Now she understood a few things: that the American academy, which one might have thought the place to defend freedom of speech, had been the seat and soul of abrogating freedom of speech, if the first assault on its freedom can be said to be restricting, or handcuffing speech. The day she heard redneck on NPR, she turned NPR off, not because broadcasters were still using the term, but because she knew one day they would not be. In fact, she had a vision of the quiet moment backstage at a Boston studio when a good, surprised correspondent was let go for saying redneck the last time it would be said.
She thought it funny how the poor environment had been raped just fine until there was a sufficient excess of the people who had effected the raping to produce sufficient numbers of themselves who were sufficiently idle that they might begin to protest the raping of the environment, which was irretrievably lost to the raping by that point.And this would be the great soothing cathedral music, the stopping of the chainsaws amid the patter of acid rain, that all good citizens would listen to for the quarter-century it took them all to wire up to cyberspace and forget about the lost hopeless run-over gang-ridden land, reproducing madly still all the while, inside their bunkers listening to NPR.
Have you come over time to think that you know more now than you did when you were young, know less now than when young, know now there is so much more to know than you knew there was to know when young that it is moot whether you think you knew more then than now or less, or do you now know that you never knew anything at all and never will and only the bluster of youth persuaded you that you did or would?
Isn't it true that there is a rare kind of person who perceives, as does a good dog, that life is doing something meaningful, and who discovers what it is and goes about doing it with a spirit of moderate hustle, and there is a not rare kind of person who perceives none of this and who goes about doing what is necessary in a spirit of aggrievedness?