A postapocalyptic America reverts to slavery, but guilt-ridden overlords offer their chattel "meditation classes and mini-seminars on certain motivational principles we can all put to work in our lives." When it's successful, it's searingly so - the acute eye of an Alice Munro matched with the wild-minded sensibility of a Kurt Vonnegut.It's no wonder that Saunders has racked up numerous awards, as well as a recent Mac Arthur "genius" grant."Does very stupid media make us more tolerant toward stupidity in general?
The opening piece is a contemplation of the thought-cheapening force of modern media, vividly metaphorized as a man at a party with a megaphone, loudly yammering away on pseudo-topics ("We're eating more cheese cubes - and loving it! By virtue of volume, this Megaphone Guy can't help but dominate the conversation, but, more important, the very concept of conversation, of intellectual engagement, erodes away, drowned in the incessant stream of simplisms.
"He has, in effect, put an intelligence-ceiling on the party," Saunders writes.
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