Monday, February 19, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas February 19, 2007

357 They [the colonists] did not think of men marching off to battle, but of a man standing, gun in hand, beside his neighbors to fend off the enemy attacking his village. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

362 In place of the European concept of wars undertaken to serve the half-secret needs of dynasty, commerce, or empire, there had grown here a notion of war as the urgent and temporary defense of the homeland. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

368 Short-term enlistments (sometimes for as little as three months) expressed both the widespread fear of a professional standing army and the assumption that an army would be superfluous the day after the war was won. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

371 The American ideal was not Caesar but Cincinnatus, not the skilled general glorying in the tasks of warfare to which he gave his life, but the planter who had unwillingly left his tobacco fields. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

351 The myth of the omnipresent American marksman, clothed not in a military uniform but in a hunting shirt, became potent in psychological warfare. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

57 I asked them who their favorite president was…Harry Truman…Why?… “because he was one of the people, and when he spoke we could understand him…because someone is president doesn’t make him better than me.” Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

335 “Little boxes on the hillside,/ Little boxes made of ticky tacky,/ Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same;/ There’s a green one and a pink one/ and a blue one and a yellow one/ And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.” [Blum, V Was for Victory

337 “And the people in the houses/ All went to the university,/ Where they were put in boxes/ and they all came out the same;/ And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers / and business executives,/ And they’re all made out of ticky tacky/ And they all look just the same.” [Malvina Reynolds: “Little Boxes and other Handmade Songs.”] Blum, V Was for Victory
xiii ...more people struggle to make ends meet and frantically search for meaning beyond their individual lives. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

xiii Though there are still extraordinary individuals in communities across America, too many of us are losing a conception of the whole, and of our connectedness to one another. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

206 …we are a people of the present and have no heartfelt interest in the olden time. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches

125 Scratch [the average American] and you will find a Puritan. Mencken, Minority Report.

119 Richard Summers: We [Americans] are an idealistic people. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

146 The Americans have many virtues, but they have not faith and hope. Emerson, Man the Reformer.

288 Just as Daniel Boone needed elbow room and got it by moving on to a new frontier, so many Americans of the late twentieth century, buffeted by assorted alarms, schedules, and growing pressures to make a living, need time to themselves—time away from the exigencies of every day…read a book…walk in the woods…reflect on your dreams…gather your thoughts…keep a diary—these are the modern equivalents of Boone’s quest. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

943 …and Rome is not like one of our New England villages, where we need the permission of each individual neighbor for every act that we do, every word that we utter, and every friend that we make or keep. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

215 My impression of the land west of Missouri had been shaped by the movies and popular literature of my childhood—the conflict between cowboys and Indians, farmers and ranchers. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

229 Artist Charles Marion Russell, Great Falls, Montana, 1923: “In my book, a pioneer is a man who turned all the grass upside down, strung bob-wire over the dust that was left, poisoned the water and cut down the trees, killed the Indians who owned the land and called it progress [and] if I had my way, the land would be like God made it and none of you sons of bitches would be here at all.” Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

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