For all of my Design-Obsessed Peeps -- Day 4/TEXT + IMAGE (Gore Vidal)

  • Gorille/WaltonFord


Day 4 of our peep-show dedicated to TEXT + IMAGE continues with the master essayist of our age, the premier man of letters, and without hesitation, my all-time favorite --Gore Vidal, who wrote:
     Obviously, there is a great deal wrong with our educational system, as President Reagan recently, and rather gratuitously, noted.  After all, an educated electorate would not have elected him president.  It is generally agreed that things started to go wrong with schools after the First World War.  The past was taught less and less, and Latin and Greek ceased to be compulsory.  Languages were either not taught or taught so badly that they might just as well not have been taught at all, while American history books grew more and more mendacious, as
Frances FitzGerald so nicely described (America Revised, 1979), and even basic geography is now a nonsubject.  Yet the average "educated" American has been made to believe that, somehow, the United States must lead the world even though hardly anyone has any information at all about those countries we are meant to lead.  Worse, we have very little information about our own country and its past . . . 
                                                                                                The New York Review of Books (Oct 27, 1983)

Ignorant of our past, and unwilling to accept the reality of an uncertain future, millions of us divert our energies in pursuit of vacation homes and designer bags, reality shows and computer games, divisive attacks against the poor and powerless such as the desperate immigrants who pick our crops, clean our homes, and tenderly care for our young.  Nature too suffers as a result of our blind ignorance and an irrational race for supremacy.  Mountain-tops and valleys disappear in the quest for energy, precarious species become extinct save for caged specimens, and the rich declare themselves poor to the consternation of the starving masses who number approximately 31% of the world's population.  I believe that the overwhelming poverty that renders the hungry incapable of feeding themselves, is similar to the poverty of spirit that propels us (as well as other industrialized nations) into continuing the game of them versus us, ours versus theirs. Sadly, the border fences get built higher and wider, from shore to shore; the toll of the Iraqi war rises daily and is now at 33105 dead and the wounded estimated at over 100,000 persons; the cougar (puma concolor) is quickly becoming only a myth as destruction of habitat in Florida threatens its very existence.  

Somber facts indeed, and very little time is left for us to remain disengaged from our almost certain demise.  Make a difference and join any of the groups dedicated to social change, and by this I mean 'real' social change, not a new dress for church on Sunday, coupled with a striking sun-bonnet.  The Sierra Club, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, PFLAG, Doctors Without Borders, your local Lions or Rotary club are all eager to have you participate and contribute to a better future for all of us.


PS:  On Monday I saw a hummingbird in our back-yard, darting in and out of the water from the sprinkler.  I have to admit that it gave me a feeling of hope, and a glimpse at fleeting beauty.


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