Monday, May 22, 2006

The Ever-Dying American Dream

From a late review of Gen Debt last week in The Oregonian: "Kamenetz's underlying sense of entitlement to some lost guarantee -- the American Dream being guzzled by the boomers before our very eyes -- can be grating..."

From an essay by Meghan O'Rourke in Slate: "... what Philip Rahv once said was the ur-aim of American literature: to contemplate "the discrepancy between the high promise of the American dream and what history has made of it.""

I'm not saying that my book's a work of literature, but the theme is an enduring one.

3 comments:

Xhevahir said...

Tocqueville:
"One of the distinguishing characteristics of a democratic period is the taste that all men then have for easy success and present enjoyment. This occurs in the pursuits of the intellect as well as in all others. Most of those who live in a time of equality are full of an ambition equally alert and indolent: they want to obtain great success immediately, but they would prefer to avoid great effort. These conflicting tendencies lead straight to the search for general ideas, by the aid of which they flatter themselves that they can delineate vast objects with little pains and draw the attention of the public without much trouble."

Anya said...

Well said.
"The immortal words of George Sanders, the blackmailing slacker in "Rebecca," "I'd like to have your advice on how to live comfortably without hard work," seem to be imprinted on mankind's shared DNA. Throughout the classical and medieval ages and the Renaissance, labor was regarded as a lowly activity: man's highest occupation was disinterested contemplation of religious or philosophical subjects. This belief was made possible by an aristocratic, pre-capitalist organization of labor, in which the vast majority of humankind labored so that the enlightened few might indulge in Aristotelian theoria or the vita contemplative of the Middle Ages."

Anya said...

Salon story