Once in graduate school I inserted some ideas from Heidegger into a paper and my professor wrote: “trite” in the margin. I asked him what he meant and he obfuscated but when pressed said Heidegger was a Nazi. “Well,” I said, “say what you mean. There’s no such thing as a trite Nazi.”
We are living in “The Age of Glib”—everyone from public officials to your neighbor stinging Christmas lights seems to believe the first thing that comes to his or her mind is fit to be shared. Jack Kerouac famously said of creative writing: “first thought, best thought” but its one thing on paper and another thing at a press conference. When did it become fashionable to appear as if we don’t know better? The ghost of Gore Vidal whispers saying it was always fashionable, but Gore would admit its worse now if we could summon him.
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