Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Comic Book Society

Modern life has begun to resemble a series of action comic books. I watch political debates and hear speeches in which "ZAP" and "POW" would not be inappropriate interjections. The level of discourse has fallen to ridiculously combative advocacy. You frequently see people who know better defending the indefensible. Many of them have law degrees.

It should not surprise us that there is, to borrow an expression, no grown-up in the room. Our society has spent decades extolling a Peter Pan view of life. Adults dress (and act) like children. Political analysis and standards have joined that downward trend. All of this makes me nostalgic.

Simply put, I miss Ike.

You remember Eisenhower. Old, boring, read Louis L'Amour novels, and played golf. What the intrepid journalists didn't stress was he was hugely qualified to be president. He dealt with FDR, Churchill, de Gaulle, Montgomery, MacArthur, Patton, and a host of other power players in highly delicate diplomatic and military matters before coming to the presidency and he was smart as a whip. He wrote well but he didn't speak well and that, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan memorably noted, caused many to think doddering old Ike just wasn't that sharp. Yeah, sure. His critics could barely organize a picnic but the guy who was in charge of the Normandy invasion couldn't quite cut it because he wasn't eloquent.

After Ike, we got "cool." Ratpack cool in some cases. With rare exceptions, standards plummeted.

Well, we've moved beyond cool. We've now become comic. And here's the really bad news: It is likely to get worse.

ZAP!!!! POW!!!


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