Childhood's (refusal to) end: Back in 1953, Arthur C. Clarke wrote Childhood's End. Sadly, we've never read it.
Perhaps correctly, the leading authority on the book describes it exactly like this:
"Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival begins decades of apparent utopia under indirect alien rule, at the cost of human identity and culture."At the cost of human identity and culture? Given the childish ways we function today, Clarke's book sounds prophetic!
In what way is our behavior childish? As a point of reference, consider the 50s-era cowboy films one often hears described.
By law, those childish films were required to have a good guy and a bad guy. To make sure no one missed the point, the good guy would wear a white cowboy hat. The bad guy's hat would be black.
Were those films really that childish? We're not entirely sure. But that's very much the way our "journalism" now functions.
Our journalism, and our human thinking. Consider this childish letter in yesterday's Washington Post:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (6/11/17): The June 9 front-page article “Comey says Trump lied about him, FBI” said that former FBI director James B. Comey’s congressional testimony could deepen the crisis threatening the White House. Not only did the testimony threaten that, but also Mr. Comey was leaving a trail of bread crumbs for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to follow. Hopefully, that trail will result in the end of Trumpism.It's certainly true that Donald J. Trump makes reams of inaccurate statements. Many of his inaccurate statements are, in truth, crazily wrong.
It was stunning to see a passionate patriot who has devoted his life to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law tell the world that the president of the United States is a liar. President Trump has spent 70-plus years on Earth and has lied and bullied his way through whatever obstacles were in front of him. In Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump met his match, and his presidency, such as it is, will never recover from that meeting.
The letter writer would like to see Trump booted from office. Childishly, he pictures a world which is defined by that silly old pair of hats.
The writer says that Donald J. Trump is a liar and bully. This leads him to think that James B. Comey must be "a passionate patriot who has devoted his life to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law."
Childishly, he insists that Comey is the guy in that white hat.
Over the next few days, we're going to focus on the childish ways we insist on the white hat/black hat dichotomy. Our journalists love this childish format. All too often, we liberals love it too.
Is that letter writer seeing this situation clearly? In our view, Donald J. Trump is the most disordered person who ever got within a hundred miles of the White House. Having said that, is James B. Comey really the guy in that big white cowboy hat?
He doesn't look that way to us; this afternoon, we'll start explaining why. But in our modern American culture, childhood has kept refusing to end. In the matter of the Trump/Comey clash, this has produced some of the most ludicrous journalism one could conceive, much of it from our own camp.
Childhood's refusal to end has created the age of what the writer called "Trumpism." Alas!
We'll suggest that you ignore that writer's dream about Trumpism's end. Given our endlessly childish ways, the fundamentals of that age have, for decades, been eating away at our (allegedly) human culture.
Donald J. Trump could leave office today. Because Trumpism preceded him, Trumpism wouldn't end.
For extra credit only: At the same link we offered above, you'll see that the Washington Post actually published four letters under the heading, "Readers respond to Comey's testimony."
We'll offer this critique:
Two of the letters expressed some part of the most simple-minded pro-Trump perspective. The other two expressed some part of the most simple-minded anti-Trump outlook.
All four letters seemed to come straight from The Land of True Tribal Belief. We'll suggest those letters all reflect childhood's (refusal to) end.