Judt on austerity and restraint

A signpost to a piece in the current edition of the New York Review of Books by Tony Judt unpromisingly entitled “Austerity“.

Judt, author of the standout history of postwar Europe and dozens of other fine commentaries and books, suffers from a fatal progressive disease, ALS, and has been writing his life’s memoir in short pieces in the NYRB.  “Austerity” does not discuss journalism as such, but what he says about politics and entertainment could equally be applied to much modern journalism.

“The wealth of resources we apply to entertainment serves only to shield us form the poverty of the product; likewise in politics, where ceaseless chatter and grandiloquent rhectoric mask a yawning emptiness.” OK, much journalism is conducted with lesser resources (particularly time). But read the whole piece and you’ll see what I mean.

Do not be put off by the fact that his subject is moral seriousness, austerity and restraint. Judt is one of a few writers who can make these ideas live.

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1 comment

  1. Liza Schuster

    Judt is a hero of mine. He is one of the featured authors on our first year Sociology course ‘Understanding the Modern World’. I use a clip of a BBC interview with Judt to explain to students the kind of commitment required from them throughout their three years at City – to little effect I must admit.