Pop culture once understood its role

September 20th, 2006
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Columnists including Mark Steyn have identified the chasm between the historical stance of pop cultural organs towards civilization conflicts, and the current pose of neutrality (if not hostility towards the West). Steyn, reflecting his expertise and interests, has commented extensively on the movies and song.

If future historians were to come upon an archaeological trove of such materials from our era, they would conclude either that the current conflict with radical Islam never took place, or that everyone except a few corrupt oilmen, evil neocons and military officers was basically on the Islamists’ side.

Alert readers Gord Elliott and Julian Martin note that the visual arts also reflect this cultural gulf. As the examples below attest, past generations of cartoonists were happy to see themselves as propagandists for the right side in the fight. In the Second World War, they exhorted their compatriots to shake off their ennui and to join the fight to win it.

No moral equivalence, no cultural self-loathing. Just a clear-eyed sense of what was at stake, who was right and wrong, and what needed to be done. Worth a thousand words, indeed.

If only. What might these past cartoonists make of the news media’s current defeatism (or outright collusion)? How might they regard the West’s response to the Danish cartoons.

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