Sunday, July 4, 2010

Daniel Boorstein - The Americans: The Democratic Experience

The meta-narrative: that the century following the Civil War was an Age of Revolution in which the meaning of community, of time and space, of present and future was being continually revised.  It was a century in which a new democratic world was being invented and discovered by Americans.

This is the story of how we got to where we are.  The creation of the everywhere community.  Mass production, chain stores, suburbia, everywhere you go, there you are.  The same commodities, the same merchandisers.  The same television shows, the same radio shows.  The homogenization, the democratization of American society.  For Boorstein it is a good thing.  Remember those Popular Science reels that showed us what the future was going to be like?  The glorification of the gadget, gee whiz science.

But by the end even Boorstein seems a little out of breath.  The pace of scientific and technical progress has become so fast, is it out of our control?  Has it become its own power?

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