"In 1985, the year after George Orwell's dystopia did not exactly happen, the late New York University academic and media critic published 'Amusing Ourselves to Death,' which argued that the greater threat to serious democratic discourse would not come from Orwellian censorship but from TV entertainment 'values' that would act as a mind-numbing drug. 'Western democracies,' Postman wrote, 'will dance and dream themselves into oblivion.' If so, the National Mall in Washington is an especially ironic scene for that last tango. It was during a time of economic crisis much like our own—in 1894—that the first large-scale protest march arrived at the capital's great space."