More and more information is pumped into our media-saturated world every day, yet Americans seem to know less and less. In a society where who you are is defined by what you buy, and where we prefer to experience reality by watching it on TV, Eugene Halton argues something has clearly gone wrong.
Luckily Halton, with scalpel-sharp wit in one hand and the balm of wisdom in the other, is here to operate on the declining body politic. His initial diagnosis is bleak: fast food and too much time spent sitting, whether in our cars or on our couches, are ruining our bodies, while our minds are weakened by the proliferation of electronic devices—TVs, computers, cell phones, iPods, video games—and their alienating effects. If we are losing the battle between autonomy and automation, he asks, how can our culture regain self-sufficiency? Halton finds the answer in the inspiring visions—deeply rooted in American culture—of an organic and more spontaneous life at the heart of the work of master craftsman Wharton Esherick, legendary blues singer Muddy Waters, urban critic Lewis Mumford, and artist Maya Lin, among others.
A scathing and original jeremiad against modern materialism, The Great Brain Suck is also a series of epiphanies of a simpler but more profound life.