Inarticulate Society by Tom Shachtman
Eloquence and Culture in America

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Synopsis

Eloquence is vanishing from society, so claims Thomas Shachtman. Today's new commentators employ a lexicon of 5000 words, down from 10,000 in 1963, sound bites have taken the place of speeches, crudeness has replaced wit, and movie heroes shoot first and ask questions later. But the crisis of articulate expression is much deeper than we realise, for we have also lost our ability to respond to other points of view - to argue - without coming swiftly to blows. In this work, the author attempts to identify the causes of this decline - from the increasing presence of technology in our lives and the proliferation of jargon-spouting "specialists" to political and corporate double-speak - and he proposes a concrete, multi-faceted programme for rehabilitating eloquence through the constructive use of media together with political and educational reform. Although current trends towards an ever greater flow of information are unlikely to reverse themselves, Shachtman argues that we must use available technology to facilitate - rather than short circuit - debate about important public issues.
 

About Tom Shachtman

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Tom Shachtman is an author, filmmaker, and educator.  He has written or co-authored more than thirty books, as well documentaries for ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, and has taught at major universities.  Publishers Weekly lauded his most recent book, RUMSPRINGA: TO BE OR NOT TO BE AMISH (North Point Press/Farrar Straus) as “not only one of the most absorbing books ever written about the Plain People, but a perceptive snapshot of the larger culture in which they live and move
 
Published March 1, 1995 by Free Press. 296 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Arguing that our collective social vocabulary is contracting alarmingly and that our use of language is less and less suited for abstract, complex expressionin short, that we are becoming more like an oral societyShachtman searches for proof in television news, film scripts, political debates, an...

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Publishers Weekly

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Shachtman's (Skyscraper Dreams) latest seems to start out as an intriguing study of the fate of conversation and Socratic dialogue in America.

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