On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

American Excess
Not having a television set, much of what passes for popular culture escapes me but when the chatter reaches a crescendo and begins to grace the pages of respectable broadsheets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, one can't help but take notice of social phenomenons. MTV, who invented the genre of reality TV, has scored again with a social anthropological study of a subset of American youth - that of East-Coast Italian-Americans - in a new program called Jersey Shore.

The reality TV show set on this fatal shore of our Atlantic coast began airing earlier this month follows seven deeply tanned oversexed twenty-something Italian-Americans who self-described as guidos and guidettes plus one cast member who is not ethnically Italian but just appreciates the finer points of guidoism. These eight, and trust me eight is more than enough with this group, whose ages range from 21 to 28 shared a house for the month of August in Seaside Heights, New Jersey with MTV recording their exploits where no alcoholic beverage is safe in their seemingly endless pursuit of casual sex. These are individuals for whom life seems to be an eternal collegiate Spring Break vacation. Theirs is a hedonism matched by few; theirs is a brazen debauchery that simply would exhaust most of us. It has to be seen to be believed.

Whatever guidoism happens to be, it apparently includes copious use of hair products (one buys gel by the case), frequent visits to tanning salons (good thing the healthcare reform bill is levying a tax on their use though the aforementioned cast member has a tanning bed at home), fist pumping bravado, sheenly glossed lips that accentuate them for pouting, cologne galore, minimalist clothing (shirts seem optional for men), gyrating hips, tight six-pack abs (one cast member calls his "The Situation" which now doubles as his nickname) and a penchant for clubbing as a lifestyle. It is certainly an attitude and one not necessarily limited to Italian-Americans but perhaps more reflective of a sub-culture that is not uncommon in parts of the Northeast. The self-descriptive moniker of guido is new to me but having lived in Rhode Island and New York, the type is recognizable even if it seems a parody on steroids. Though set in Joisey, the six of the eight cast members hail from New York (three from Staten Island alone) with Rhode Island and New Jersey contributing one cast member apiece.

Not surprisingly, the show has raised a ruckus. The show has angered the more mainstream and venerable Italian-American organizations, upset New Jersey tourism officials, and has caused a few advertisers to skip away. André DiMino, the president of UNICO, the national Italian-American service organization, was upset by the use of the word guido. "It’s a derogatory comment,” DiMino told The New Jersey Star-Ledger before the show first aired. “It’s a pejorative word to depict an uncool Italian who tries to act cool.”

Then again the moniker is embraced by our egotistical eight with relish and pride: “I am a good-looking, well-groomed Italian who’s very, very good with the ladies,” boasts one. And not really different from other communities who have converted epithets into boasts. There are certainly plenty of gay men who self-describe as faggots and queens, for instance. One of the cast members, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi - a 22-year-old from upstate New York - put it like this: “I don’t take offense to it. I feel we are representing Italian-Americans. We look good. We have a good time. We’re nice people. We get along with everybody. I don’t understand why it would be offensive.” And as I noted not everyone in the cast is an Italian-American. Jenni “J-WOW” Farley, 23, a nightclub promoter from Franklin Square, Long Island, finds that “guido” is a cultural phenomenon that transcends race or ethnicity (according to the NJ Star-Ledger, she didn’t phrase it quite so precisely). I suspect that she is right in that it is a 'cultural phenomenon' but what does it say about American culture?

Again not surprisingly, the show has spawned volumes of commentary. To Simon Maxwell Apter of the tabloid blog Huffington Post, the show represents "the triumph of the American Dream, pure and simple" adding that the Jersey Shore is a "positively American creation, a celebration of tawdriness and uninhibited egotism that would be unheard of anywhere else." I'm not quite sure when vapidness and narcissism began to be celebrated so overtly as American virtues. More on the mark is Joshua David Stein of the New York Times who finds the show "nothing more than American Kabuki theater, a refreshingly solipsistic aesthetic world, a temporary coastal community that's a bulwark against normative American youth style." Mr. Stein goes on to opine that the Jersey Shore is American "regionalism at its best." I would add that is also American provincialism at its worst.

But if America is about the pursuit of happiness, then what can one really say? Are they not entitled to the choices they are making in life even if many of us find them lacking in morals and substance? Moreover, these individuals seem genuinely happy. Still I cannot help but wonder if it is we who have failed them. What does this say about our country?

We are all not meant to be rocket scientists but seriously how does anyone not know in which year the country declared independence? And is it any wonder that if the American educational system is producing such less than stellar results that we find ourselves out-competed in the global economy?

Among adults age 25 to 34, the US is ninth among industrialized nations in the share of its population that has at least a high school degree. In the same age group, the United States ranks seventh, with Belgium, in the share of people who hold a college degree. Yet 20 years ago we ranked first in the world in both these socio-economic metrics. Where we once ranked first in the world in the percentage of high school graduation rates, we now rank 18th. Over one third of American teenagers that start ninth grade do not finish high school. We are falling into relative backwardness.

This year the United States will invest $543 billion in education K-12. At all levels of education, the United States spends $11,152 per student. That's the second highest amount worldwide, behind the $11,334 spent by Switzerland. But our results speak for themselves. Given what the United States spends on education, our relatively low student achievement through high school shows that our elementary and secondary school system is clearly inefficient. And it is about to get worse as the second part of this essay will show.

American Recess
My second part of this story is sadder still. It is a tragedy now unfolding on another fatal American shore, the Pacific island state of Hawaii. From the Baltimore Sun comes a solid story aptly titled Trouble in Paradise:

Hawaii public schools are closed most Fridays, rats scurry across bananas in uninspected stores and there may not be enough money to run the next election.

About the only parts of the state untouched by the foul economy are its sparkling beaches and world-class surfing.

Hawaii's money troubles are creating a society more befitting a tropical backwater than a state celebrating its 50th anniversary and preparing to welcome President Barack Obama home for Christmas this week.

"There is community energy and outrage building up," said James Koshiba, a co-founder of the activist organization and Web site Kanu Hawaii, speaking about the cuts to education. "The people have to play a bigger role. Folks won't forget how this unfolds come election time."

-- Hawaii now has the shortest school year in the nation after the state and teachers union agreed to shutter schools for 17 days a year, leaving 171,000 students without class on most Fridays. Negotiations to reopen them collapsed last week.

-- Food establishments often go uninspected, a fact highlighted by an Internet video showing rats roaming freely across produce in a Honolulu Chinatown market. The state has just nine health inspectors on Oahu to handle nearly 6,000 markets and restaurants.

-- The state Elections Office said it may not be able to afford a pending special election, which would leave half of the state's population without representation in the U.S. House of Representatives until September 2010.

-- Homelessness is on the rise as mental health, child abuse, welfare and daycare programs run short on cash.

Budgets cuts have affected every part of island life with devastating consequences. In early December, budget cuts at a state hospital, where security was cut, may have been a factor in the escape of a 30-year-old accused child molester David True Seal, who was found not guilty because of insanity for the sexual assault and kidnapping of an 8-year-old girl on Maui in 2001, simply climbed over a 14-foot security mesh fence. He remains at large.

From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

The Department of Public Safety cut eight security guards at the Kaneohe hospital, Hee said. Those employees were replaced by private security guards who can't detain a patient once they are off hospital grounds, he said.

Assaults, whether verbal or physical, are occurring at the facility on a weekly basis, Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe) said.

On the day Seal escaped, three hospital staff members were assaulted by a patient, Hee said.

Okubo confirmed that there was an incident at the hospital the day Seal escaped, resulting in injuries to staff members, but she couldn't disclose details because of patient privacy rights.

Hee said the Hawaii Government Employees Association filed a lawsuit in October against the state because of unsafe working conditions at the hospital.

How bad is Hawaii's budget shortfall? Well in dollar terms about a billion dollars which isn't much compared to California's $41.8 billion dollar budget deficit but in percentage terms the situation is far graver. Hawaii is projected to have the second-largest shortfall of any state, percentage-wise, in the 2012 fiscal year, at 28.8 percent, behind only Arizona at 30.0 percent.

The budget crisis is perhaps affecting the state's public school system the hardest and where it is likely to have a more lasting impact. From Fox News:

At a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for more time in the classroom, his home state has created the nation's shortest school year under a new union contract that closes schools on most Fridays for the remainder of the academic calendar.

The deal whacks 17 days from the school year for budget-cutting reasons and has education advocates incensed that Hawaii is drastically cutting the academic calendar at a time when it already ranks near the bottom in national educational achievement.

While many school districts have laid off or furloughed teachers, reduced pay and planning days and otherwise cut costs, Hawaii's 171,000 public schools students now find themselves with only 163 instructional days, compared with 180 in most districts in the U.S.

The deal in Hawaii and has parents and education authorities up in arms, including families now scrambling to find day care for the off days. Parents of special-needs students are considering suing the state, and advocates believe the plan will have a "disparate impact" on poor families, ethnic communities and single parents.

"It's just not enough time for the kids to learn," said Valerie Sonoda, president of the Hawaii State Parent Teacher Student Association. "I'm getting hundreds of calls and e-mails. They all have the same underlying concern, and that is the educational hours of the kids."

The new contract, approved by 81 percent of voting teachers, stipulates 17 furlough Fridays during which schools will be closed, with the first happening Oct. 23. The teachers accepted a concurrent pay reduction of about 8 percent, but teacher vacation, nine paid holidays and six teacher planning days are left untouched.

The new agreement also guarantees no layoffs for two years and postpones the implementation of random drug testing for teachers.

Teachers probably wouldn't have voted for the contract if they had to work the same amount for less pay, paving the way for the shorter school year, said Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe. He also said the state couldn't get the necessary savings if teacher furlough days were scheduled for holidays -- or workdays with schools kept open.

Hawaii has the nation's only statewide school district, meaning that state government pays directly for education instead of self-supporting local school districts.

According to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2003 research, the average number of instructional days in Korea, Japan and China was over 221, with Australia, Russia, England and Canada all between 188 and 196 days. With the latest cuts, students in Hawaii could have up to 12 weeks less class time a year than those in East Asia.

The long-term effects of school cuts include lowering Hawaii's competitiveness and ability to diversify its economy. These cuts will keep Hawaii dependent on federal handouts and tied to an economy based on the military and tourism service economy. They all but insure low-paying jobs for the children of Hawaii's working families.

The wealthy will be just fine. They will still be able to send their kids to private schools. But working-class families will suffer. It is curious that GOP Governor Linda Lingle refused to consider an excise tax to help defer the $468 million shortfall in the education budget. It would be bad for business, she said.

In reading on the crisis in the Aloha state, I came across this quote in a piece by John Letman, a freelance writer who lives in Kauai, over at Truth Out.

On Oahu, Kyle Kajihiro, program director for the American Friends Service Committee, an international Quaker-founded nonprofit that works for development, peace programs and social justice, sees the current economic crisis as a pretext to cut programs for political or ideological reasons. He said the cuts are indicative of the state's priorities.

"I have to question why the defense budget keeps going up and up and schools keep getting cut. It's unconscionable." Citing the National Priorities Project, Kajihiro points out that since 2001 Hawaii residents have paid a $3 billion share of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "For that same money, Hawaii could have funded 54,718 elementary school teachers for a year," he said. Hawaii has around 13,000 public school teachers.

Funding trillion dollar wars limits options at home but perhaps that is what politicians want. For in failing to fund education properly and to tackle falling standards, we create a subclass of citizens who often have no choice but to join the US military so that they may be dispatched to distant fatal shores.

Tags: Afghanistan, American Culture, Education, Hawaii, Jersey Shore, new jersey (all tags)



Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

Money isnt the problem. What is the problem or part of is that there is not enough emphasis on math and science. We have high schools that are more concerned with offering classes to meet everyones desire instead of their educational need. We have Schools that are more concerned with diversity in classes rather than the importance of the subject matter.

We have parents who have no involvement in their childrens education.Parents who think that its not their responsibility to be active participants in their childs education. That is further complicated by the fact that in many households both parents work, making time spent with children and schoolwork limited.

Further, we have teachers unions that dont believe in merit. They believe that teachers have a right to employment based upon tenure rather than merit.

We have an underpaid teaching profession, making it more difficult to attract new and keep qualified experienced teachers.

These are all issues that need to be addressed and until adequately addressed there will be no improvement to education in this country.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-23 05:11AM | 0 recs
Money isnt the problem, underpaid teachers are.

The problems with merit pay tend to be the systems used to measure merit. Usually they are an excuse to fire teachers that administrators don't like. That's my impression from my teaching wife, anyway.

Children from middle-class parents who both work at professional jobs like law and finance and marketing, who often work long hours and spend little time with their kids, do ok so that limits the negative influence we can attribute to two working parents.

But on the whole the notion that we seldom suggest cuts in military budgets yet often suggest them for education has a lot of currency with me.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-12-23 06:55AM | 0 recs
Teacher Tenure

The problem with teacher tenure, and my wife is a teacher by the way, is that it rewards complacency. A teacher with tenure has no need or aspiration to aspire or accel. There are far two many bad teachers protected by tenure and far too few who are hurt by lack of it. Like any job, pay and security need to be based upon merit, not seniority.

As for the actual funding, there is so much wasted money in the system...its not that there isnt enough money, but that so much wasted...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-23 07:03AM | 0 recs
Economically speaking

money wasted on education is much healthier for the economy than money wasted on military spending. Actually, economically speaking, money wasted on education is better than money well spent militarily. But that's another story.

My guess, and it's truly a guess, is that a normal bell illustrates the issue of teacher competency versus tenure. The vast majority of teachers are quite reasonably competent regardless of their tenure and even their actual pay. So I suspect that the both of us are arguing the margins.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-12-23 07:32AM | 0 recs
I think the problem is much larger

We have a society that does not value education, period. All else, IME, flows from that societal failing

I can go back to the Nixon Era and recall accusations of pointy headedness and ivory towers. And was not George W. Bush the culmination of anti-intellectualism?

Money isn't the problem. What is the problem or part of is that there is not enough emphasis on math and science.

Failing to place enough emphasis on math and science is only part of the problem. Students must be well versed in many subjects, and we still have a society that doesn't sufficiently teach foreign languages.
We have parents who have no involvement in their childrens education.Parents who think that its not their responsibility to be active participants in their childs education. That is further complicated by the fact that in many households both parents work, making time spent with children and schoolwork limited.
Parental divorce from education is a major part of the problem, and an American society that has now forced excessive work just to maintain a middle class standing. It is argued that no increase in educational standards can be made until parents return to being involved int heir children's education.

At the same time, we have parents who insist on meddling in the education process at the PTA level. In my opinion, education needs to be wrestled away from the school boards and states and handed to the Federal Government.

Further, we have teachers unions that dont believe in merit. They believe that teachers have a right to employment based upon tenure rather than merit.
I have many friends who are teachers and might object to such union bashing sentiment, but I understand your point.
We have an underpaid teaching profession, making it more difficult to attract new and keep qualified experienced teachers.
Another major problem is that we are often teaching the wrong subjects? French? That's nice. We need to be teaching our students Hindi and Mandarin. And Arabic. The metric system must be fully ingrained

I also advocate a longer school year, a longer school day, school uniforms, vastly increased school spending on infrastructure, a minimum teacher's wage like a minimum wage, a switch to emphasis on languages like Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic, and national adoption of the metric system on par with the UK.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-23 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

I call B.S.  The best and brightest don't enter math and science careers because they know that they can make a lot more money for a lot less work as a business, law, or health care professional.  They are making very rational decisions about their future based on the economy we have today.  To make any of yourself in math or science, you definitely need an advanced degree - at least an MS, probably more like a PhD.  Compare that to the two to three years it takes to get a law degree or MD.  If you go into business, there's a good chance that even if you eventually need an MBA, you'll be working at earning money while you get it.

Don't get me wrong, a career in math or science is extremely fulfilling, intellectually stimulating, and usually much more autonomous.  But these just aren't values that many people place on their career choices.

We can force math and science down as many people's throats as we want to, but as long as a college grad with a business degree will make many times more than a physicist with a Ph.D. over the course of their career, we'll never get the science & technology economy people hope for.

by the mollusk 2009-12-23 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

It takes at least eleven years of post-secondary education (including residency) to get an MD.

by lojasmo 2009-12-23 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

How does that break down?  Three years medical school, maybe three to four years residency (in which you're making decent money), what's the other step?  

Also, MDs can plan on making several times what a typical scientist would make at the apex of their career.  A typical scientist makes in the range of $100K to $150K as a full professor at an R-1 university or a GS-15.  Some exceptional scientists can make considerably more, but they are definitely outliers.

I don't begrudge MDs anything, but I hear a lot about stimulating people to go into STEM (sometimes STEMM) careers without addressing the reality that there are a lot easier ways to make a living.  In fact, you have to be a bit of an oddball to want to go into a STEM(M) career. (Like me)

by the mollusk 2009-12-23 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

And one of the corollaries to the points you raise is that since Reagan is that we have seen a divergence in wages among various careers. Even if you take CEO to average worker pay, we've gone from 24:1 in the 1960s to over 300:1.

The Reagan/conservative view is that education is an investment and by making it one (as opposed to Europe where education is a right), you end up in situations where people graduate with so much debt that then they are limited in their career choices. We have seen a decline in public interest law among law students because the lure of big firms is so overwhelming when you have a six figure debt to pay off.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-23 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

The idea that we are not focused enough on Math or Science is one that I find slightly increduluous and it is often put forth by people who feel that any emphasis on the arts, the classics, or creativity in general is dangerous, because heaven forbid people learn to think for themselves.

I spent 2 to 3 class periods a day in high school that were related to either math or science. They served me well, and any more than that certainly would have led to burn out. It is JUST as important that our schools focus on teaching literature, and engage our students in the creative process- because that is where they learn how to think instead of just what to think.

I have never read a statement from you that leads me to believe you have any sort of progressive or even centrist Democratic values.

by JDF 2009-12-23 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

You are actually goign to tell me that american students do better in math and sciences than their counterparts around the world? Your argument that somehow an emphasis on math and science devalues the arts is nonsense. Finally wether I am a progressive or a conservative democrat has no relevance to the conversation.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-23 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

You're correct that the problem traditionally has not been money overall. But two points, there is a very uneven split of monies among school districts. And really the point here is that money is now becoming an issue though to be fair the Obama Administration is investing $100 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into education.

But in Hawaii, the money from this seems to have gone down a black hole.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-23 09:25AM | 0 recs
Thank you for this beautiful essay

As noted above, our culture has a real anti-intellectual streak (observed most dramatically with George W. Bush).

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-23 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Thank you for this beautiful essay

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-23 04:01PM | 0 recs

On your lifestyle choice...i.e., not owning a TV.  I own one, but I don't have any reception or cable, and use it as a monitor.  I feel like I am 1000x better off, not only in terms of the reality TV (which I have heard of, and which you document in your diary); but also in terms of all the ads.  The ads, in my view is an equally obnoxious problem.

When I was a young boy, I grew up with nary a billboard around (and of course, noone I knew had even heard of a TV).  There was an occasional painted sign above a shop. professing the store's name and sometimes its wares (if. for instance it said Kirana, then it meant a grocery store).  And even on the radio, there was only an occasional ad promoting colgate toothpaste,

I can only dream that my daughters will have such an idyllic existence.  I am not worried about Jersey Shore at the moment...my daughters are way too young for that.  I am worried about the Disney onslaught.

I wish there was some way I could continue living in the US while blocking out all the noxious marketing campaigns directed towards us

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-23 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Congratulations

It died and I chose not to replace it. Jerome doesn't own one either.

I do use my computer though and watched an episode of Jersey Shore on the MTV website.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-23 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Congratulations

Well, that would make sense, given what I know of you.  And it also makes sense, given the little I know of Jerome.

I did not know you could watch TV on your computer.  Whatever will they think of next...

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-23 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

The problem comes from the districts being locally controlled...both by funding and by admin.  Sure, there are SOME federal or state level rules to get funded, but by and large it is local control that creates a GREAT amount of inefficiency.

Put all the teachers on the state payroll, insured and paid by the state as one big pool, and let the districts compete to hire them.  Then if a teacher wants to teach in the sub-urbs, they can go there.  Teacher wants to teach in the rural areas, there is no financial penalty.  If you want your school to focus more on math/science than sports... look for like minded teachers who want to do things other than coach.  There can even be a mechanism put in place where a district can remove a teacher and yet the teacher is not immediately out of work, but back in the pool of available teachers.

And since the states, and the feds, set the benchmarks for the testing that leads to funding, let them set up better teaching guidelines.  

And separate student funding from facilities funding.  Far too many facilities are energy-innefficient because the district cannot seem to get the funding for improvements since they depend on local bonding for it.  So they spend more money on deteriorating crappy "campuses" (or F-ing sports complexes that the public will buy into) instead of being able to be good stewards of the facilities and community property.

As for the overall money issue, we do need to invest more.  Education IS EXPENSIVE!  How we invest it is important.  More early childhood programs that are fully funded will help out IMMENSLY...but will also expose just how many problems we face as a country.

The problem, though, isn't money, really.  It sure isn't tenure/merit.  It is expectations and level of control.  Too many people who do not know what they are doing are in charge of the system that effects all of us.  We need to find a better way.

by Hammer1001 2009-12-23 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess
i think most of these comments (and even , maybe, the post itself, which I very much enjoyed)  fail to see the forest for the trees, esp. those that somehow want to blame parents or teachers.
 We get the ed system 'we' (actually, they) desire, to produce the professional and lower classes 'we' desire. It is not an accident that the development of me-centered education coincides with the post-Fordist need for a 'flexible personality' in workers willing to accept a lifetime of precarious employment and the need to constantly retrain. A person's best asset becomes him/herself, not any particular body of knowledge. We long ago became a nation of consumers not producers, who need only learn enough to get service jobs and enough money to buy more goods, which in turn they see modeled on the teevee. What was formerly our industrial base has become a profit-making base, for which we need managers, lawyers, accountants, money managers, and a luxury-goods service sector to serve them.
Please note that it is the plutocrats (the 'captains of industry') who have for a dozen or 20 years been pushing the idea of turning K-12 into boot camp; and now they are joined by Obama right along with Bush, in continuing with No Child Left Behind, with his schools chief & the odious Michele Rhee of DC. Basic reading and basic adding & subtracting are what's in store for children of nonelite parents--those not going to be professionals. ( I don't blame people for wanting their kids to learn basics; but I also insist--like Obama, I hope--that the arts are  basic to civilization.)
We can attract science and math students, and doctors, from abroad, places like India & Pakistan, still following the British model of undergrad ed. (We have terrific grad schools, and they attend 'em in droves, & many immigrate here.) Many of our universities are cutting their access here (follow what is happening at the public UC system!) while setting up campuses in Abu Dhabi.  "We" do not need a literate population, which the Trilateralists long ago (can supply book ref. if necessary) decided made the democracies "ungovernable." (Before he was deposed, Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza famously said "I don't want educated people-- I want oxen.")
 What TV, and movies, etc. offer instead of education is not the Greatest Loser or the Jersey Shore or CSI as models of behavior, or PBS masterpiece Theater, but a constant stream of idiotic crap to talk or just obsess about, based on celebrity culture, backed up by xenophobic fear-mongering and of course SPORTS --what TV does is what lil bush called catapulting the propaganda (telling the truth about what runs our culture). We are in year 40 + of shifting wealth upwards and feeding bread & circuses to those eager to accept them.
by brooklyngal 2009-12-23 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

I agree. My last paragraph hinted at the forces you so well describe.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-23 09:36PM | 0 recs


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