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Good News

Good News Blues

What I started to say, my original impulse, was wrong. Not all wrong, but, anyway, riddled with error and inconsistency. I started to say this: that in many ways, speaking (as we one and all must) from my own limited angle, my assigned point of view, the times we seem to be in and likely to live on into are about as bleak and discouraging, if not demoralizing as any in this century. This brutal, bloody century fueled by falsehoods, lit by the distorting illumination of inhuman abstractions. The operative, key word is the third one in the series of modifiers—demoralizing. We have been through bleaker and more discouraging times—the Great Depression, the string of wars, large and small, during which we, individually and as a people, were not demoralized. Not even greatly dispirited. We found then that we had things, courage and endurance and patience and an honorable, unsentimental compassion, that we seem to have lost in the easier times that have followed. I was going to say that what argues against the rigidity of simple and secular despair has been the solid proof, the irrefutable evidence that the unexpected can occur in spite of all strategies, systems, analysis. . . . Item: Two years ago there was a steady parade of left-wing British scholars (whose accents we do so love to listen to) who came to and through the place I work (Virginia) proclaiming the...

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