prominence of ideas and authors from our syllabus! “Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How.”
This article in the socialist quarterly Jacobin relates to some of our recent discussions. The author describes how these days the the upper middle class uses a moralizing sort of self-improvement to assert its superiority, just as did the Victorian bourgeoisie that presumed to challenge the old aristocracy for the mantle of cultural centrality. And the whole dynamic reminds me of the aspirations of mid-century American middlebrow culture that Jacoby traces in her chapter five.
We’ve read a bit about mid-century parents buying encyclopedia sets for their kids. In the short piece “Epiphany, with Encyclopedias,” author Eugene Linden describes the techniques he used to sell encyclopedias to aspiring middlebrow parents.
This NPR story relates to the Haidt and Rose-Stockwell article we’re reading next: “How Outrage Is Hijacking Our Culture And Our Minds.”
We’re heading in to a discussion of the highly polarized nature of American political discourse lately. There is some research suggesting that liberals and conservatives may differ in fundamental ways having to do with personality or even biology. A story in the L.A. Times reports on research showing conservatives are more fearful in general: “Why Conservatives are More Likely than Liberals to Believe False Information about Threats.” Other research suggests liberals and conservative actually have different brain structures, although one wonders whether those observed differences are cause or effect of political orientation.
This week we’re discussing conspiracism and the “paranoid style” in American politics. Here’s a humorous piece from way back in 2017 by (liberal) Garrison Keillor: “The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Against Me.”