Paging Walter Lippmann

Walter LippmannReading Uncle Walt’s 1922 opus Public Opinion in between term papers and studying for finals…

Here’s a morsel from Chapter 3: Contact and Opportunity

“There are portions of the sovereign people who spend most of their spare time and spare money on motoring and comparing motor cars, on bridge-whist and post-mortems, on moving-pictures and potboilers, talking always to the same people with minute variations on the same old themes.

They cannot really be said to suffer from censorship, or secrecy, the high cost or the difficulty of communication. They suffer from anemia, from lack of appetite and curiosity for the human scene. Theirs is no problem of access to the world outside. Worlds of interest are waiting for them to explore, and they do not enter.”

How do we instill in a citzenry the “appetite and curiosity for the human scene”?

Is this the responsibility of educators or the media? Or is a lack of curiosity just a function of a consumerist society based upon spectacle? We seem to be far more curious about the spectacle than we are about reality.

Check out Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle (here’s a new translation) and/or Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (Google Print version here).