I AM HAPPY TO ADD THIS FOLLOW UP BY MY FRIEND STEVE WEBB ON SCHULTZ’S MISINFORMED AND NASTY NEW YORKER ESSAY, “POND SCUM.” SEE STEVE’S ORIGINAL AT MY ZETEO BLOG — http://zeteojournal.com/2015/10/18/thoreau-bashing/
Kathryn Schulz’s thesis, as stated in her fifth paragraph, is that Thoreau’s self-preoccupation (narcissism) leads to a “deeply unsettling” political vision that slights “the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.” In my opinion, this is a perfectly valid line of inquiry. What exactly is the ethical import of Thoreau’s categorical injunction “Explore thyself” and what specifically does it mean for a person’s social and political involvements, if any? Unfortunately, Schulz’s animus toward Thoreau is so extreme that her inquiry becomes little more than a hodgepodge of accusations, many of which are based on misquotations and a sly avoidance of all contrary evidence.
A simple example of misquotation is her use of Thoreau’s famous line from…
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