Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wait until the war is over - The Sat.Eve.Rvw.of The NYT

News has been called the first take of history. But what about when the first take does a double take? When the news guys regurgitate history? "A War Is Long Over But Many Still Seek To Learn Its Lessons" in Tuesday's Times (9-9-2014) does a bit of such regurgitation - discussing the 100th anniversary World War I and the general torpor that finds many thinking people today finding similarities between the global Risk game today and then.

Figuring in the story is Margaret MacMillan, author of "The War That Ended Peace". She comments that were now living in a much more complicated world than that of the predecessor Cold War period "with low-level conflicts that never seem to conclude and the sense of things ending somehow, of a great period of transition." Like Linus discussing the great pumpkin, this newsreader screams "THAT'S IT"

To me this feeling of conclusion, transition and sconflict is a big part of the essential concoction that  makes for news. McMillan says using history as a guide is not wise - but admits history is a sign. [?] There is a tendency to distort the past, she said. True but to me there is not much that comes closer to magical prediction round, then reading a few papers that directly preceded a seminal event. I know I've said before that part of the big Godsmack of 9/11 for me was the feeling that this horrific event neatly clarified many muddy threads of news stories that I read in the year, year or two, preceding.
The story ends with McMillan's prediction that we are in for troubled times. If I was a betting man… -Jack Vaughan

Note: One thing I was surprised to find out reading the story was that there was ''no consensus'' on the cause for World War I. [We do know that WWI was cause of World War II however. ]The story notes the popularity of the Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman And I  admit that my view of World War I cause is based on others' readings of the Guns of August.

Note: I remember years ago late night talk show host Jack Parr commenting in monologue on how his attention to the Times is often distracted by the brassiere ads that ran alongside the editorial copy. I recall as this fetching pic of actress of bra-clad Madeleine Bundy appears smoking adjacent to A War Is Long Over – a story about WWI and its meaning for contemporary global politics. . Adjacent to a crossword puzzle as well. Surrealism rains.

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