Quoted Without Comment

“A recollection touched him, booklegged stuff from the forties and fifties of the last century which he had read: French, German, British, Italian. The intellectuals had been fretful about the Americanization of Europe, the crumbling of old culture before the mechanized barbarism of soft drinks, hard sells, enormous chrome-plated automobiles (dollar grins, the Danes had called them), chewing gum, plastics … None of them had protested the simultaneous Europeanization of America: bloated government, unlimited armament, official nosiness, censors, secret police, chauvinism … Well, for a while there had been objectors, but first their own excesses and sillinesses discredited them, then later …”

– Poul Anderson, Sam Hall

3 thoughts on “Quoted Without Comment”

  1. What does he mean by “unlimited armament” and “chauvinism”? When that didn’t exist, anywhere in the world, including America? When ships with Jewish refugees from Europe were not allowed into US – was it European influence or a home-grown American phenomenon?

  2. The analogy fails at several points, but for something written in the early 1950s it’s a remarkably good criticism of the “intellectual” attitude that the US should always learn from Europe but never the other way around.

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