The Death of Truth Reader ✓ 208 pages ☆ Michiko kakutani

Reader Å The Death of Truth ✓ Michiko Kakutani

The Death of TruthDots to reveal the slow march of untruth up to our present moment when Red State and Blue State America have little common ground proven science is once up for debate and all opinions are held to be eually valid And often than not rudely declared online The wisdom of the crowd has The Death of Truth the book is now available in GermanKakutani's book is like a long essay with features of an opinion piece than a thoroughly argued non fiction book The text's strength is clearly that the author the former chief book critic of The New York Times draws parallels between current phenomena and how writers like David Foster Wallace or Philip Roth commented on and described them thus she is highlighting how literature reflects and sometimes even shapes real life Especially for book lovers the fast paced chapters filled to the brim with interesting references and uotes are an interesting and easy read but that also brings us to the issue I had with the book It lacks some necessary depth This plays into the uestion whether Kakutani's arguments are valid as presented I agree with her basic assumptions and the premise that if facts become irrelevant a society is doomed She presents many examples taken from recent years but also the historical past namely from HitlerGoebbels and Stalin who also worked on the destruction of an intersubjective reality in order to wield limitless power without any moral accountability so while in Fascism A Warning Albright shies away from directly comparing Trump's methods to those of Hitler Kukatani does so What I found rather dubious though is the argument that postmodernism is a factor that helps to destroy the belief in truth and reality Sure people like Roland Barthes and Jacues Derrida did uestion how well language is able to capture meaning what role the author and the reader played in decoding messages etc but that never meant that you can just claim anything to be true or real To acknowledge that there are different sides to a story that there are limits to our ability to convey our inner worlds and thoughts in language does not mean that nothing matters any on the contrary It means that we have to be mindful of those dynamics and limitations in order to come closer to truth and reality Plus Stable meanings and eternal truths can be very dangerous to any discourseBut it's because some of Kakutani's arguments seemed a little dubious but certainly not stupid to me and made me think that I value this book This is the kind of text that you need to read and then discuss with others because there are tons of aspects mentioned that are worth contemplating And if there's one thing we lack at the moment it's people's willingness to truly think about other people's positions instead of remaining comfortable in one's own personal truths

Michiko Kakutani ✓ The Death of Truth Ebook

A stirring and incisive manifesto on America's slide away from truth and reason Over the last three decades Michiko Kakutani has been thinking and writing about the demise of objective truth in popular culture academia and contemporary politics In The Death of Truth she connects the As the former chief book critic of The New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michiko Kakutani has apparently spent the past three decades noting and commenting on the decline of “objective truth” in American literature and public life – and while she approves of this postmodern paradigm as it relates to art she has been horrified to watch as disestablishmentarianism has migrated from a necessary Leftist pushback against the military industrial complex to an alt right “drain the swamp” anti intellectualism which has found its apex in the current alternate facts fake news lies tweeting president uoting from sources as diverse as Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and Donald Trump's own Think Big Kakutani's The Death of Truth is scholarly logical and angry Here's the thing For a book that decries polarisation and bipartisanship and the algorithms that ensure we only read news stories online that align with what we already believe there's nothing neutral about Kakutani's treatise; she is preaching to her choir and dismissing everyone else as “alt right trolls” and “dittoheads”; nothing here would be persuasive to anyone who believes that mainstream media has a liberal bias and especially since she spent her career at The New York Times which isn't to say that I fundamentally disagree with what she writes here This is a uick read divided into nine essays and I've decided to let Kakutani do most of the talking here in excerpts I selected as demonstrative of either her points or her tone Two notes I am a Canadian and have read this book only as an interested bystander And since I read an ARC it is probably particularly egregious that I have uoted such big chunks; these passages may not be in their final forms but they do reflect the book I readThe Decline and Fall of Reason Trump who launched his political career by shamelessly promoting birtherism and who has spoken approvingly of the conspiracy theorist and shock jock Alex Jones presided over an administration that became in its first year the very embodiment of anti Enlightenment principles repudiating the values of rationalism tolerance and empiricism in both its policies and its modus operandi – a reflection of the commander in chief's erratic impulsive decision making style based not on knowledge but on instinct whim and preconceived and often delusional notions of how the world operatesThe New Culture Wars Since the 1960s there has been a snowballing loss of faith in institutions and official narratives Some of this skepticism has been a necessary corrective – a rational response to the calamities of Vietnam and Ira to Watergate and the financial crisis of 2008 and to the cultural biases that had long infected everything from the teaching of history in elementary schools to the injustices of the justice system But the liberating democratization of information made possible by the internet not only spurred breathtaking innovation and entrepreneurship; it also led to a cascade of misinformation and relativism as evidenced by today's fake news epidemic “Moi” and the Rise of Subjectivity Writers as disparate as Louise Erdrich David Mitchell Don DeLillo Julian Barnes Chuck Palahniuk Gillian Flynn and Lauren Groff would play with devices like multiples points of view unreliable narrators and intertwining story lines pioneered decades ago by Faulkner Woolf Ford Madox Ford and Nabokov to try to capture the new Rashomon like reality in which subjectivity rules and in the infamous words of former president Bill Clinton truth “depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is”The Vanishing of Reality Renee DiResta who studies conspiracy theories on the web argues that Reddit can be a useful testing ground for bad actors – including foreign governments like Russia – to try out memes or fake stories to see how much traction they get DiResta warned in the spring of 2016 that the algorithms of social networks – which give people news that's popular and trending rather than accurate or important – are helping to promote conspiracy theories This sort of fringe content can both affect how people think and seep into public policy debates on matters like vaccines zoning laws and water fluoridationThe Co opting of Language Trump's incoherence his twisted syntax his reversals his insincerity his bad faith and his inflammatory bombast is both a mirror of the chaos he creates and thrives on and an essential instrument in his liar's tool kit His interviews off teleprompter speeches and tweets are a startling jumble of insults exclamations boasts digressions non seuiturs ualifications exhortations and innuendos – a bully's efforts to intimidate gaslight polarize and scapegoatFilters Silos and Tribes Because social media sites give us information that tends to confirm our view of the world people live in increasingly narrow content silos and correspondingly smaller walled gardens of thought It's a big reason why liberals and conservatives Democrats and Republicans find it harder and harder to agree on facts and why a shared sense of reality is becoming elusiveAttention Deficit While public trust in the media declined in the new millennium part of a growing mistrust of institutions and gatekeepers as well as a concerted effort by the right wing to discredit the mainstream press and people started getting their news through Facebook Twitter and other online sources by 2017 fully two thirds of Americans said they got at least some of their news through social media This reliance on family and friends and Facebook and Twitter for news however would feed the ravenous monster of fake news“The Firehose of Falsehood” The sheer volume of dezinformatsiya unleashed by the Russian fire hose system – much like the improvised but eually voluminous stream of lies scandals and shocks emitted by Trump his GOP enablers and media apparatchiks – tends to overwhelm and numb people while simultaneously defining deviancy down and normalizing the unacceptable Outrage gives way to outrage fatigue which gives way to the sort of cynicism and weariness that empowers those disseminating liesThe Schadenfreude of the Trolls Trump of course is a troll – both by temperament and by habit His tweets and offhand taunts are the very essence of trolling – the lies the scorn the invective the trash talk and the rabid non seuiturs of an angry aggrieved isolated and deeply self absorbed adolescent who lives in a self constructed bubble and gets the attention he craves from bashing his enemies and trailing clouds of outrage and dismay in his path Even as president he continues to troll individuals and institutions tweeting and retweeting insults fake news and treacherous innuendoDespite making comparisons between Trump's misinformation techniues and those of Hitler and Lenin Kakutani ends on a hopeful note; pointing out those citizens who are pushing back against threats of despotism and urging her readers to join in “It's essential that citizens defy the cynicism and resignation that autocrats and power hungry politicians depend upon to subvert resistance” American citizens must also protect the institutions that their founding fathers put in place to uphold democracy the checks and balances of a tripartite political system education and a free and independent press This is an angry book and while Kakutani laments the modern echo chamber of thought I can't see this making much of an impact with those outside her own silo Four stars is a rounding up

Book The Death of Truth

The Death of Truth Reader ✓ 208 pages ☆ Michiko kakutani ☆ ❮Reading❯ ➷ The Death of Truth Author Michiko Kakutani – A stirring and incisive manifesto on America's slide away from truth and reason Over the last three decades Michiko Kakutani has been thinking and wDiminished the power of research and expertise and we are each left clinging to the facts that best confirm our biasesWith wit erudition and remarkable insight Kakutani offers a provocative diagnosis of our current condition and presents a path forward for our truth challenged times “The Death of Truth” is a short book that reads like a long essay The author Michiko Kakutani is a well known literary critic and former chief book review editor of the New York Times She is or should be a legend to anyone interested in reading good books and being highly and critically discerning about the books that one reads It is not necessary to agree with all that she writes although that may well happen It is difficult to be a discerning reader and not pay attention to what she thinks about a bookThe book is concerned with the assaults that have come to characterize the Trump Administration ranging from the theatre surrounding the Press Secretaries that have worked for the President to the Twitter Feed of the President to the various public falsehoods that regularly issue in Washington DC and are catalogued by the press to the emotional and often than not baseless and hyperbolic attacks that issue from the President towards those with whom he disagrees We all know about this and Kakutani is highly critical of the evolving norms that seem to focus on making claims and other statements that do not seem intended to be subjected to standards of truth or falsity what Harry Frankfurt analyzes in his book “On Bullshit”Kakutani’s book is interesting not for new points that she raises Indeed if one follows the mainstream press and is concerned about these issues he or she will feel right at home The perspective she adopts is also clear Kakutani is deeply critical of the attack on truth and sees it as a threat to American democracy She provides a rich context for these developments showing that they have been around in American literary life for uite some time She goes into some detail on deconstruction as practiced by Derrida Foucault and others and how the parlor games of left intellectuals have been adopted intensified and put to practical use weaponized conservative extremists I had noticed this too before reading this book but am reassured by her analysisAn interesting focus on part of the book is on the rebirth in interest in dystopian fiction especially of a political variant since the 2016 election For example Orwell has seldom sold copies especially 1984 and Animal Farm She also brings up the renewed interest and relevance of Huxley’s Brave New World which is a very different view of how civilization ends in tyranny than that of Orwell By juxtaposing Orwell and Huxley Kakutani hints at ways in which the current assault on truth and reason may differ from prior attacks I hope she develops these ideas further