Wednesday, August 08, 2012

An Essayist Who Gets It

The fact that Roger Kimball's name isn't well-known is an indicator.

...Kimball’s survey articulates his two great themes. The first is the need to battle what he has elsewhere called “cultural amnesia”; the struggle requires recovering the great thinkers and writers of the past, “the salient figures whose works helped weave the great unfolding tapestry of our civilization” but “whose voices have been drowned out by the demotic inanities of pop culture or embalmed by the dead hand of the academy.” Second is the importance of “discrimination,” or what Kimball calls “the gritty job of intellectual and cultural trash collector,” in which one identifies and disposes of the faddish and politicized ephemera that make up most of the art and writing celebrated by the bien-pensant elite. These efforts are essentially educational. As Kimball writes in his preface, today’s students are taught to “regard education as an exercise in disillusionment” and to “look to the past only to corroborate their sense of superiority and self-satisfaction.”...


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