Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Reminder of the Decline

 Visiting the offices of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute a few years ago, I spotted a photograph on the wall showing a remarkable scene in progress. The black-and-white picture, dated November 14, 1962, is a wide-angle view - a very wide view, because of what the camera has to frame. What you see is the interior of a full-scale basketball arena, the lens managing to cover nearly the whole space. We are a ways up in the stands, well above the court, where the basketball hoops have been set aside and rows of chairs are lined up to face a platform and a podium. All of the seats on the floor and well up into the bleachers are occupied - more than ten thousand people, I would guess. At the podium stands a white-haired man alone. The image is sharp enough that you can identify the closer faces in the corwd, all of them staring at the old man down below. The members of the audience appear young, bright, alert, and joyous: girls in sweaters and skirts, guys in sports coats and button-down shirts. We are at the University of Detroit sixty years ago watching Robert Frost read his poems.

- From The Dumbest Generation Grows Up: From Stupified Youth to Dangerous Adults by Mark Bauerlein

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