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“Ill Fares the Land” | davelovell.net
Aug 262010

I have a sec­tion of wall space in my liv­ing room where I hang black and white por­traits of peo­ple that I think had genius and did some­thing with it.  I need to make a new space for Tony Judt; who lost his bat­tle with ALS ear­lier this month.

The historian’s task is not to dis­rupt for the sake of it, but it is to tell what is almost always an uncom­fort­able story and explain why the dis­com­fort is part of the truth we need to live well and live prop­erly,” he told His­tor­i­cally Speak­ing. “A well-organized soci­ety is one in which we know the truth about our­selves col­lec­tively, not one in which we tell pleas­ant lies about ourselves.”

In a few pieces I’ve writ­ten lately, and a few that I’ve had won­der­ing around in my head, I felt a vague notion of some­thing.  I felt if I kept writ­ing I might close in on it even­tu­ally.  Then I picked up Judt’s Ill Fares the Land, and there it was in the very first sen­tence; “Some­thing is pro­foundly wrong with the way we live today.”  It’s a lit­tle annoy­ing when you find the ideas that you had been plan­ning to  write about, already writ­ten about — espe­cially when they wrote it so much bet­ter than you ever would have been able to.

Every­one, every­where should read this book…now!

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