Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Norm and Will

Will Rogers betrayed the socially-isolated reality behind his garrulous stage persona when he remarked that he never met a man he didn't like. Hold that thought and consider Norm Geras's reply to Katha Pollitt:

[Pollitt]: That is the paradox of patriotism: everyone is supposed to think her or his own country is "the best," but only one set of inhabitants can be right.
[Geras]: ...there's certainly no paradox of patriotism such as Pollitt identifies. There's no paradox because thinking your country best in this context doesn't mean best by some universally objective standard; it means something like best for you. A patriotic Belgian is not bound to think that Belgium has a better cinematic tradition than France or Italy, a patriotic English person doesn't have to think that England has better cuisine than... er, France or Italy ...
I am not one to say what a patriot is bound to uphold -- there are two senses in which I am not making any demands on True Scotsmen -- but I gently suggest that Norm's remark betrays how few self-styled American patriots he has encountered.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems like Norm wishes to redeem patriotism from the practices of its more stupid proponents. But stupid -- that kind of stupid -- is never going away. It will be with us until the end of our species.