By Stephen Henighan
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The Canadian model may be more desirable from a purely public order point of view, but, in its present form, it accentuates our disconnection from culture. Since we do not talk about history in order to avoid discussing the fact that your ancestors were slaves and mine were slave-owners, that your ancestors were victims of the Holocaust and mine were collaborators in it, that your parents do not drink alcohol and mine come from a culture of whiskey, the commercial ground becomes the common culture in which we meet.
We know that being “cultured” is part of our social heritage as people who have attained a certain level of material success; we believe that children who read will advance in life, and that we must set a good example for our children. Yet our focus is on the public experience: the book club meeting, the lifestyle, the children’s careers. The actual act of reading, in a suburban house where nearly every room offers the enticement of a screen of some sort and other people’s music washes through the walls, often proves to be an ordeal.
Black Dogs is one of McEwan’s most ambitious and least commercial novels; ultimately, though, its central thesis feels forced. No resonant vision capable of counteracting Thatcherite transAtlanticism coheres from the novel’s disparate scenes. ” In 1987 no one A Report on the Afterlife of Culture 55 expected the Berlin Wall to be torn down at any point in the foreseeable future. The sentence betrays the fusion of McEwan’s English imperviousness to historical chronology with his populist instincts, which require him to wrench historical perceptions into alignment with the present-day outlook of his audience.