Monday, April 19, 2010

Guilt, or Remorse? Take Your Pick

The Wall Street Journal reviews two books newly out that celebrate societal guilt and/or remorse, clearly a hot growth industry. Examples discussed in the review include the US being punished (by 9/11) for its sins . . . where? Well, some of them might have been committed in, to, or for the Middle East. Somehow the author (Bruckner) of the first book neglects to explore Germany as a case in point despite frequent references to Nazism and the Holocaust, skipping the actually penitent state in favor of the crimes for which its prolonged and excessive suffering continues into the present day, and on through the foreseeable future.

The second book is from the author of the bestselling The Reader (1995), which was made into a movie. It's by a German, about Germany, and demonstrates how its eternal condemnation for crimes it is said to have committed in the past century continue to hobble its considerable potential to provide this evil-ridden world with a little much-needed good.

Not mentioned in the review is the ability and tendency of some societies to perpetuate and exploit the guilt they attach to another society(ies). Do you think either book gets into that?

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