Exit Stage Leftnby Gregory McNameenThe Disappearance of the Outsidenby Andrei CodrescunReading, MA: Addison Wesley;n216 pp., $17.95nThe Outside: beyond wall andnwatchtower, on the far lee of thenborder, the place of the Other, the placenof exile. Now that the walls are crumblingnaround the worid, helped along bynthe crowbars of angry patriots; now thatnthe faces of the other look pretty muchnlike our own, the Outside seems to benshrinking. In its place we have somendawning version of the Global Village,nwhereby a denizen of Zamboanganwears the same sneakers and listens tonthe same pop music as a Manhattannsophisticate, and one nation blends imperceptiblyninto another.nAll this worries Andrei Codrescu, thenRomanian exile, poet, and radio commentatornwho since 1966 has lived innthe United States, exercising his surrealistnmagic. Like his fellow exiles JosephnConrad and Vladimir Nabokov, Codrescunhas made the English languagenhis home, and he has written 26 noteworthynbooks of poetry, fiction, and factnthat outstrip most native production.nHis latest, The Disappearance of thenOutside, announces his emergentntechnophobia and his fond hope thatnthe world will retain at least somenplaces to escape the machine; in thenage of the computer and the networkednplanet in which the Global Village hasndevolved into World Empire, Codrescunfrets with just cause that “we maynbecome mere images, trapped likenshadows in some collective hell. . . .nIn another generation, people raised bynimages will not be able to imaginenescape. The walls of Plato’s prisoncavenwill be animated.”nMuch of Codrescu’s book-lengthnessay concerns his return to Romanianafter the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu innDecember of 1989. Arriving in hisnhometown of Sibiu, Transylvania,nCodrescu notes with some surprisenthat images have replaced words innbibliocentric Eastern Europe, that televisionnprograms and not books tempernthe intellectual climate of the landnwhere, as a boy, he prowled throughnbookstores and private libraries, evennhanging out in the Russian-languagenCommunist Party bookstore to takenadvantage of the air-conditioning. Andnwhat shows are beamed into Romaniannhomes, haunted by Ceausescu andnDracula? Dallas, Dynasty, and MiaminVice, the stuff of brain death in manynan unsuspecting land.nInvisible in the way of a practicednexile, Codrescu aifords a moving accountnof life in revolutionary Romania,ndemocratic for the moment but stillnaswarm with Stalinists, unrepentantnagents of the Securitate, and othernenemies of liberty. But this account isnsecondary to Codrescu’s larger meditation,ncentering not only on the disappearancenof the Outside but on thensubtle erasure of cultural diflPerences innthe age of worldwide television andncomputer data networks. (While therenis much merit to Codrescu’s argument,nat the same time, ethnic hatred seemsnto be on the rise everywhere as bordersnof all kinds dissolve — witness Azerbaijannand Bensonhurst.) Like manynother theorists of the Information Age,nCodrescu speculates upon the possibilitiesnfor global electronic control, of anIs Stalinism Really Dead?nThe Future of Perestroika as a Moral Revolution—nA Major Soviet Philosopher Reveals the CentralnDebate within Soviet SocietynAlexander S. TsipkonTranslated by I. TichinanA former consultant to the Communist Party’s Central Committee and onenof the Soviet Union’s most widely read authors examines the origins andnmeaning of Stalinism and Gorbachev’s reforms—a major philosophicalnstatement that reveals the revolutionary theories behind the headlines.nHardcover, $24.95nThe Catholic Momentntechnototalitarianism serviced by a deliberatelynuneducated, politically apathetic,nand terrorized population, uncomprehendingnhelots whose days arenspent in equal parts at the workplacenand before the television set. (All thosento whom this sounds familiar may nownshudder.)n”We are a new kind of being now,”nwrites Codrescu. “We don’t need annunconscious, we are unconscious.”nOverwhelmed by information and inurednto all the high-level lying languagenis used to accomplish, mostncitizens of the world now shun thenwritten word whenever possible. Tonlure them back to literacy, “we shouldnwage a campaign against too muchninformation,” the poet writes, “like thencampaign against cholesterol. Downnwith info-fat!”nThere may be hidden virtues fornbibliophiles like Codrescu in the electronicnworld. In it, the book may regainnsome of its status as a sacred object,nprecisely because it lies on the peripherynof the general culture. History hasnaccustomed us to changing fortunes,nand the book age is, after all, veryninUMIWinIMIKIMMMIInraifflieJIKHT_n~BfflfitIili_nThe Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World ^^^^^^”nRichard John Neuhausn”A profound and stimulating work.”—T/ie Washington Postn”A striking rethinking of the Roman Church’s possible future relationship to American society.”n—CommentarynPaperback, $12.95nAfter IdeologynRecovering the Spiritual Foundations of FreedomnDavid Walshn”An important book…. Walsh persuasively argues that the suppressed sources of modernity, bothnclassical and biblical, must be engaged anew in order to renew our public life in a postmodern era.”n—Richard John Neuhaus, director of The Institute on Religion and Public Life and author ofnTTie Naked Public SquarenHardcover, $24.95nAvailable at your local bookstore.nAlso available from HarperCollins Canada Ltd.nnnHarperSanFrancisconA Division of HzrpcrCoWinsPuhlishennDECEMBER 1990/37n