The Great Brain Suck
And Other American Epiphanies
Luckily Halton, with scalpel-sharp wit in one hand and the balm of wisdom in the other, is here to operate on the declining body politic. His initial diagnosis is bleak: fast food and too much time spent sitting, whether in our cars or on our couches, are ruining our bodies, while our minds are weakened by the proliferation of electronic devices—TVs, computers, cell phones, iPods, video games—and their alienating effects. If we are losing the battle between autonomy and automation, he asks, how can our culture regain self-sufficiency? Halton finds the answer in the inspiring visions—deeply rooted in American culture—of an organic and more spontaneous life at the heart of the work of master craftsman Wharton Esherick, legendary blues singer Muddy Waters, urban critic Lewis Mumford, and artist Maya Lin, among others.
A scathing and original jeremiad against modern materialism, The Great Brain Suck is also a series of epiphanies of a simpler but more profound life.
“The Great Brain Suck is a wholly original book that draws on Eugene Halton’s careful empirical and conceptual work to offer critical insights into American life and scholarship. As he details the ways that the American citizen has given way to the American consumer—the ways we have been fooled by the commodity magicians of commerce—Halton provides new, sound, and fascinating perspectives on both contemporary and historic American themes.”
“Witty, acerbic, and brilliant. Halton takes on truly basic philosophical issues, but unlike the great majority of cultural critics today, he is philosophically prepared and highly competent to do so. Halton’s extraordinary work is nearly unique among current writers in its relevance, incisiveness, and philosophical power.”