An Inclusive Litany


New Yorker theater critic John Lahr on Slate, September 12, 2001:
Over the decades, I've become instinctively skeptical about the events that have burned themselves into our consciousness as watermarks of the era. We still don't really know who killed Kennedy or Martin Luther King; it took us a long time to find out the hidden agenda to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Gulf of Tonkin "incident," which tipped us into Vietnam and a war we should never have fought.

Perhaps it's eerie serendipity, perhaps it's my paranoia, but an acid thought keeps plaguing me. Isn't it odd that on the day—the DAY—that the Democrats launched their most blistering attack on "the absolute lunacy" of Bush's unproven missile-defense system, which "threatens to pull the trigger on the arms race," what Sen. Biden calls today in the Guardian, his "theological" belief in "rogue nations," that the rogue nation should suddenly become such a terrifying reality?

The fact that I could even think such a thought says more to me about the bankruptcy and moral exhaustion of our leaders even in the face of a disaster where any action, in the current nightmare, will seem like heroism. But I do smell destabilizing violence in the wings. In fear, the nation, to my mind, has always proved mean-spirited and violent.

[Ed.: Any reasonable doubts about who killed John Kennedy or Martin Luther King vanish after reading the work of Gerald Posner.]

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