[lit-ideas] Re: Five Years Ago

  • From: Chris Bruce <bruce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 10:52:55 +0200

On 12. Sep 2006, at 06:40, Andreas Ramos wrote:

The American media was all about 9.11 today. I noticed that the German press (via Google News for Germany) didn't mention 9.11. I expect it's been forgotten pretty much everywhere else.

We've had about a week of programs on several of the German radio networks on '9.11', 'the 5th anniversary of 9.11', etc. Many of them have been quite good. The memorial events in the U.S. (included extensive quotes from Bush's speeches) were the first item on the news for most of the day yesterday (i.e., Sept. 11).

On 12. Sep 2006, at 04:25, Robert Paul wrote:

What are your thoughts on five years ago?

I've been trying off and on all day to articulate my thoughts about 'five years
ago.' I can't. My thoughts are about what has happened to the country that I
once unashamedly believed was, despite its mistakes in policy and action, on
the whole good, a country that I didn't have to be ashamed of, one that was,
long ago, capable of, in Churchill's rhetorical flourish, 'the most unsordid
act in history.' (He was referring to Lend Lease.)

I no longer recognize this cartoon of America, in which the unthinkable is now
the path of wisdom, and self-righteous us-against-them posturing, patriotism's
evil twin is stamped on the ribbon decal on the back of every SUV. We are not a
better country five years after. We are worse. We will not be better in my

My, goodness, Robert - and I thought *I* was depressed! At least we both, American and non-American alike, recognize it *as* a cartoon. May we both, as the phrase from that popular American television show of some years ago put it, 'live long and prosper' - long enough to see a world in which you can once more look at your country with unashamed pride - and we non-Americans in unashamed admiration - as America puts aside this 'cartoon' mask and shows a brighter face, shining in a righteous light that is firmly in keeping with its Enlightenment 'birthright'.

I said in a recent post that I've been reading lately - one is (a German translation of) an essay by Robert Darnton from about 10 years ago on (among other things) - and in defence of - America's Enlightenment heritage. (I'll save comment and quotation for another post.) Has he had anything even *remotely* relevant to this topic to say recently?

Chris Bruce
Kiel, Germany

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