[lit-ideas] Re: Gathering the Ships

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 06 May 2008 12:49:08 -0700

And the raw material that would eventually make up the invincible American Army? “A Gallup poll of October 1940 found a prevailing view of American youth as ‘a flabby, pacifistic, yellow, cynical, discouraged, and leftist lot.’”

Boy, how did Mr. Gallup do it? He absolutely nailed us: refused to fight for King and country [check]; complained about having to walk or ride our bikes to school and to attend PE class when we got there [check]; listened to decadent Negro music [check]; refused to take part in sports and games of any kind [check and double check]; read everything by Marx we could get our hands on (by flashlight, under the covers) [check]; hung out at the corner drugstore where we were taught the meaning of the word 'cynical,' along with other useful expressions such as 'I feel angsty all over' [check]; carried petitions backing strict gun control around the neighborhood [check]; stopped thinking about girls and began to think exclusively of the meaning of life, which turned out to be zero [check]; were scared out of our pants by Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman (as well as by bumps in the night) [check]; made fun of Reverend Feenstra behind his back, knowing that that stuff was just the opium of our mums and dads... but Mr. Gallup already knew all about us from interviewing six teenagers squatting in a loft on Henry Street. Or from reading the Chicago Tribune—by flashlight, under the covers, at night, from whence all knowledge ultimately comes.

Duke Madison Trumbull
Professor of Ancient Merriment
Mutton College

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