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Berry Wendell Sex Economy Freedom Community New York Pantheon Books 1993 Wendell Berry self-styled intellectual social commentator and purveyor of common sense authored a biting series of essays on the state of American life and economy compiled in 1993 under the title Sex Economy Freedom Community This collection of commentaries on varied aspects of existence as Americans in the emerging global community is worthy of note in many of its accurate criticisms of American waste and pompousness while laughable in regard to many of its assertions on matters of public policy As such one can gather a dual image of Berry as both narrow-minded ideologue and insightful cynic So while Sex is certainly an easy read the same does not apply to its author Berry introduces his essays with a preface centered on the value of education and the importance of understanding It is here that the Kentuckians backwoods wit shines in all its sarcastic glory In a hilarious incisive listing of the basic assumptions accepted by most participants in modern higher education Berry cites the systems failures and mocks its current goals To point out the common understanding of the utility of education as a career tool designed and obtained as a device for monetary profit is perhaps the master stroke of the work and Berrys third listed assumption does so masterfully Also worthwhile is Berrys attack on jargon and its use as a placard of intellectual superiority though it might be construed as betraying a general ignorance of the value of specialized language in specialized fields Compounding this rationale is the post script to the preface in which Berry maligns the supposed value of electronic newspapers Doubtless from his early 1990s perspective this now-common means of communication across the internet may have seemed fanciful and emaciating while the past decade has proven such technologies to be quite practical and emancipating Mr Berry also uses the preface to lie
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