Monday, May 3, 2010

More Than a Master of Metaphor and Alliteration

Here's James Carroll's masterful essay on modern, impersonal war, as in "death by droning".

My jaw dropped as I read. This has to be one of his best efforts ever, among a throng of best efforts. And it's not just about his use of metaphor and alliteration, however powerful. It's about his ability to encapsulate essence within few words, much like the special poets.

If this seems to be a paean to Carroll it's because I experienced a certain awe in reading this particular essay. He's to be forgiven for not publishing last week.

Critics of the Tea Party variety will no doubt focus on his use of the phrase "we Americans" in the last sentence. They will accuse him of treason, or at least a hatred of America and a slap in the face of what they believe passes for true patriotism.

Carroll could have said "we humans", but that's not Carroll's way. He is critical of Americans just because he is an American, wishing for the best from us, and being frequently disappointed; a contemporary Socrates. His experience, through his father's work in the Pentagon, led to writing "House of War" published in 2006, the sub title of which is "the Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power".


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