Some favourite turns of phrase from Bowling Alone, The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

"'[New York] is a splendid desert - a domed and steepled solitude, where a stranger is lonely in the midst of a million of his race,' wrote Mark Twain in 1867. 'A man walks his tedious miles through the same interminable street every dat, elbowing his way through a buzzing multitude of men, yet never seeing a familiar face, and never seeing a strange one the second time'". [p207]

"The outside world has become an abstraction filtered through television, just as the weather is an abstraction filtered through air conditioning". [p224, quoting James Howard Kuntsler]

"...found that TV watching has such a powerful impact on civic engagement that one hour less daily viewing is the civic-vitamin equivalent of five or six more years of education". [p238, my emphasis]

This is a great first wave book, incidentally. A solid foundation, comprehensively argued with masses of research. What will be fascinating is the second wave of arguments that takes this knowledge presupposed.