Leisure: The End of the Word?

The booming stereo market is usually taken as evidence that the U.S.'s appetite for culture is ravenous. But there may be another side to the record: the preoccupation with sound may really mean that the U.S. is growing increasingly tired of words. "The long-playing record has revolutionized the art of leisure," writes Critic George Steiner in The Kenyan Review. "Music today is the central fact of lay culture." While music soars, argues Steiner, language suffers, as evidenced by advertising lingo, by the intrusion of science's untranslatable symbols into language and, in literature, by Hemingway's "lyric shorthand" and the inarticulateness...

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