If I hadn't read Patt Morrison's Aug. 9 column, I wouldn't have known about Barry Sanders' book on the death of public discourse ("A Lonely Crusade in Support of Reality," SoCal P.O.V.). That book is on my list of things to read, along with Steven Carter's "Civility." I'll bet I find the two in agreement that embarrassment, guilt and shame have been replaced by anger--on and off the road.
Serious conversation is not in style. In fact, one who thinks about and engages in the heavy stuff is often considered nerd-like in today's society.
A possible disagreement: Watching a few of the truly funny sitcoms, such as "Frazier" and "Third Rock From the Sun," helps us bear up under the really awful stuff that we're subjected to these days.
Morrison is correct. Discourse is dying and we have to do something to revive the art of conversation.
What we have lost is the art of listening. In true discourse we must think about what is being said before responding.
As a teacher of history I can do a little, with my own students, to show them the art of conversation, listening and intellectual exchange. But we all must talk to each other--and listen.
Michael H. Pazeian
I read with disgust Morrison's paean to negativism. This moment is the best ever for humans, and the future will be better yet. Why? Because of communication, not in spite of it.
Awareness is the key. More people are more aware of more things from the Amazon (place for books or a river) to the zebra (animal or striped movement) than at any moment in history. There's more awareness, more brain convolutions, more room to, time to and things to enjoy and appreciate than ever before.
Now, one can get the picture without a negative.
Richard K. Hirsch