Sometimes considering sheer numbers can be overwhelming; I wonder how that affects our attempts to criticize each other's work. I was watching some show on PBS recently, where the ratio of high school graduates from China, India,and the U. S. was discussed. I freely admit I'm not good with numbers--what astounded me was the image they created--but I'll give you a ballpark estimate. China graduates 1.3 million high schoolers a year; India, 800,000; and the U. S. 300,000 (these figures could be off by a factor of ten, for all I know; but the ratio is approximately correct). That's a ratio of 1.3 to .8 to .3. What blew me away was the sheer numbers--forget about quality of education--American students were up against in a competitive world economy. In 1960, when I was twelve, the U. S. population was 160 million; now it's almost double that. In other words, from the time our first tribal ancestors from central Asia crossed the Bering Strait land bridge and began populating the Americas, to the "invasion" of the white Europeans in the early 1600's, to John F. Kennedy's election in 1960, it took thousands and thousands of years to bring the United States' contribution to the North American population toll to 160 mil; and then it took fewer than fifty years to double that. I wouldn't be the first to point out that a huge paradigm shift is implied in this, from a "pyramid" idea (a top-down criticism, with Shakespeare as king of the mountain) of literary valuation to ... what? A number of smaller pyramid-based worlds?