Skip to comments.Too Much, Too Late
Posted on 06/03/2004 10:45:21 PM PDT by WaterDragon
My political credo is simple and many people share it: I am against phonies. A cultural establishment that (on the whole) doesn't give a damn about World War II or its veterans thinks it can undo a half-century of indifference verging on contempt by repeating a silly phrase ("the greatest generation") like a magic spell while deploying fulsome praise like carpet bombing.
The campaign is especially intense among members of the 1960s generation who once chose to treat all present and former soldiers like dirt and are willing at long last to risk some friendly words about World War II veterans, now that most are safely underground and guaranteed not to talk back, enjoy their celebrity or start acting like they own the joint. A quick glance at the famous Hemingway B.S. detector shows the needle pegged at Maximum, where it's been all week, from Memorial Day through the D-Day anniversary run-up.
When I was in junior high school long ago, a touring arts program visited schools in New York state. One performance consisted of a celebrated actress reciting Emily Dickinson's poetry onstage for 90 minutes or so. I defy any audience to listen attentively to 90 minutes of Dickinson without showing the strain, and my school definitely wasn't having any. A few minutes into the show, the auditorium was alive with student chatter, so loud a buzz you could barely hear the performance. Being a poetry-lover, I devoted myself to setting an example of rapt attention for, maybe, five minutes, at which point I threw in the towel and joined the mass murmur.
The actress manfully completed her performance. When it was over we gave her a stupendous ovation. We were glad it was finished and (more important) knew perfectly well that we had behaved like pigs and intended to make up for it by clapping and roaring and shouting. But the performer wasn't having any. She gave us a cold curtsy and left the stage and would not return for a second bow.
I have always admired her for that: a more memorable declaration than anything Dickinson ever wrote. And today's endless ovation for World War II vets doesn't change the fact that this nation has behaved boorishly, with colossal disrespect. If we cared about that war, the men who won it and the ideas it suggests, we would teach our children (at least) four topics:
The major battles of the war....[SNIP]
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Ping for WWII veterans!
Some of us baby boomers do care about those who fought WWII.
No doubt Gerlernter is a major stockholder. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
BTW, Gelernter is a celebrated Unabomber victim, and having read some of his stuff, I'm a little surprised at the "right" leaning nature of this article, although I couldn't really say why exactly. Just my impresssion.
Why? Dr. Gelernter is a serious conservative who, to my knowledge, has never hidden his conservativism under a bushel. Yes, he is from Yale. But so was WFB, Jr.
A few years ago, I had a patient who came to me for an invasive procedure who was very needle-phobic. Too many needles during his recovery from World War II wounds received at Guadalcanal, he explained.
He had a chip on his shoulder and complained that the post- World War II generation did not know and did not care about what his generation went through in World War II.
"I bet you have never heard of Guadalcanal. Nobody in the younger generation has", he said.
"Yes, I have".
"Sure, you have", he replied with a disgusted tone of voice.
"Henderson Field. .... Savo Island", I replied right back.
His attitude changed in an instant and he said, "You do know about it."
Talk about "lump in your throat" moments......
I am planning to visit schools and community groups to show these things and to tell the story of this wonderful group of people, so that future generations will understand; we all know that relying on textbooks won't do it! If anyone would like to share stories, please feel free...I can add them to my collection.
I don't know! I said I didn't know. I read some fairly substantial commentary of his regarding his own ordeal, and that's the impression I came away with.
Dr. Gelernter is a serious conservative who, to my knowledge, has never hidden his conservativism under a bushel. Yes, he is from Yale. But so was WFB, Jr.
What I still try to understand is how the generation that fought WW II and survived the Depression produced so many children that became the "Failed Generation" of the 1960's. The Bill and Hillary generation haunt us still.
Was it because the WW II Generation was so deprived that it spoiled its offspring? Was it a mass psychosis that inflicted these people?
[T]oday's endless ovation for World War II vets doesn't change the fact that this nation has behaved boorishly, with colossal disrespect. If we cared about that war, the men who won it and the ideas it suggests, we would teach our children (at least) four topics:
The major battles of the war....
The bestiality of the Japanese. The Japanese army saw captive soldiers as cowards, lower than lice. If we forget this we dishonor the thousands who were tortured and murdered, and put ourselves in danger of believing the soul-corroding lie that all cultures are equally bad or good. Some Americans nowadays seem to think America's behavior during the war was worse than Japan's--we did intern many loyal Americans of Japanese descent. That was unforgivable--and unspeakably trivial compared to Japan's unique achievement, mass murder one atrocity at a time.
In "The Other Nuremberg," Arnold Brackman cites (for instance) "the case of Lucas Doctolero, crucified, nails driven through hands, feet and skull"; "the case of a blind woman who was dragged from her home November 17, 1943, stripped naked, and hanged"; "five Filipinos thrown into a latrine and buried alive." In the Japanese-occupied Philippines alone, at least 131,028 civilians and Allied prisoners of war were murdered. The Japanese committed crimes against Allied POWs and Asians that would be hard still, today, for a respectable newspaper even to describe. Mr. Brackman's 1987 book must be read by everyone who cares about World War II and its veterans, or the human race.
The attitude of American intellectuals. Before Pearl Harbor but long after the character of Hitlerism was clear--after the Nuremberg laws, the Kristallnacht pogrom, the establishment of Dachau and the Gestapo--American intellectuals tended to be dead set? against the U.S. joining Britain's war on Hitler.
Today's students learn (sometimes) about right-wing isolationists like Charles Lindbergh and the America Firsters. They are less likely to read documents like this, which appeared in Partisan Review (the U.S. intelligentsia's No. 1 favorite mag) in fall 1939, signed by John Dewey, William Carlos Williams, Meyer Schapiro and many more of the era's leading lights. "The last war showed only too clearly that we can have no faith in imperialist crusades to bring freedom to any people. Our entry into the war, under the slogan of 'Stop Hitler!' would actually result in the immediate introduction of totalitarianism over here. . . . The American masses can best help [the German people] by fighting at home to keep their own liberties." The intelligentsia acted on its convictions. "By one means or another," Diana Trilling later wrote of this period, "most of the intellectuals of our acquaintance evaded the draft."
Why rake up these Profiles in Disgrace? Because in the Iraq War era they have a painfully familiar ring.
The time has come to address the real root cause of suicide bombing: incitement by certain religious and political leaders.
In Love With Death
The dernier cri of seditious and corrupt Leftists everywhere, pro-islamofascist-terrorist radical chic renders the Left, irrespective of policy, no less dangerous to Western civilization than the terrorists they seek to aid and abet.
pro-islamofascist-terrorist radical chic
(viewing movie requires Flash Player 7, available HERE)
Those are terrific links, Mia T! Thanks.
It's unfortunate that everyone of the BabyBoom generation gets included with the nitwits. Of course not all should be....it's the ones who kept their sanity who've kept us from going under!
I think those of the Great Depression and World War II generation DID suffer so much they were determined their own children would never know such hardships. Also, they were so firm in their confidence in America and were so involved in their lives that they were blindsided by the radicals in the sixties, etc.
Gerlernter is a staunch conservative and always a delight to read.
I agree with his disgust with the liberals and their phoniness.
You're welcome... and thank YOU for posting this great piece.
IS it not funny that the first thing that came to my mind was the movie swing shift , I believe it had kurt russel and his partner in it, not one thing was patriotic in that movie . MY husband and I have quite the collection of food and gas ration stamps, postcards from Ethopia, and SAUDIA ARABIA , and reminders of the time when AMERICA really pulled together all of us (well almost all of us) what happened?
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