agree that the
new Star Wars movie is disappointing. How
could it be otherwise? The first Star Wars was an unrepeatable
thrill. It launched the
revolution in special effects that has completely changed movies since
1976. In the
meantime, we have progressed from The Terminator to Titanic,
from Jurassic Park to The
Matrix. If the new Star Wars were to match the
appeal of the first one, it would have to
surpass its own successors in the way the first one
surpassed Star Trek.
And yet many of us feel that seeing the new
mandatory. Its already the movie Everyone is talking about. Everyone
is going to see it
anyway. And you cant ignore Everyone.
I like to define public
opinion as what Everyone thinks Everyone Else thinks.
Its an intimidating force. In the media age, it defines, from moment
to moment, orthodoxy
and heresy. Unless you agree with Everyone, there is something wrong with
Everyone thinks is virtual truth, moral truth. Those who differ with it
barely exist, and they
should feel sheepish.
This Everyone is not to be confused
with the ordinary, lower-case everyone;
as we saw during last years impeachment hearings, a large majority in
opinion polls may
suffice to constitute an Everyone. In this sense, Everyone agreed that
Bill Clinton had
done nothing to deserve impeachment.
What does Everyone know? Well, for
instance, Everyone knows that
democracy is the best form of government because its the only
form of government that
represents Everyone. In fact Everyone knows that no other form of
government can really
be legitimate. So when a democracy makes war on a nondemocracy, the
democracy is entitled, if not destined, to win.
A few months ago, Everyone decided
that Slobodan Milosevic was so wicked
that NATO an alliance of democracies should make war on him.
unaccountably won the war he was fighting, having rid Kosovar of
Albanians; so NATO,
under Clintons leadership, has now achieved the distinction of
losing a war without
suffering a single combat casualty. (Maybe George Lucas should have
directed the war.)
Likewise Everyone knows that we need
more gun-control laws. Last month
Everyone was profoundly shocked when two Colorado high school kids
murdered a dozen
of their classmates and a teacher, and Everyone always reacts swiftly
to such horrors.
Congress must do what Everyone demands. Thats what democracy is all
Clinton is the perfect spokesman for
Everyone. He always says the right thing
the thing Everyone is thinking. He never says anything that seems
to emanate from his
own depths; he has no opinions that arent shared by Everyone. After
listening to him, you
never say: So thats what Bill Clinton really thinks! How
interesting! He seems to have no
philosophy of his own, no view of the world that springs from his own
lifes experience. His
opinions are a sort of purée, safe, superficial, inauthentic.
The truth is that what Everyone
thinks is never interesting. People who think
what Everyone thinks are bores. And people who appeal to what Everyone
usually tyrants at heart, who resent nonconformist views.
I used to have faith in Everyone,
and a few years ago I was amazed to
discover that Everyone was wrong about Shakespeare; that his supposed
actually written by the 17th Earl of Oxford. How could the
whole world be so
mistaken? Im still not sure, but the evidence persuaded me that
our whole system of
organized knowledge could be far more misleading than Id ever dreamed.
Ever since, as Ive argued the case
for Oxford in articles and a book, Ive had
my honor and intelligence impeached. After all, Everyone worships the
gent from Stratford,
and no honest or intelligent person could dispute his claim. Its
amazing how supercilious
people can be when they are secure in the knowledge that they agree
with Everyone, their
minds untroubled and uncomplicated by having any opinions of their own.
Modern education is designed to
produce Everyone. It praises diversity and
does its best to destroy the real thing, in the form of the individual
who does his own thinking.
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