Thursday, 12 June 2014

How wrong can you be? - Saul Bellow writing 24 years ago (pre-internet)


Tocqueville predicted that in democratic countries the public would demand larger and larger doses of excitement and increasingly stronger stimulants from its writers.

He probably did not expect that public to dramatize itself so extensively, to make the world scene everybody's theatre, or, in the developed countries, to take to alcohol and drugs in order to get relief from the horrors of ceaseless intensity, the torment of thrills and distractions. 

A great many writers have done little more than meet the mounting demand for thrills. 

I think that this demand has, in the language of marketing, peaked.


Saul Bellow, writing in 1990 - i.e. before the internet. Far from having 'peaked' the public continues and continuesto demand larger and ever-larger doses of excitement, and increasingly stronger stimulants.

An essay called The Distracted Public - in It all Adds Up, 1994