EBOOK The Middle Mind
Trudy gEned Heck he s even disappointed in his friends level of enlightenmentHe mentions the need not to water important subjects d It s hard to know how to rate this book On the one hand I think the author s basic ideas are extremely important we need to think change and not just be content to passively consume media in order to feed our human need for creativity But I would have found his arguments much convincing had heiven examples Instead each point is based on a single rant against some moviecriticshowetc that the author doesn t like I wasn t familiar with many of these so I could only take his word for it It s like the book was based on just a handful of rants upon which a theory was constructed it seemed weak Also his disdain for Nick Hornby s music reviews bothered me He looks down at Hornby because Hornby wants music to et this SOUND GOOD scoff I did like his movie interpretations but on the whole he comes across as a pretentious snob Much of this book was very abstract and theoretical without sufficient examples and I had a hard time focussing His definition of The Middle Mind was a bit vague as well I feel like the author had a bunch of ood ideas but they would be much better as tightly edited and theoretically expanded articles the book was based on articles in the first place I The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T. Doss guess I had no real urge to read this wasn t even considering reading this approaching the weekend turnbuckle and then one hasty ill considered decision made in the leg hopping throes of imminent dumpage meant that Barrett and Kagan received a notice of postponement while I attended myself as uickly as possible mind to this infuriatingly readable thing an ode toiving Terry Gross and Charlie Rose and all of their cud chewing middle minded followers an overdue beat down in the hope of snapping them out of their stupor White here reminds me somewhat of John Ralston Saul and with than a passing nod to William Henry s In Defense of Elitism that highbrow brow beating from an irascible critic singing a similar song in a different key though the author here is scattershot in his tactics if enerally coherent in his strategy than the wordier Saul Aside from how their scorn for those power rabbing imagination stultifying elites manifests itself in ways both complimentary and antithetical to each other and both make a pitch at the populist angle while displaying a confused understanding of those masses they desire to reach White finds eual fault in the complicity of that average citizen whereas JRS deems the latter to have been mislead misdirected and misused by those specialized seneschals of the late capitalist consensus And to a reater degree than his Canadian peer in the pungent polemic White evinces consistency in his role as a hit and miss artist at times achieving both within the same paragraph let alone on the same pageAt the very outset White declares the tripartite oals he set out to achieve in the publishing of this thin slice of well bred to make something beautiful to misbehave and to be persuasive IMO the first two were realized to an appreciable amount but it s in the third where he falters As other reviews have pointed out there is much wisdom and much that is of worth in what White has to say about the leveling down of both American culture and the visions of what the country can and should be but he s also prone to talking out of his ass proves insufferable in his own cloistered vantage point and boldly passes judgement upon subjects he d have been better advised to consider at further length Let s face it just try to imagine what a nation filled with citizens raised since childhood on postmodern theory the endpoint of one of White s bang shang a lang proposals would actually be like you d reuire an hour of deconstruction and histrionic argument just to Prisoner of Midnight get someone to pass the ketchup Indeed it is conceivable that the opposing case could be made that a certain level of ignorance andor apathy on the part of theeneral populace is a necessary ingredient for the functionality of a capitalist democracy comprising some three hundred plus millions of people Further it is uite clear from White s own words that he some three hundred plus millions of people Further it is uite clear from White s own words that he it obvious that his preferred society one in which the citizenry seriously undertake to educate themselves in order to be able to assess what is transpiring within on a daily basis and contemplate what course changes should be implemented as well as attuning themselves to cultural and societal freuencies that would unleash the fertility and harness the potentiality of each citizen s imaginative and creative abilities would arrive at conclusions similar to his own He evinces little understanding of the reality that a Middle Mindless populace might find themselves drawn towards ideologies and cultural memes and creative directions antithetical to what White would prefer a failing common amongst thinkers that i have espied throughout amongst thinkers that I have espied throughout ages whatever location on the ideological spectrum they may occupy Now with all of that said I would still endorse White s book Aesthetically it proved a pleasure to imbibe and whatever the failures White has suffered within they are failures he absolutely understood were potential within his wide ranging plaint To a certain extent they are
Revealing To Whit Earlyto whit early he describes the postmodern professoriate as being a Dungeons Dragons cult In a footnote White admits that he is unclear about this metaphor s accuracy and in poin. Logy and religionThe Middle Mind is pragmatic plainspoken populist contemptuous of the right's narrowness and incredulous before the left's convolutions It wants to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has bought an SUV with the intent of visiting it It even understands in some indistinct way how that very SUV spells the Arctic's doomThe Middle Mind is not about left or right highbrow or lowbrow academia or pop culture; in fact it pervades society without discrimination The danger is not in a specific point of view but rather in how the Middle Mind thrives in the common BOSH!: The Cookbook: Simple Recipes. Amazing Food. All Plants. ground of unuestioned mediocrity All we seem to ask about th. Curtis White does not clearly define the Middle Mind or clearly explain Why Americans Don t Think for Themselves For example he does not define an Upper Mind or a Lower Mind and he does not explain how Americans think for someone other than themselves Much is unclear in this rambling jumble which includes little sociological or scientific data to support whatever claims it makes Basically it seems that the Middle Mind is represented by a liberal who doesn t challenge the status uo To rise above the Middle Mind you should be a progressive who rejects the status uo Forget conservatives whom White might put in the No Mind camp Popular culture is bad because it supports the Estabishment Counter culture isood because it subverts the Establishment Is it a coincidence that White was in San Francisco in the 1960sWhite does makes it very clear what he likes and doesn t like If you don t like what he likes you mired in the Middle Mind White likes Wallace Stevens Jacues Derrida Theodor Adorno Noam Chomsky Howard Zinn Michael Moore Theodore Roszak and progressive alternative artists White also likes Molly Ivins Andrei Codrescu and David Foster Wallace all of whom provided cover blurbsWhite does not like popular culture television capitalists corporations conservatives the military politicians anything related to the George W Bush administration Ronald Reagan Harold Bloom William Bennett and Dinesh D Souza White spends much space in the book staking his claim for the American military industrial technocratic empire as a disaster machine White comments on the media blacklisting of Chomsky and Zinn as if Chomsky didn t have books in every Borders and Barnes Noble and as if Zinn didn t have the bestselling history book and a profitable capitalist industry in progressive People s History books While the book sometimes focuses on the cultural Middle Mind it often slips into the political Middle MindWhite s solution to the poorly defined problem of the Middle Mind is thought imagination and the sublime Examples of the sublime are Marshall McLuhan s The Mechanical Bride which yearns for what it can t adeuately express and David Lynch s work Lynch is sublime in part because he is inarticulate He really has no idea what he s trying to say White does not seem to believe that people in the US are already allowed to be creative imaginative and thoughtful It frustrates White that people embrace popular culture rather than reject it If the people rejected the popular culture then what would the popular culture be It also frustrates White that so many people prefer to think for themselves rather than think just like White would prefer eg progressively In summary if people don t think like White they must not be thinkingWhite makes a Confessions of an Air Ambulance Doctor good point that academic Cultural Studies flattens distinctions betweenreat art and mediocre art between Milton and Madonna White applies this criticism to shows like Terry Gross s Fresh Air and Charlie Rose s show which often interview Mr. Jelly's Business great talents and mediocre talents with eual admiration That could make an interesting essay and I say this as a big fan of Fresh Air However rather than elaborate on this Whiteoes on to really criticize such shows for being a threat to no one nowhere that is they represent the Middle Mind because they don t fulfill White s preferred function of criticizing the popular culture and status uo White criticizes Cultural Studies and popular shows for being institutionalized and supporting the capitalist popular cultureAfter discussing Cultural Studies White reviews Spielberg s Saving Private Ryan which he disliked because it was crypto fascist and the Radiohead record Kid A which he liked because it Was Not Made To Meet Commercial ExpectationsIt Is Amusing When not made to meet commercial expectationsIt is amusing when Writes This About Saving Private this about Saving Private I have been surprised that my friends intelligent sophisticated people on the whole eg progressives had no idea what I was talking about when I elaborated my understanding of the film s lesson In short my ominous conclusion was that they didn t know how to read the film That is to say they didn t know how to abstract the integument of structure from a piece of narrative art in order to begin to talk about how the thing means ie creates an ethical world Imagine White s friends
Anxiously Brushing Up Onbrushing up on before seeing any movie with himWhite said in an interview Basically I don t watch tv for the same reason that I don t drive nails into my frontal lobe In a time when much of the nation s art is presented through television one would think that someone writing about art would be sure to be familiar with it One could imagine a cultural critic of fifty years ago saying I don t listen to modern music for the same reason that I don t drive nails into my frontal lobe A conservative view that is at odds with White s theme Does White watch Internet content or read Internet blogs Where does White think the youth of today express their viewsIf you are a progressive Thinker who believes your friends and fellow citizens are inferior culturally and politically then you may enjoy this book Rated one star for the critiue of Cultural Studies and one star for the funny look at Saving Private Ryan The first few dozen pages seem really promising but it s all downhill from there He comes off as talking out his ass about half the time and if you don t like the same bandsacademic theoristsradio programs as he does then you clearly aren t enlight. What do George W Bush the Ivory Tower Steven Spielberg and Terry Gross have in commonDoes a political scandal make for 6 1/2 Body Parts (Body Movers, good news copyDoes network programming allow us to unwind from a day's workDoes the art at the local museum make for pleasant cocktail conversationAn unflinching and wry look at the dumbing down of the American imaginationIn thisroundbreaking and incisive exploration acclaimed social critic Curtis White describes an all encompassing and little noticed force taking over our culture and our lives White calls this force the Middle Mind the current failure of the American imagination in the media politics education art techno.