It seems to me that the great crisis in this country is a media environment which is attention-squeezed, hate-driven, ink-blotted, sound-bit. Basically neo-Pavlovian, treating you like a salivating dog. Simulate, jolt, salivate. You find that you are treated as a consumer, not as a citizen, not as someone capable of absorption and marvel and wonder.

I write books, but what really turns me on, what really captivates my thinking, is magazine culture. That’s a difficult thing, because magazine culture is in big trouble. If I write a book, it gets read by ten thousand people, if I write a magazine article it gets exposed to a hundred thousand people who are reading about something they didn’t know they had any interest in. The kind of writing I love comes at things from the side, and it relishes the narrative itself. You find yourself reading, and about halfway along, you realize that what you’re reading is the most important thing in the world.

– Lawrence Weschler

The title is based on an exchange between (then) New Yorker editor William Shawn and writer, Alistair Reed, as quoted by Weschler in an interview with The Rumpus‘s Kyle Minor.