Everybody Knows: Cynicism in America

Everybody Knows: Cynicism in America

Everybody Knows: Cynicism in America

Everybody Knows: Cynicism in America

Synopsis

"We are now living in the midst of the most cynical era in American history. In this biting and controversial analysis, William Chaloupka scrutinizes the cynicism that is our common condition, examining both its uses in the politics of backlash and resentment and its surprisingly positive aspects. Everybody Knows traces cynicism from its classical origins but emphasizes its recent emergence in American culture and politics, following a trajectory from H. L. Mencken to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to Fargo. Cutting neatly across ideological divisions, Chaloupka discusses the ways in which cynicism is rooted in all democratic politics and analyzes the role of the media - in particular, television news, political ads and speeches, and books such as E. J. Dionne's Why Americans Hate Politics and William Bennett's The Book of Virtues - in dissecting and encouraging cynicism." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost….

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows the captain lied.
Everybody got this broken feeling
like their father or their dog just died….

Everybody knows the deal is rotten:
Old Black Joe’s still picking cotton
for your ribbons and bows.
Everybody knows.

Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson,
“Everybody Knows”

Americans use names to mark events. the name “Monica Lewinsky” will forever refer to more than one young woman and more than a sequence of revelations about President Bill Clinton. As sure as “Watergate” now calls forth a cultural memory of abused power, “Monica Lewinsky” seems sure to mark a high-water moment for American cynicism.

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