Monday, July 19, 2004

Democracy in America

I've been working the nightshifts...5 last week, and consequently I'm shattered.  One upside of this is that I took the time to re-read de Tocqueville's  Democracy in America, something that I've been meaning to do for a while.
I hadn't read either of the volumes since my undergraduate degree and if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I fully appreciated them back then.  But they are truly brilliant - the clarity of de Tocqueville's work and his observations are just astounding, I urge everyone to read him.  But the very worst thing about this is that when he wrote the book, he was my age!
Very few of us have the ability and the opportunity to write something as brilliant as Democracy in America, so I'm not going to take it to heart, but it has forced me to sit up and start writing again after a week or so off.  It also made me think about the kind of work that I really admire.  Street Corner Society (incidentally, Bill Whyte was in his early twenties when he visited Cornerville), Second City Politics, it's all observation and comment.  I'm going to have to have a serious think about my work and see if my approach reflects what I really want to be doing.

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