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No Saviors

The cover of the current (November 17th) issue of The New Yorker shows the "O" in "New Yorker" as an Obama "O", rising like a glowing, beneficent moon into a peaceful night sky whose only other sources of light are stars and a magnificently lit Lincoln Memorial.

It’s a beautiful picture.  It’s also terrifying.

To portray any human being in a way that even hints that he or she possesses special powers — that he or she is anointed by celestial forces — that he or she reigns in some grander-than-human way over the rest of us — is an atavistic reflex, one that modern humanity should have (but, alas, has not) progressed beyond.

This cover, in its horrifying beauty, recalls to mind some sage advice from H.L. Mencken:

The Democratic tendency to make gods of successful politicians makes it all the more necessary to oppose them vigorously.

(This quotation is from page 174 of the 1996 Johns Hopkins University Press edition of H.L. Mencken’s 1956 collection entitled Minority Report.  This book, along with all the rest of Mencken’s works, are indispensable parts of my library.)


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