|About the Book|
The dominance of the electronic media has altered the way we think and write, Ron Powers observes in this collection of essays, stories, and literary nonfiction. A noted journalist whose work in print and television has earned both a Pulitzer PrizeMoreThe dominance of the electronic media has altered the way we think and write, Ron Powers observes in this collection of essays, stories, and literary nonfiction. A noted journalist whose work in print and television has earned both a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy Award, Powers decries the effects of the mass media on the quality and nature of American life and letters. Broadcastings emphasis on sound bytes and stark visuals performs a kind of linguistic lobotomizing that has weakened the fabric of American community because it has undermined the craft of writing. For Powers, writing and culture are inextricably intertwined- good storytelling is as central to the American temperament as jazz or baseball because it helps perpetuate our unique character: In telling the people of a certain place the elemental tales about themselves and their place, the teller creates the common consciousness necessary for community. Likewise, the common consciousness of a community at once enhances the need for a teller. But Powers does not just defend good storytelling- he practices it, and the selections here serve as clear examples of the kind of thoughtful, well-turned writing he argues for. Bread Loaf Writers Conference lectures, excerpts from the fiction of social issues, and journalistic pieces about TVs quirks and influences all embody the high prose standards of a consummate craftsman. As a chronicle of Powerss ongoing inquiry into the effects of rapid social change on American life, The Cruel Radiance illustrates both his resistance to the engineering of mass-produced thought and his affirmation of the value of human community.