Monday, August 30, 2010


I have been treating, somewhat nostalgically, the sixties and seventies as a time of greater acceptance of progressive ideas, and wondering what happened. Keif and Dawn suggest a slightly different approach to history, one in which patterns, coincidences, and commonalities play a greater role.

Indeed, this approach has already born fruit. There is a longstanding tradition of mocking liberals for being fruity, overly earnest, self-righteous, self-serving and humorless. Here's Henry James, writing in 1886:

Since the Civil War much of her occupation was gone; for before that her best hours had been spent in fancying that she was helping some Southern slave to escape. It would have been a nice question whether , in her heart of hearts, for the sake of this excitement, she did not sometimes wish the blacks back in bondage.

I would have thought that it would be hard to take the piss out of an abolitionist, but apparently it's cake.