The Death Of Truth Book Summary By Michiko Kakutani

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In The Death of Truth (2018), renowned literary critic Michiko Kakutani provides her readers with an in-depth, and oftentimes shocking perspective on the current political climate in the United States.

Drawing from over 30 years’ experience as a respected literary critic, she explores themes of truth, reality, and their impact on society.

She also reveals how various authors of the past have written about many of the same issues that are causing discordance today.

Insightful and thought-provoking, The Death of Truth is sure to leave readers questioning reality and seeking answers.

The Death Of Truth Book

Book Name: The Death of Truth (Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump)

Author(s): Michiko Kakutani

Rating: 3.7/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Politics

Author Bio

Michiko Kakutani is an accomplished author and journalist with an impressive working history.

She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Yale University in 1976 and was hired soon after by Time Magazine and the Washington Post as a reporter.

Having made a name for herself, she moved on to become the book critic for The New York Times in 1983, a position she held until her retirement in 2017.

As Vanity Fair once labeled her "the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world," Michiko Kakutani has established herself as a prominent influential figure of literature throughout her lifetime.

The Danger Of Ignoring Facts: How We Ended Up In The ‘Post-Truth Era’

Post-Truth Era

The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani is written in a unique style, providing readers with a literary-minded view into the modern political landscape.

By drawing on wisdom from renowned authors, like Philip Roth and George Orwell, throughout history, who have commented on chaos and surrealism in world affairs, Kakutani has put together an incredibly insightful evaluation of the “post-truth era” we are currently facing today.

Kakutani examines how powerful people have abused their status to deny or twist proven facts and established truths for their own agendas.

For example, she looks into what goes on in Russia’s Internet Research Agency as well as one of President Trump’s favorable tweets – both cases highlighting the potentially devastating consequences when critical thinking is neglected.

By combining various references from past times with insights and analysis into current society, Michiko Kakutani paints a vivid yet eerie portrait of our modern world through The Death of Truth; truly sobering us with reflections overlooked in everyday life.

Trump Is Helping To Resurrect An Old Counter-Narrative In Opposition To Enlightenment Values

It’s no secret that some of the guiding principles of the founding of the United States were set by the Enlightenment of 17th and 18th century Europe, with its emphasis on reason, liberty, progress and religious tolerance.

But this has never been a universally accepted concept within the US.

As early as 1839, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech known as the Lyceum Address to emphasize the importance of reason in protecting American citizens from tyranny and preserving the rule of law.

While this message was recognized, it was counteracted by people in power who were working to undermine progress and reasoned thought.

The best example at this time was 1855’s right-wing Know Nothing party, which opposed immigration and Catholicism with 43 elected members of Congress and had staunchly anti-immigrant beliefs.

Throughout history writers have documented various forms of opposition against these values ranging from Philip Roth’s “indigenous American berserk” to Richard Hofstadter’s “paranoid style.” However, this counter narrative only went mainstream in 2017 when Breitbart bloggers began writing articles surrounding these issues while President Trump retweeted them and publically expressed agreement with them, standing beside him being people who felt lost due to technological advances such as globalization.

These extremists, largely ignored before 2017 have now become widely accepted as a result of their new found support for their ideologies.

This shows how influential Trump has been towards rolling back progress through his choices for institutional leaders like Rick Perry running Energy Department or Scott Pruitt leading Environmental Protection Agency both whom he sued on numerous occasions prior to their managerial duties .

All in all it is clear that there has always been an opposition towards reason and progress within America but became mainstream during Trump’s presidency in 2017.

The Kaleidoscope Of Information Options: Exploring The Pandemic Partisan Divide In Media

As the internet and social media have become an essential part of our lives, so has the amount of information we have to choose from.

While having all these different options might sound like a good thing, it has actually resulted in dangerous filters and silos being built around us.

We now have access to outlets like Fox News that uphold a certain ideology rather than being impartial, as well as popular right-wing news media sources like Breitbart and the Sinclair Broadcast Group which reach around 38% of the USA.

These kind of partisan silos or content silos mean that people are only letting in information that they agree with – often disregarding facts, data and evidence – creating what is known as confirmation bias.

This can further fuel ideological tribalism amongst people where they view their own perspective as the absolute truth – badly affecting open and reasonable discussions on issues such as gun violence, global warming, healthcare etc.

In fact, a 2016 Pew survey reported how 45 percent of Republicans believed that Democratic policies were a danger to the nation’s well-being, while 41 percent of Democrats felt the same about Republicans!

The internet has undoubtedly given us more information options but it has also started to shape our perception to accept only one side if truth – extreme polarization created by dangerous filters, silos and tribes.

The Dangers Of Postmodernism: How An Alternative Reality Threatens Democracy

Threatens Democracy

The Death of Truth by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michiko Kakutani paints a bleak and startling picture of how postmodern thought has infiltrated politics and is being used as a tool to deliberately divide societies around the world.

By shifting reality from objective to subjective, it allows politicians to manipulate facts and present them in any way they wish to serve their own agenda.

This can be seen clearly in the Trump administration’s willful disregard for facts such as climate change, alternative energy sources and immigration policy.

As Kakutani explains, these lies are intended to appeal to his conservative base by creating an artificial sense of danger, while pandering to his donors in the fossil fuel industry.

Moreover, Trump has leveraged this subjectivism further by using lies to stir up anger among white working-class voters by scapegoating immigrants, women, black people and Muslims with false claims that crime rates were rising when they were actually reaching historic lows.

This type of narrative presents one group as victims requiring protection from another group – dangerously similar tactics used in totalitarian regimes.

It is clear that postmodern theory and subjectivism are being twisted into powerful tools for division – but only if we let them be.

We must remember that facts still matter and take a stand against those attempting to divide us by exploiting our differences rather than seeking common ground.

The Dark History Of Political Propaganda: How Russian Agents Used The Internet To Sow Division And Manipulate Voters

Fake news has become an increasingly powerful weapon for states looking to disrupt the functioning of their citizens’ democracy.

Russia is one such country and its agents have been using fake news as a propaganda tool since even before the 2016 US election.

The Internet Research Agency (from St Petersburg in Russia) played a crucial role during this period, with its agents posting around 80,000 posts on Facebook alone that had an estimated reach of 126 million Americans.

From December 2015 onwards, these posts had highly partisan content that either favored Trump or was anti-Clinton.

What was also concerning was the impact these posts had on the American public; in the three months leading up to the elections, it was found that the top fake news articles had a larger readership than those posted by mainstream outlets like the New York Times and NBC News!

Moreover, to further increase tension and divisiveness in American society, Russian agents also set up online “false flag” accounts like South United (promoting Confederate flags) and Blacktivist (celebrating the Black Panthers).

Russia is not limiting its propaganda efforts to just America though; they have been actively interfering in 19 European elections as part of their wider plan to destabilize both NATO and EU countries too.

This demonstrates just how powerful of a tool fake news can be used as in manipulating people’s beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.

Trump’S Zero-Sum Worldview And Nihilistic Behavior Inspiring Politicians Everywhere To Be More Cynical, Dishonest And Destructive

The consequences of President Trump’s behavior have been devastating.

His casual dishonesty and parade of falsehoods attack the legitimacy of truth-telling and make it easier for others to get away with similar transgressions.

He tramples on language and truth by twisting facts, bullying those who disagree, and engaging in trollish behavior on Twitter.

It’s an example that has global implications: other politicians in the U.S., as well as leaders around the world, are emulating his tactics, which leads to serious policy decisions with damaging effects.

Amongst these damaging effects is his embrace of nihilism in his policies, which could have repercussions for millions of people.

It has also had a corroding effect on democracy in the US; Trump has attacked every aspect of Obama’s legacy from health care to environmental policies meant to protect civil liberties; he carries out destructive negativity at every opportunity without consequence.

Elsewhere abroad, leaders seem to be inspired by Trump’s callousness as they shrug off accusations of mass murder or human rights violations by labeling them “fake news”—just like president Trump famously did to CNN when tweeting an image of something labeled “CNN” under his shoe.

It’s clear that president Trump’s nihilistic, troll-like behavior, combined with his lies and twisting of language have dangerous repercussions not just in America but across the globe.

Nihilism And Narcotizing Entertainment: How Fake News And Disconnect From Politics Threatens Democracy

Fake News

In recent times, an alarming trend has been emerging in the United States.

There is a growing sense of nihilism evident throughout the population and it shows itself in many ways.

From young survivors of tragedies like Sandy Hook and Parkland being trolled online, to fake news sites circulating false stories about Hillary Clinton, it’s clear that something is up.

The phenomenon is even seen among people like Richard Spencer who have been leading alt-right rallies with cheers of “Hail Trump!

Hail our people!” And when asked if he was serious or being ironic with these remarks, Spencer just shrugged off the comments without giving any sort of clarification.

Research conducted by Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis seems to add substance to this theory, as they concluded that protestors using racial slurs “ironically” on online forums may become more receptive to white nationalist rhetoric after prolonged exposure.

Meanwhile even Trump aides have admitted that some things said by the President should not be taken literally.

What is all too painfully clear from all this nebulosity is that truth appears to be taking a backseat in America.

The country’s founding fathers warned citizens about this eventuality centuries ago – but unfortunately their words appear more relevant now than ever before.

It seems our society risks entering a domain where knowledge is scarce and lies are abundant unless we act soon to stem the tide of nihilism across America.

Wrap Up

The final summary of The Death of Truth is that while the 2016 US election may have seem like an anomaly, it’s actually heavily rooted in past events.

As Kakutani points out, many people saw this looming on the horizon as certain leaders lied and twisted facts to their own ends.

This puts democracy itself at risk and over the decades many authors, scholars, and historians have written about it.

We can’t ignore what’s happening and hopefully take measures to ensure that truth remains at the core of society.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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