Opposing the Disneyfiers

Paul Fussell's enemies are "habitual euphemizers, professional dissimulators," and the "Disneyfiers of life." He is in favor of cojones, which is why he ends up in one of his essays liking the Indy 500 in spite of himself, comparing it favorably to the violence of the Falklands War, which is going on while he watches the cars racing past him.

Fussell's favorite word is, perhaps, "irony." He believes in bravery, and yet he realizes what bravery stems from and what it demands. He remembers James Jones and Willie Morris touring the battlefield at Antietam with their sons. One of the boys asked why the men had killed each other there, to which Jones responded that they did it "because they didn't want to appear unmanly in front of their friends." Fussell comments: "Considering the constant fresh supply of young men and the universal young man's need for assurance of his manhood, Jones's answer suggests why reason, decency, and common sense are as unlikely to stop the killing in the future as in the past. Animals and trees and stones cannot be satirized, only human beings, and that's the reason it's all going to happen again, and again, and again, and again." That is tragic, but for Fussell that is no reason to condemn the manly virtues. He is opposed to "humorless critical doctrinaires with grievances (Marxist, Feminist, what have you)," for the very...

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