Trained relentlessly to work and consume, we make daily lifestyle decisions that promote corporate profits more than our own well-being. We also find ourselves working more, living in fragmented communities, and neglecting our most basic spiritual and political values. As Curtis White puts it, “In order to live, you will be asked to do what is no good, what is absurd, trivial, demeaning, and soul killing.” Although we belong to the world’s most affluent society, somehow we never have the chance to ask: How shall we live?
<br>With his trademark humor and acerbic wit, White raises this impertinent question. He also debunks the conventional view that liberalism can answer it without drawing on spiritual values. Surveying American popular culture (including <i>Office Space</i> and <i>The Da Vinci Code</i>) to illustrate his points, White urges us to renew our commitment to “human fundamentals” as articulated by Henry David Thoreau-especially free time, home, and food-and to reclaim Thoreau’s spirit of disobedience.
<br>Seeking imaginative answers to his central questions, White also interviews John De Graaf (<i>Affluenza</i>), James Howard Kunstler (<i>The Long Emergency</i>) and Michael Ableman (<i>Fields of Plenty</i>) about their views of the good life in our time.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Chapter 1 Imagination Dead Imagine -- Chapter 2 Beyond the Golden Rule -- Chapter 3 Confessions of a Holy Whore -- Chapter 4 The Spirit of Disobedience -- Chapter 5 A New Fundamentalism: Time, Home, and Food -- Epilogue -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Acknowledgments -- Index -- About the Author
Dubbed “a splendidly cranky academic” by Molly Ivins, novelistand social critic CURTIS WHITE is a professor of English at IllinoisState University. His previous book, The Middle Mind: Why AmericansDon’t Think for Themselves, was widely acclaimed. His otherbooks include Monstrous Possibility, Requiem, Memories of My FatherWatching TV, and The Idea of Home. His essays have appeared inmany publications, including Harper’s Magazine and The VillageVoice. He lives in Normal, Illinois, with his wife Georganne Rundbladand their five psittacine companions.183