It has been written: To the cynic the body is no more than a tenement of clay. To the poet, a palace of the soul. To the physician, an all too ailing hulk. The psychiatrist sees it as a housing for the mind and personality. The geneticist sees it as a perpetuation of its own kind. The biologist sees it as an organism which can alter the future as a result of the experience of the past. The anthropologist sees it as an accumulation of culture. Others have viewed the body as essentially just a machine, a concept that sometimes appeals and sometimes appalls. The English satirist Samuel Butler dismissed his fellow men as but "a pair of pincers set over a bellows and a stew pan and the whole thing fixed upon stilts." But to the more reverent, the bodily mechanism is a masterpiece of precise planning-a delicate and complex apparatus whose various components work as a unit to achieve such diverse feats as scaling a mountain top, building a bridge or composing a symphony.
I can't believe I'm having this conversation . . . With you! You've probably never read a book in your life that wasn't written by John Grisham. You don't get it. People like you are so content to write-off English. English just isn't about analysing stories - if it was, I wouldn't be like this. Stories, novels, whatever . . . reflect something about the writer . . . and the culture . . . and the society that it came from. It's a mirror - a mirror to ourselves. And when we do it right, when we just get it, we know something about ourselves. English is an understanding of the self. If we can see ourselves clearly, we know the right decision to make. And if you don't know who you are and make the wrong choices, what good is it if you can make two-hundred and fifty thousand?
In contemporary American public culture, the legacy of the consumer revolution of the 1960s is unmistakable. Today, there are few things more beloved of our masses than the figure of the cultural rebel, the defiant individualist resisting the mandates of the machine civilization. Whether he is an athlete decked out in a mowhawk and multiple-pierced ears, a policeman who plays by his own rules, an actor on a motorcycle, a soldier of fortune with explosive bow and arrow, or a rock star in leather jacket and sunglasses, the rebel has become the paramount cliché of our popular entertainment, and the pre-eminent symbol of the system he is supposed to be subverting. In advertising especially, he rules supreme
Feminism's agenda is basic: it asks that women not be forced to "choose" between public justice and private happiness. It asks that women be free to define themselves--instead of having their identity defined for them, time and again, by their culture and their men.