January 10, 2009

I mistrust some of the impulses floating around the humanities these days.

My freshman year, I bought a packet of assigned readings. It had G.N. Miller’s photograph, “Resurrection Within,” on the cover.

It does indeed bear an uncanny likeness to the Brueghel.

But I worry about the gleeful, told-you-so smugness that sometimes lies just below the surface of such comparisons. I think Christopher Hitchens is on to something here: for all that Bush’s high-noon “with us or against us” vulgarities garbled the point, the events of September 11th 2001 do prompt some laying of the ideological cards on the table. I’m all for a healthy dose of appreciation for human irresolvibility, but if in the end our motto isn’t Succisa virescit we will soon find ourselves in unpleasant company.

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