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September 27, 2006

Re: The Fear of Being Fooled

Looking at the subject from a slightly different angle . . .

I have in my inbox a notice about the Atlantic Monthly's "Atlantic Ideas Tour." Among the highlights of this tour is "Camelot Lost? Benjamin Schwarz in Conversation with Virginia Postrel on Glamorous Icons."

Maybe it's not fair for me to pontificate on this conversation based on the title alone. But I can at least tell you what the title brings to mind: the obsession with surface images that characterizes so much of our political process, not to mention our culture in general. In this area, disillusionment -- even if followed by cynicism -- has its place. But I don't know if this is the tack Schwarz and Postrel will take. The title suggests more of a wallow in nostalgia (this time, Roberto, I'm with you on that subject) over the joys of having the "glamorous" Kennedys and others like them running our government, regardless of whether they actually fulfilled that trust capably. Goodness knows we've seen enough of that wallowing in the culture over the past 40 years that it's hard not to come up with such an interpretation. But we'll see. Perhaps if any of our readers attend this, they can report back.

Or maybe the title just hit me the wrong way because I'm a Broadway purist, so every time someone uses "Camelot" in that context, I want to rant, "It's a musical by Lerner and Loewe about King Arthur! It has NOTHING to do with the Kennedy administration!"

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