In this study of American social self-loathing Meyer addresses why Americans have come to hate themselves (and each other) at a time of national prosperity and relative peace. In compelling, wonderfully cranky and comic prose, the author contends that the radical social changes of the 1960s and the recent technological revolution have drastically altered the pace of life, leaving Americans morally and existentially tired, disoriented, anchorless, and defensive. In arguments familiar to any sociology student, Meyer describes how the rise of freedom of choice in nearly every aspect of American life has been accompanied by the enervation of traditional social institutions (Our communities have been neutered, and our traditional, inherited moral, religious, and aesthetic sensibilities have been discredited). Pointed critiques of political theater, celebrity culture, the rise of marketing and media conglomerates and the decline of manners elaborate on the growing trends of bullshit, belligerence, and boorishness. Meyer is gleefully critical and very sincere in his concern for the state of American life; his practical suggestions urging readers to turn the tide of self-hate and phoniness are a must-read for anyone fed up with modern lifeJoin Siggy, ShrinkWrapped and me for a lively interview and discussion of these fascinating issues.
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