As Terry Teachout points out, it's been exactly sixty years since Shirley Jackson published her much anthologized "The Lottery." I still remember the jolt the story gave me when first reading it in grade school. (Let's beg off the question of *why* I was reading this story between absorption in radio broadcasts of Minnesota Twins games.)Would it make such an impact today? I doubt it, and not just because of Wes Craven. What seemed threatening in 1948 is an oppressive, small-minded community. What seems threatening in 2008 is an absence of community, a sense of a nation bowling alone.
John T. McGreevy is the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.