learning from experience. And as Barzunnemphasizes, language, especially,nthe mother tongue, more than any othernsubject, “must be learned close to itsnliving source.” Indeed the principle ofnproximity is so crucial for Barzun thatndespite its excesses he clearly recognizesnthe value of progressive education innthis country: “… if it has done nothingnelse, it should be honored and givennthanks for insisting on genuine, handto-handnteaching, as against the givingnout of predigested hokum.”nAt the center of the kind of literacynwhich Professor Barzun has spent anlifetime serving is the classic, but itnis the classic viewed as the repositorynof a living conversation, not a dead textnwaiting to be dissected. The classic, henreminds us, provides “examples of hownto think, not of what to think.” In thisnsense Barzun strikes the ethical notenthat should permeate education if it isnnot to degenerate into mere instruction.nIt happens to be a fact that all classicalnworks without exception deal directlynor indirectly with problems ofnconduct. That is their great virtue fornschool use. Not that they teach a plainngoody-goody morality, but that theynshow and discuss and solve dilemmasnthat a shipping clerk or an athlete cannbe made to understand. For thisnunderstanding, the discussion of anynclassic must be superficial. If youndive below the surface with your pupilnyou drown him. Certain teachers arenalways terrified of superficiality; theynseem to think other teachers will scoffnor that the dead author will scold. Letnthem remind themselves that theirncolleagues’ profundity would strikenthe great author as either surfacenscratching or pedantry; and let themnremember that for every reader this isna time when a given book is being readnfor the first time.nThe goal of such teaching is to haventhe student make the work his own andnin so doing instill within him a lifetimenhabit of responsive reading, somethingnwhich the “skills” approaches ton2()inChronicles of Culturenreading (and the other disciplines) shortcircuit,nbecause they never discover andntake into account the meaning intentionsnof the student. Basic Skills or FunctionalnLiteracy programs, then, end bynbeing counterproductive since theirnstrategies of fragmentation and theirnsterile reading materials (“Textbooksnhave no authors, just as it might bensaid that they have no readers.”) failnto engage the deeper humanity of thenreader/learner. The loss, both personalnand social, should sober us quickly:na citizenry mired in its own narrownconfines, never to be inspired in thenways Professor Barzun so richly characterizesnin his stirring defense of thenhumanities. His words indeed bear frenquent repeating:nYou’ve Been Had, Mr. CagneynThe study of the arts in their greatnmanifestations is thus a gradual andndeliberate accustoming of the feelingsnto strong sensations and precise ideas.nIt is a breaking down of self-will fornthe sake of finding out what life andnits objects may really be like. And thisnmeans that most esthetic matters turnnout to be moral ones in the end. Greatnart offers a choice —that of preferringnstrength to weakness, truth to softness,nlife to lotus-eating.nOr again:nLIBERAL CULTUREnJames Cagney, a Hollywood icon who,nfor over half a century, embodied onnscreen the archetypal tenet of Americanism—thatnman can err and remainngood at the core—considered himselfnindebted to the spirit of this country.nFor almost two decades he lived in retirement,noccasionally vbicing his disapprovalnof the direction the post-CagneyesquenAmerican was traveling. Hisncritical comments, when and if theynreached the press, had an unmistakablynnonliberal sound. He seemed to believenin principles which ivere not very muchnen vogue with tne American culture ofnthe 1960’s and 70’s. Recently he acceptedna part in a movie entitled Ragtime,nmade from a novel with an outspokennleftist slant. By thrusting Cagneynback into the spotlight, the producersnand the director of the film assurednthemselves both prestige and money.nWriting about the cinematic versioh ofnthe movie, Village Voice praised its directornwith these words: ^nAt the very least, he has now managednto wave Ragtime like a ted flagnnnVnNow the reason why art is worthnteaching at all is that it gives mennthe best sense of how rich, how diverse,nhow miraculous are the expressionsnof the human spirit through thenages. The communicative power ofnin the faces of the Reaganites.nVillage Voice should know: it’s thenorgan of cynical, best-selling anti-Americanismnand well-heeled, smart liberationism.nIt’s always on the side of “thenpeople,” who are either deviate or SannSalvadorean guerrillas. We do not thinknthat Mr. Cagney, as we know him, wouldnbe very (aken with those “people,” theirn””Village” or their “Voice,” the filmsnand directors they promote and extol.nWe are left with the uncomfortable im-n•pression that Mr. Cagney would haven>