The End of Civilization

By Daniel Akst

Ok, I exaggerate. It's a headline! Still, it's stunning to read that the headmaster of a fancy Massachusetts prep school is giving away the 20,000 books in the library and converting the joint into a "learning center" containing giant flat-screen TVs and a $12,000 cappuccino machine. Read it and weep here.

Actually this may not be quite as bad as it looks. Students will be equipped with Kindles and the like. If anything the real news here may be that the headmaster is so politically tone-deaf that he thinks it's a good idea to do the whole TV-and-cappuccino rec-room transformation at the same time as he abolishes the library. Why not just announce a new environmental initiative to heat the facility by burning volumes from the library? It's not just eliminating books. It's going green!

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/09/the-end-of-civilization/24599/