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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Reviewing this book abstract, I’m struck by what we’ve lost. I know that the Web and cable television exposes us to far more lectures and information distillation than the most vigorous chautauqua, but those two media are so impersonal and distant.

I can just picture being in a small town and hearing that Warren Harding is coming to give a lecture or that Carl Sandburg is going to read some of his poetry. The costs were minimal, but the experience would have been invaluable because of the cultural loneliness of rural America. This is the kind of scene that the book probably expands upon; I’ve heard a similar refrain from one of my history professors.

I am generally of the opinion that the less people I interact with the better, but I’m thinking that these sorts of intellectual events are best shared. I know there’s conferences and whatnot out there, but they’re so damned expensive—especially once travel costs are factored in. Perhaps a salon of some fashion would be interesting, informative, and useful. Hmm…