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harry near indy

excuse me, professor and all other readers, but didn't we -- that is, the united states -- lose our innocence when jfk was assassinated?

jeebus h cripes, but i feel angry when some fool says that.


wonderful post, thank you. I grew up in apartheid-era South Africa where innocence didn't much outlast the dawn of consciousness, but I still read the stories to my children. Stuart Little is a deeply strange book, it unnerves me, but I do love Mole and his compatriots.

Those who think America 'lost its innocence' on 9/11 are naive and parochial fabulists, as blind as Mole but a deal less agreeable.


Apparently GWB was still innocent, judging from his reading material that morning. Baaaah!

Bill Altreuter

Right on, Lance! You and I have chatted about children's books before-- my kids believe in the New York City of "The Saturdays", and the England of E. Nesbit, and they know about the trail of Tears, too.

blue girl

I did have this little sneaky feeling when all of our media and 1/2 of the government were obsessing over Clinton's sexual activities -- every day, on TV, in prime time -- that something more important might be going on -- that maybe we were "about" to lose our innocence.

I have that same feeling now.

blue girl

....and another thing! It was pretty hard for a 9 year old to hold on to his innocence when you'd turn the TV on and hear Katie Couric reading the Starr Report every morning....

j. bryant

I wonder whose innocence is always being proclaimed? Perhaps it's our Administration's. That way there is a great excuse for having ignored all the signs leading up to 9/11 - along with saying the U.S. was no longer going to participate in the peace process for the Middle East - and even ignoring any hopes of a treaty to keep North Korea from producing nuclear weapons.

I guess they didn't know how bad the bad guys really were. They thought they could concentrate on syphoning off as much money as possible while picking and choosing which enemy we wanted to pay attention to (would it be too cynical to say - which one we could get the most money out of? Maybe that wasn't it - let's cling to THAT innocence.)

Of course, once they found out, that meant the U.S. could throw out the rules of the Geneva Convention or, heck, the Constitution. I wonder what kind of enemy we were supposed to be facing before 9/11. As you said, we don't have to look far to see what man is capable of, Pogo. But where is the surprise in those we've fought? I heard of kamikaze fliers long before suicide bombers, "The Rape of Nanking" portrays a pretty brutal enemy, I know the Germans were very sterile about it but they seemed to have broken a lot of rules of humanity to me - and that's just WWII. To our shame we ignored the war in Rwanda but after reading about a father willing to make an example of his sons by killing them because they were half Tutsi, well, that genocide could take all shreds of anyone's innocence away...And yet, there are still the lines of Anne Frank's "despite everything...I still believe in the inner goodness of man."

I'm sorry - I think I am going way off topic on a rant you inspired....

So, along with the absurdity of the comments you mentioned, what about the destruction of children's innocence after school shootings like Columbine? When they can't even feel safe in their school hanging out with other students? If that's how it works, it seems like that would finish off some childhood fantasy figures pretty quickly on its own.

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