Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bill Kauffman on Carl Oglesby
From last year, blogged by Joshua then in his old blog. When mid-century culture was still strong (the grownups were still in charge as a friend from then, a destroyer sailor stationed off Vietnam at the time, says), this gentlemanly, clean-cut early New Left had potential, Joshua thought. Idealistic, not a bunch of spoiled rich kids. (What people mostly wrongly thought the Kennedys were; BTW hooray for Jackie: feminism’s poison, LBJ was obnoxious and maybe a thug, and MLK personally a phony and nasty to boot, mocking Cardinal Cushing at JFK’s funeral.) Joshua’s said if they and the populist small-town conservatives, even the rednecks if they were agreeable, had sat down and talked to each other, figuring out they all were getting played by the government (the liberal one that made up the Tonkin Gulf attack story), the late-’60s disaster might not have happened. Possibly. But to give the drawbridge right its due, mid-century’s fervent belief in progress (the demon that spawned Vatican II) had the seeds of its own destruction, ironically part of what the recent nostalgia TV I like (‘Mad Men’ and its two copycats) tries to celebrate (but, hooray, a lot of people are unironically nostalgic: as Rod Dreher once wrote, Joe and Mary Average from then remember the ’50s as the happiest time of their lives and want their beautiful old church back; my old sailor buddy’s kind of like that). So maybe not. But it would have been worth a shot. May he rest in peace.

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