American Consequences - September 2021


The friend of the enemies of social media is tedium. I hope it gets boring for everyone, and people realize they’re not getting anything out of it – other And in this increasingly fraught and angry atmosphere in America, that approach doesn’t work as well. It should speak to a moral part of the audience that they maybe hadn’t recognized or considered... Jonathan Swift was trying to draw attention to the tragic situation on the next island over, just miles away in a place ruled by Britain. And his text was the wake- up call. AA: Do you think everyone now is convinced that they’re a writer? Anyone can self-publish on Amazon, and all tweets or posts are technically than backlash from strangers and family. Irish children] . She was just in tears at how horrible this thing was. You know, a nice little farm girl from No place, Ohio. So there’s a chance that people won’t get it. But the limitation with satire (beyond missing the joke) is that it forces the audiences to contend with a moral point-of-view. It’s all about making a point.

P.J.: We’ve lowered the quality bar, for sure. I’m not certain how it could get much lower than Twitter. But I gather from things like TikTok that it can. Everybody’s an artist. Everybody’s self-realized. And, of course, nobody is edited. Listen, editors perform an essential function. And it’s not just amateur digital-content creators who are guilty of this – some of the older, more established, venerable newspaper columnists prove that point. There are lots of novelists who deserve an ax-wielding to their book. ZEITGEISTWARS AA: You’re a child of the ‘60s. I’ve thought about the hippies of Haight-Ashbury or Woodstock before and how they relate to the social-justice “wokesters” of today. How would you contrast these two? P.J.: If you’re looking for the key to the hippie-dippy movement, it was about drugs, not Vietnam. Of course, we didn’t want to go to the war in Vietnam. We were having a wonderful time. The woke trend is an offshoot of 1960’s social movements with an extreme political bent: The Weathermen, the Black Panthers.

AA: Abbie Hoffman?

P.J.: I suppose Abbie, but Abbie’s behavior with girls would get him canceled these days. I knew him – he was a severe Leftist but a fun guy. And that doesn’t seem to be part of the program these days, to be a fun guy... Or even to be a guy.

digital publications. Are you worried about the state of the English language in 2021, and is there still hope?


September 2021

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