Monday, March 7, 2011

Reflections From Across the Pond

This weekend interview with historian Paul Johnson caught Noman's attention.  While there's much to be said for his Englishman's view of the US, it was his comments on Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama that stood out to Noman.

"One of the great contributions that America has made to civilization is the one-liner...  Mr. Reagan had thousands of one-liners.  That's what made him a great president...he could could illustrate points with [jokes]...  You don't get that from Obama.  He talks in paragraphs."

The observation reminded Noman of a comment made by Elton Mayo in The Social Problems of Industrial Society about revolutionaries, agitators, men of the irreconcilable left--in a label, "community organizers"--that they were men without any sense of humor; social isolates incapable of easy human relationships that weren't political.

His comments also recalled to Noman a one-liner that Reagan shot off in a late-'70s speech at Hillsdale College, to the effect that some people are so trained to find oppression everywhere that they can't see a fat person standing next to a skinny person without concluding that the fat one got that way at the skinny one's expense.

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