Because of Brooks's discussion, I'm going to have to read this book. Brooks, who has a very perceptive eye for current culture (his politics are a bit to the right for my tastes, but nonetheless thoughtful). While Maureen Dowd usually has the snarky (and therefore humorous) take on the zeitgeist, Brooks ponders without proving ponderous. In this brief book review (which is what this column is), he raises some really good points. What is the role of the ecstatic in our culture? What role do sports, religion, or culture (music, theater) play in this? How do we distinguish collective feelings of "whooshing" (see his article for a definition) from the bad?For instance,how is a Nazi rally from the 1963 civil rights rally on the Washington mall? The easy answer is content, obviously, but how do we parse more subtle differences? Anyway, a thought-provoking column about what sounds like a thought-provoking book.
The book, by the way, is All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, by Herbert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly.