American Vulgar: The Politics of Manipulation Versus the Culture of Awareness

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Counterpoint Press, 2006 - Political Science - 196 pages
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Robert Grudin is a lyrical philosopher. From "Time and the Art of Living" to "The Grace of Great Things" and "On Dialogue, " he has tackled the traditional subjects of classic philosophy with a beautiful prose style in work fueled by American pragmatism and metaphysical exploration.
In "American Vulgar, " Grudin examines postwar developments in American social consciousness, as we have veered from the nineteenth-century ideal of the commonwealth to the contemporary fixation on the individual -- what others have described as the "culture of narcissism." Grudin identifies how easily misled individuals can be by a class of professional manipulators -- politicians, marketers, advertisers, and the like. He demonstrates the calculated effort to diminish and demean broad national awareness, a project of vulgarization. Illustrating its effects in several areas of common daily life, he shows how this dumbing-down of the electorate has bred an epidemic and self-destructive ignorance.
Grudin believes that only a rebirth of individual awareness can repair this damage and in this book sets about to explore the avenues renewed consciousness may take to save individuals from the death of mass vulgarity. "American Vulgar" paints a distressing portrait, but leaves us with hope, offering several possibilities for repair and salvation.
 

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Contents

The Domains of Vulgarity
3
Waste and Wisdom
21
Polite Vulgarity American Complacency
29
Vulgarity Inc Vulgarity com
42
Vulgarity and Nature
54
A Footnote on Vulgarity and Crime
70
Consciousness As Liberation
77
The Education of the Vulgar
94
Vulgarity and Consciousness in the Novel
111
The Nature of Social Consciousness
125
The Conscious Life
143
Conclusion The Heart of the Labyrinth
151
Notes
161
Acknowledgments
189
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

ROBERT GRUDIN is a professor of English at the University ofROBERT GRUDIN is a professor of English at the University of Oregon. Oregon.

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