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Friday, June 04, 2004

Too Late, Too Much
I don't know if you've read much of David Gelernter's stuff but I think he's a must read. He is a victim of the Unabomber, a Yale Professor, computer scientist, and author. I've read one of his books, Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber, it's excellent.

Anyway, today he has an OpinionJournal article about World War II remembrances recent and soon. He's not buying it.
A cultural establishment that (on the whole) doesn't give a damn about World War II or its veterans thinks it can undo a half-century of indifference verging on contempt by repeating a silly phrase ("the greatest generation") like a magic spell while deploying fulsome praise like carpet bombing.
He's right, of course. Most Americans under 30 can't name a significant battle of the war, a good chunk probably can't name whom we fought against. These things need to be taught - if only there was enough time after sex ed, diversity, multiculturalism, and loving our mother (the earth). But I will say this, all the recent attention given to WWII and its veterans has raised my interest level - I want to learn more. I'm guessing that's true for a lot of people. Will we follow up on that hunger? I will, I don't know about everyone else.

Gelernter points to a characteristic common to mankind - when the limelight shines bright we try the hardest to be the people we should be, but who are we when no one's looking? That's when our character, faith, and discipline carry us (or don't).

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