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Where Sandbrook really makes his mark is in drily debunking some standard myths that have been propagated about the sixties. The concept of ‘suburban blues’ - a sense of alienation supposedly suffered by suburb dwellers - was a snobbish myth: most dwellers in the ‘burbs’ were happy with their lot
Phillips avoids discussing florid insanity as such, rather like Foucault said psychiatry would always be bound to do. Unkindly, one suspects that real madness would freak Phillips, with his measured tones and carefully constructed paradoxes and reversals.
Workers from the Local 100 of the TWU were used as a stage army in the service of the union leadership’s negotiation strategy, without being engaged in discussions about what could be hoped for or expected. Then, as the going got tough, the strike was called off.
Wheen is not at pains to justify his faith in the Enlightenment; he presents this book as a catalogue of modern errors, not as popular philosophy.
Johnson eschews questions of meaning and content, focusing instead on the ‘cognitive complexity’ of popular culture, as well as the wider determinates of this complexity.
Today’s Tory party seems a colourless, rudderless crew, a sorry affair of opportunist modernisers (folks who live in Notting Hill but whose spiritual home is Islington), traditionalists, fearful fence-sitters and don’t knows.
What’s new about the ‘new egalitarianism’ is that equality has become an issue largely removed from the field of political contestation, and is no longer conceived of as a zero-sum game of social redistribution.
The standard autobiographical techniques - chronological narrative, self-searching analysis of the key events in the subject’s life, critical refutation and score-settling - are here eschewed in favour of mini-essays on Dylan’s favourite writers, musicians and influences.
Yates’ charting of the descent of American consciousness away from the cliché of pioneering, blind optimism and exuberance to weary insecurity and alienation is an achievement that reaches beyond any genre.
Drawing on a wealth of literature from areas as diverse as management theory, economics and sociobiology, Talbot attempts to construct a pluralist view in the spirit of EO Wilson’s Consilience, in which the human mind is considered neither as a blank slate nor as entirely socially determined.
Like the contemporary self, the mystical mind which believed its soul would last for eternity was not a rational mind, yet that soul also reflected a progressive human trait which has been lost in our contemporary times – the sense that humanity at least shares some common interests.