A lot of what Gabler describes as Big Ideas turn out to have been actively wrong or at least misleading in the wrong hands, and one of the reasons is not the insights and findings of their initial creators but the seductive refashionings of later popularizers. The process that made Big Ideas into two or three-sentence applause lines that can be rattled off in succession in an op-ed in the New York Times is often what allowed them to turn into ideology and dogma.

If the informationally overloaded present is resistant to Big Ideas, maybe that’s not because we’re too busy watching YouTube videos of Jennifer Aniston playing with a cat. Maybe it’s because we’re acquiring an immune system resistance to the salesmanship of middlebrow middlemen trying to extract saleable Big Ideas from the raw material of knowledge production.