Friday, October 25, 2019

The Numbing of the American Mind: Culture as Anesthetic Essay -- Thoma

ENLIGHTENED SURRENDER How many essays have been written about American culture? How many books dedicated to the intense scrutiny of every aspect of our modern society? Countless thoughts, countless theories—many of them lost in the very chaos that the authors spent 300 pages explaining. There are always solutions, which their creators seem entirely convinced will solve this mess, but the truth is that these ideas are often impractical and unrealistic. But no one writes an entire book complaining without offering us something at the conclusion. Sociologists parade around with their own superfluous speculations, conflicting and contradictory, but this must be better than unresolved pessimism, right? Thomas de Zengotita doesn’t seem to think so. In his essay, â€Å"The Numbing of the American Mind: Culture as Anesthetic,† he discusses the perceptual overload of Americans and the differing and indistinguishable levels of reality in which we exist. He claims that most people don’t know and can’t recognize what is real what is not. There are so many different kinds of reality—he lists sixteen out of many—and they have all become so intertwined into our lives that they bleed together. As a result of these discrepancies, we can no longer appreciate the differences between what is important and what isn’t. Using modern examples like the events of September 11th and the media’s response to them, de Zengotita explains how we’ve become numb to things â€Å"so enormous, so horrific, so stark, that [we believe] the great blob of virtuality that is our public culture would be unable to absorb it† (342). It is a typical review of American society— pessimistic and daunting—though his sarcastic humor and nonchalant attitude are... ...ous diagnosis of a serious condition. Would we rather not know about it because it happens to be incurable? This goes much deeper than subject matter, or political bias, the usual folder. It determines the way we frame everything . . . the attitude we bring to living in this world of surfaces. (de Zengotita 350) No amount of truth can ever bring about change on the grand scale, but the way you chose to function within it will define the difference between prisoner and progressive. In expressing a helplessness to do nothing, de Zengotita has accomplished more than all the theories in the world. â€Å"It was to have been the end of irony, remember?† (de Zengotita 340) Works Cited Zengotita, Thomas de. â€Å"The Numbing of American Minds: Culture as Anesthetic.† 2002. The Text Wrestling Book. Eds. Donna LeCourt, et al. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt, 2005. 340-351.

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