In brief

5th March 2004 at 00:00
I Love the Middle Mind. By Curtis White. Penguin. pound;12.99.

This is an infuriating book, in an endearing kind of way. It overstates its case, that for all of us in the United States and its dependent colonies the ability to think has already gone to hell in a handbasket. Its most interesting central point, that the nefarious misdeeds and destructiveness of foreign policy and environmental pillage are right out there in public discourse but denied true discussion precisely by being aired, is interesting and contentious. It is largely swamped, though, by numerous sideswipes at everything from "PC" (Professor White is black and able to fight his own battles just fine, thanks) to Disney to Noam Chomsky (whose anti-war message is neutered, apparently).

It's a funny book, sometimes intentionally, with its energetic mix of street slang and Eng-lit-crit jargon, and sometimes unintentionally, as when White grumbles that, sure, he says, he "likes" movies just like anyone else but, he asks, walking away from the cineplex, is that really the issue? Never see a film with this man. Instead, to challenge the unjust imperialist status quo, we should remember that true art, as practised by the poet Wallace Stevens, the pop group Radiohead and several obscure postmodern novelists, has the power to enable us to change everything for the better, just like that. Well, maybe on a college humanities course, but out here in the (I hesitate to say real) world, Chomsky looks the braver, sounder bet.

Victoria Neumark

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now