by Jerzy Kosinski
Kosinski published this amusing dissection of pop culture’s influence on American life in 1971, back when remote controls and TVs in limousines were considered state-of-the-art luxuries. But there is nothing dated about Kosinski’s novella Being There, which chronicles the fallout when a simple-minded gardener’s simple-minded pronouncements – many of them influenced by what he sees on television – are repeatedly mistaken for philosophical genius.
You have to wonder what the Polish-American Kosinski would make of “reality TV” in today’s world. Chance the gardener, the author’s blank-slate antihero, would probably feel right at home on Big Brother.
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