Advance tickets: $12: brownpapertickets.com or Pegasus Books (3 sites), Books Inc (Berkeley), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, East Bay Books, Mrs.Dalloway’s Books. $15 door, benefits KPFA Radio 94.1FM.
Diversity is a word much repeated in the news, in universities, in casual conversations, even at television awards’ shows. But what does the word actually mean? How do we square our seeming love of the word with the fact that our world is actually becoming increasingly less diverse and more homogenous all the time? That conformity in virtually every way is in fact rapidly accelerating? That we are all too often marching to the same potentially fatal drumbeat?
At last, one of America’s greatest intellectual gadflies directly takes on this question with straightforward prose . On Diversity: The Eclipse of the Individual in a Global Era delves into language, fashion, politics and even childhood experience to present a surprising, often penetrating analysis of our cultural moment. When so many of our public thinkers appear to be tangling with one another in order to be credited with the latest proper opinion, Russell Jacoby offers a fresh, dangerous, liberating injunction: just stop and think.
The author bracingly affirms the importance of the individual distinction that our classic thinkers identified as the ultimate aspiration for an age of increasing conformity in how we raise our children, what we wear, how we talk, even how we hobble our own brains.
Steve Wasserman, Executive Director of Heyday Books, was formerly a deputy assistant editor of the LA Times Sunday opinion pages, after which he became editor in chief of New Republic Books. He has also served as editorial director of Times Books and publisher of Hill & Wang.