form and not the substance of Fishwick’snculture: Harlequin becomes EmmetnKelly becomes Ronald McDonald.nSimilar impulses manifest themselvesndifferently depending on the era. For example,n”the idea of having saaed thingsnis no less prevalent today than it was yesterday,”nbut Homo religiosus has nowntransferred his fixation from thingsnspiritual to things athletic; thus footballnis our faith, and the Super Bowl today’snmost holy rite. Though each generationncontributes new threads to the fabric ofnthe common culture, Fishwick fears thatnour current obsession with gadgetrynthreatens to drown common culture.nTechnology assaults our senses and maynwipe out the age-old common imagery.nRescue, in Fishwick’s analysis, comesnfrom an unlikely quarter: our massnmedia are unconsciously reviving andnspreading old elements of the commonnculture so widely that their survival isnassured. Common complaints, common’nknowledge, common usage, now commonnculture—all transmitted by ournvarious riiedia. Today’s electronic andnprint media are, moreover, so ubiquitousnthat they can help squeeze outnthe false culture of elitist values. Thisnmay sound like a vastly simplified versionnof Marshall McLuhan, but it is not.nMcLuhan’s Global Village is not Fishwick’snshining City on the Hill. For Fishwick,nthe media’s role is not one of creatingnnew cultural forms but of spreadingnin different guises the older forms.nLiittle of what Fishwick says aboutn”common culture” of the past is especiallynilluminating: nothing he says aboutn”common culture” today is particularlynnovel. Pop anthropologists and amateurnsociologists have exhausted thenMcDonald’s theme, but Fishwickndevotes a whole chapter to our obsessionnwith the golden arches. His observationsnabout the importance of print media,npopulation growth, the earth’s finite resources,ncelebrities, etc., etc., are commonplaces.nThey are familiar points andngenerally credible—but Fishwick’s attemptnto synthesize all this into somencomprehensive theory is not satisfactory.nHe fails to persuade the reader that hisndefinition of culture is well thought-outnor compelling.nFishwick’s failure can be traced tonflaws in his design. As he warns at thenoutset, the 60’s so thoroughly trashednold forms that he felt obliged to reexaminenour cultural roots. The experiencenled to the insight that elitist art,nphilosophy, and literature are ofiien onnan intellectual plane not merely highernthan but also separated from commonnexperience; thus they seemed to himnsuperficial, not fundamental, contrived,nnot spontaneous. There may be somentruth in that broad indictment, but Fishwickngoes on to posit that any ri?(j/culturenmust be inspired largely by the everyday,nthe material, the concrete, the instinctive.nThere is no sense that these are thenvery things we often attempt to transcendnin culture, or that culture, rathernthan reflecting only what we are andnwhat we have, should reflect what wenstrive to attain.nFishwick rarely uses the word “values”nbecause he is far more concerned with thennorm than with norms. Yet therein liesnthe problem with his concept of culture:nin celebrating the common denomina­nnntor, he ignores the higher values. Hisntype of culture is derived, not inspired.nIn dismissing as “elite” so much of whatnwe traditionally consider culture, he ignoresnthe fact that it could never have survivednunless it expressed something morenfiindamental than class prejudice.nIt is no coincidence that the 1960’snalso produced Timothy Leary, or, morenprecisely, thrust the demented doctornonto center stage. His dementia is in fullnflower in Changing My Mind, a collectionnthat oudines the LSD philosophy.nAccording to Leary, psychedelic drugsnexpand consciousness in such a way thatnthe user permanently develops a wholennew image of the world. Leary contendsnthat an LSD experience demonstrates thenenormous capacity of the human mind;nwhen fully used, the mind can be—andnis—everything: the creator of energy andnaction, thoughts and deeds. Leary’s favoritenrevelation is that the mind evenncreated God, but in that it has fooled us:nbecause our minds are omnipotent, theynare—we are—the gods. Such insightsnpersuade the perceptive user of LSD tonbreak all social constraints, all antiquatednnotions that we are accountable to anyonenbut ourselves. Leary’s is a cry fornbrain liberation, which leads to the fulfillmentnof self-potential—LSD is thenmodern way to catharsis. This kind ofnlunatic ranting would be merely laughablenif so many had not taken Leary sonseriously and with such disastrous results.nThere is bitter though unintendednirony in Leary’s observation that “now,ntwenty years later, we are harvesting thenfruits of this disorganized, mass brainscrambling.n”nThere are various possible explanationsnas to why Leary’s salesmanshipnproved so effective. Certainly the sheernnovelty of psychedelic drugs appealed tonmany, as did the chance to escape everydaynlife: why not dabble with somenmind-bending chemicals when booze,npot, and everything else have lost theirnallure? Like Christopher Columbus (tonwhom this book is dedicated) Leary announcednthe discovery of an entirely newn^ • H H 3 SnJanuary 1983n