Day By Day

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A View From The Other Side

Michelle Malkin has a long post on the NYT's troubling habit of printing classified information during wartime. It is the usual Malkin screed, but is interesting because she includes several WWII era posters [altered to fit the current situation] making the point that "loose lips sink ships." Those posters are remnants of a world so different from today in so many important ways that our elite standards and beliefs would have been inconceivable to those who fought that greatest of modern conflicts.

Historians customarily treat WWII as a great dividing point -- a watershed in our national development, and so it is in many ways, but "post-war America" was a far from unitary experience. Certainly the changes in our political culture accompanying the great crises of Vietnam and Watergate are as great as any that took place during the great mid-century conflict. Today we stand on the far side of a great divide separating us from the world of the 1940's. Viewing these posters reminds us of just how profound that gap is.

The fact that leading journalistic instititutions (including one that seeks to be known as "the paper of record") would defy the wishes of leading government figures of both parties to publish classified information that arguably could compromise important wartime initiatives against the enemy is an indicator of just how broad the gap between then and now and a reminder of just how profoundly disaffected are today's cultural elites.

The years that separate today's NYT from those posters are the years of my life and experience. I am old enough to remember the forties and viewing Malkin's faux posters my mind turns back to those days of my youth. Suddenly I feel very old, and very much a stranger in a strange land.

At times the land seen through the distorting lens of the NYT editorial board is not one I easily recognize, and as I read I hear sounding faintly in the background David Bowie singing, "this is not America."

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