Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
I was rummaging around the house where I'm staying, looking for something to read, when I encountered an old favorite from my childhood, choreographer Agnes De Mille's memoir And Promenade Home.
While skimming through it, I came across a passage in which De Mille, a newlywed whose husband has gone off to fight World War II (he was to remain abroad for the two remaining years of the war but returned unharmed), describes some of the conversations she endured at social events during her long wait:
For dark, personal reasons, many people could not resist this chance at cruelty. There were the intellectuals who demanded aggressively if we believed in war and asked across our dinner tables did we relish the idea of being the widows of dead heroes? There were men of peace who fulminated against destruction and argued that no idea was worth fighting for that leveled Casino or Dresden....There were the newscasters who, after the fourth Martini, swore with something akin to professional pride that the war would last another eight years....
And this was World War II, the Good War. Interesting, no?