Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Weathermen were a small group of bourgeois romantics who committed a few violent but minor acts and then faded away. If they'd been organized enough to blow up an army base and then escape to Cuba or even if they got caught and were executed, unrepentant, they would he heroes to people in many countries. As it is they came home to Mama. But Ayers wants to indulge the romance of radicalism while enjoying the respect society offers a successful reformer. He didn't turn the offer of the title "citizen of the year" made by the city of Chicago. He should state simply that his past efforts were ineffectual and then say either that they should have blown up an army base or that the whole thing was a stupid mistake. If the former then he should stop "palling around" with mainstream politicians. Every time he opened his mouth to clarify, to make things easier for Obama, the more he made things worse. He also makes it worse for those who still harbor a nostalgia for intellectualized violence.
Marcel Reich-Ranicki has said that the only German he ever met who fully understood the significance of the Nazi era to the Jews was Ulrike Meinhof.

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