Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization

Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization

Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization

Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization

Excerpt

Twenty years ago, in 1935, Ezra Pound saw that the "education system" of most of the world, and of the United States in particular, was moving towards "the manufacture of robots and tame rabbits." Unfortunately, this horror is no longer in the future. The world of "robots and tame rabbits" is with us here and now; the student of 1960 is trained to look at everything with a sort of idiot simplicity; nothing has a cause, trends simply occur. But, above all, the student must never ask who is in whose pocket. Such a question when asked at all today is asked only at a superficial political level, nor is there any consideration of the fact that there are other means of bribery than straight cash payment, and more than one form of suffocation.

During its best years, from 1917 into the early twenties, the Little Review was a rare magazine, a place where you did not have to write an essay if a sentence would do. It was a place, the only place, where Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and Wyndham Lewis could appear all four together, without unnecessary delay. Pound, looking back in 1935, wrote: "Twenty years ago the little magazines served to break a monopoly, to release communication, mainly about letters, from an oppressive control, and they now wither on the stalk because they refuse to go on from where the late Henry James was interrupted." James had got to "money," money as an important element in society, worthy of serious consideration, but had got to it only at the end of his life. During the twenties and thirties the little magazines, purporting to deal with civilization, the arts and . . .

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