Joe Bageant, essayist
This is an amazing piece, worth every second of reading. It's refreshing and heartbreaking at the same time to identify so much of Bageant's description of modern American culture and its decline. I especially agree with Bageant's take on consumerism and the loss of creative thinking in our children (and adults)... most of the images in their heads are placed there...for them. We throw the concept of "freedom" around so loosely, but one wonders if we really know what it means anymore.
See: The Simulacran Republic.
Also, I include a website to read an interview with Joe Bageant... an old hippie, to be sure, but a cogent, wise philosopher, at best.
See: Interview with Joe Bageant (2004).