Christopher Lasch
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: HiLo Heroes, Theory

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An intellectual historian and historian of intellectuals, CHRISTOPHER LASCH (1932-94) picked up the torch offered by negative-dialectical curmudgeons (T.W. Adorno, Dwight Macdonald) who’d rejected the shibboleths of liberals and conservatives alike. Pinpointing the social, political, cultural, and economic ills of the 1960s-80s, Lasch traced their origins to crucial moments in American history when reformists and change agents compromised their principles or lost their way. Why did the Left embrace a secular-messianic vision of an all-encompassing change in the human condition, achieved through the revolutionary transformation of society? Why did the Right abandon its suspicion of capitalism and its disastrous effects on traditional institutions? Lasch answered such questions with every bit as much anarchical lucidity as Thomas Pynchon or Woody Allen, who — like Lasch — tried and failed to dissuade their Boomer juniors from exacerbating the errors of earlier rebels-with-a-cause.

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On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Marilyn Monroe |

READ MORE about the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).

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Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011), and editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.