30 June 2007

Updike on Modern America

John Updike is one of our most amazing writers. His new paperback, Terrorist, includes this brilliant little riff from one of the characters.

Bush complains about Putin turning into Stalin, but we’re worse than the poor old clunky Kremlin ever was. The Commies just wanted to brainwash you. The new powers that be, the international corporations, want to wash your brains away, period. They want to turn you into machines for consuming – the chicken-coop society. All this entertainment – Madam, it’s crap, the same crap that kept the masses zombified in the Depression, only then you stood in line and paid a quarter for the movie, where today they hand it to you free, with the advertisers paying a million a minute for the chance to mess with your heads.


[the TV programming – sports and comedies and talk shows] It’s slop. And Leno and Letterman, more slop. But the commercials, they are fantastic. They’re like Faberge eggs. When somebody in this country wants to sell you something, they really buckle down. They get intense. You watch the same commercial twenty times, you see how every second has been weighed out in gold. They’re full of what physicists call information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not finding a definition for information in the physics dictionary, Ron.

I can tell you that the reason I shut off the t.v. is that I noticed a HUGE change in my kids' behavior and work ethic when it was on. Especially after viewing consecutive cartoons shows and t.v. commercials. I noticed myself getting more and more vain and self conscious, too.

I'm just glad I was aware it was happening because not everybody is able to recognize the process. Some of us are just wired in that area.