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From the Editor

Perhaps some of you may be wondering why the HSC is paying more attention to popular culture than it once did. A simplistic answer would be that different editors make for different interests. Though that's true, I hope it's not the principal reason why we have more about films and television than we did in the past.

I'm convinced that popular culture has a greater effect in shaping the public mind than any other influence, and certainly more than so-called serious activities such as foreign policy debate. What happens on popular TV shows and in popular movies affects how people think and, perhaps more potently, affects what they value. And a journal which turns its gaze away from what the majority of the people think and what they care about, though it may be philosophically, and politically, and aesthetically astute can never be a force in a democratic culture.

The chance of our ever becoming a force of any sort is slight. Yet, that's what we want to do. We want to help people think about public issues intelligently, and we want to introduce concepts they might not otherwise encounter.  And we can't do that unless we search them out where they are.

It is of little moment that we now and then offer an agreeable interlude to people who already think as we do. I would rather have an audience who is enraged by what we say than one which tends to nod its head and intone, "Yes. yes."

So, to our readers who find little interest in popular entertainment, I ask them to glance at our film reviews and TV notices and if see they add a telling detail now and then to their mental picture of the world we all inhabit.

Lately, I've been reading Tacitus, who is not exactly a topic of popular culture. If you would like to see some of my thoughts about the reading you can find them on my personal web site -- wordandimageofvermont.com -- on the page titled "Literary Appraisals."

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