I Mourn the Loss of Decency

Jamie Kirchik posts an email from an “internationally-renowned journalist” that talks about the hardships endured by the latter’s parents, and the great victory for humanity that the US and UK won in WWII. It concludes:

this underlying trust in Anglo-American
decency is a precious thing. It must be
preserved, which means it must not be abused.

Grit used to be the Anglo virtue – absolutely
grim perseverance through long, terrible
reverses – though often laughing at oneself,
mocking one’s political leaders, trying to
drown one’s sorrows in warm beer and Glen Miller’s music
– but just never wavering. Wavering was for the
Italians and French maybe, but not if you
were serious. The Germans didn’t waver. The
Russians didn’t waver. So for heaven’s sake
why should we ? I mourn the loss of grit.

Where to stat?

Well, first off, you don’t hyphenate “internationally renowned,” because the first word is an adverb.

And as to the substance of the email Jamie got from Frank Gaffney or whoever, two big things come to mind. The glory of the US-UK alliance came from its defense of worthwhile causes, not because of some mythical “grit” that any Nazi or Soviet could have claimed. This neonationalist email contains no defense of the substance of what we have done and are doing in Iraq.

Second, the people who write things like this almost never do anything that can remotely be compared to the struggles of the World War II generation. They write articles and send emails advocating that other people fight and die in a faraway country that they may or may not have ever visited. And that’s it— no other sacrifice is made. I mourn the denigration of grit into this childish play-acting, this seeking one’s own glory in the acts of the dead and the distant. And I mourn the loss of the morality that made World War II “The Good Fight.”

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3 Responses to “I Mourn the Loss of Decency”

  1. empiricus Says:

    Hi, Elvis –

    Happy to see that you have a blog. Added to my must-visit-frequently list.

    However, a memo from the Department of Glass Houses (cf your hyphenation correction):

    That should be “whomever”.

  2. elviselvisberg Says:

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the kind words.

    You’re right about “whomever,” I think, as it follows “from,” so it’s an object. That said, that phrase is supposed to be informal and somewhat silly, so I don’t feel too bad about the wrongness.

    Also, it managed to distract you from the fact that I also managed to misspell “start.”

  3. How Not to Think and Speak « The Elvisberg Report Says:

    […] Greg Sargent puts it, this is characteristic of many occupation-supporting politicians and commentators, who: “(a) Describe the very real sacrifice being made by others as not being such a big deal […]

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