2012 Spring Issue 2 (April 13, 2012)
If I were really part of a grand tradition of flocking to cultural centers to learn from great scholars, I would go to New York or San Francisco, not Rome- and it wouldn't even matter nowadays, because globalization and the internet have spread cultural prestige so completely across the first world that talking about 'centers of knowledge' is essentially absurd.
A few weeks ago, I read in passing that an excess of potassium in your bloodstream could cause cardiac arrest. Having eaten probably four bananas that day, I immediately proceeded to Google to confirm whether this was true and whether I was in danger. It turned out I wasn’t the only one concerned. The first question that I found read: “I eat 25-30 bananas every day. Is this too many?"
Nationalism is an invention. A damn useful invention. Picture this: a force that can control the mind, body, and soul of a huge mass of people and unite them under a common understanding of human cooperation and governance. That’s nationalism, and it’s a powerful tool. If you don’t think nationalism can be “used,” you’re wrong. Patriotic appeals are all over the place.