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Vulgarity and Consciousness

This is from Robert Grudin, author of Time and the Art of Living (one of my all time favorite books):
...only the word 'vulgarity' can describe the particular combination of gullibility, ignorance and self-indulgence that characterizes the American marketplace, and only the word 'vulgarizing' can describe the various hucksters who exploit it. I also believe that the real opposite of vulgarity is not some highbrow notion of Sophistication (a word already vulgarized by marketers), but rather consciousness, pure and simple. Consciousness, the ability to be alert to important things and literate in them, is a kind of mental oxygen: an element without which people lose track of their own lives, and societies cannot renew themselves. Consciousness, to be sure, has its liabilities. When we focus only on the vulgarity of others, and without self-scrutiny, our consciousness can be as dangerous as ignorance. Figures as well known as Virginia Woolf, H. G. Wells and D. H. Lawrence have erred in this direction. But consciousness is well worth the risk, especially in times like these, when essential liberties - including even our access to information - are threatened by corporate greed and political interest.

Link: http://rgrudin.googlepages.com/

And now I'm going to get off the darned internet and get down to editing tomorrow's podcast.

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