I think I was lucky to come of age in a place and time - the American South in the 1960s and '70s - when the machine hadn't completely taken over life. The natural world was still the world, and machines - TV, telephone, cars - were still more or less ancillary, and computers were unheard of in everyday life.
After Bush was elected in 2004 - please note that I didn't say 're-elected' - and I was walking around in my befuzzed state of confusion and low-grade depression, I set out more or systematically to read writers who'd grappled with that fundamental question of what America is, why it is the way it is.
Democracy's premise rests on the notion that the collective wisdom of the majority will prove right more often than it's wrong; that given sufficient opportunity in the pursuit of happiness, your population will develop its talents, its intellect, its better judgment; that over time its capacity for discernment and self-correction will be enlarged.
We've turned film into such an industry that we pursue naturalism just by shaking the camera and cutting the film to ribbons to provoke a bogus sense of documentary. But we haven't done the homework. To push the depth that the Actor's Studio did or the Russian theatres did with their actors is to rehearse, to spend time, to dig, to excavate.