TRANSGRESSION AS REVELATON
[My wife and I] feel a sense of privilege for being right on the fault line between the past and the future. That fault line is where we have to live--all of us. It's more fun to be there where you take the risk rather than trying to drag people back to the past for safety sake.
Episcopalian Bishop Walter Righter
What other people reproach you for, cultivate.
It is yourself. Jean Cocteau
There has been a great deal of talk about the "dumbing" of America. There has also been a good deal of discussion about the decline of substance and the triumph of mindless style. And so, for a time, it seemed as if the American intellectual, so influential as a public voice in the 1930s through the 1950s, had vanished into the morass of ignorance, or at least was well on the way to extinction. Specialization, for all its achievements, has tended to bury public discourse and has turned social interaction into a closed set of narrowly defined relationships within various isolated groups, with little affinity for other groups. Alliances are commonly defined in terms of specialization or social identity: built on attitudes about profession, class, ethnicity, religion, or gender.
Now, after almost four decades of a disasterous silence from the kind of intellectuals whose overviews are not entirely bound to special interests, Robert S. Boynton has announced in the Atlantic Monthly