Tuesday is for Thomas

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! THIS IS A PRETTY SERIOUS EVALUATION OF AMERICA WRITTEN IN 1967. FRIGHTENINGLY, IT COULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN TODAY ABOUT AMERICA AND SEVERAL OTHER COUNTRIES!
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Merton writes:
Yesterday I dipped into the manuscript that Julia Miller at Harcourt, Brace & World wanted me to comment on- nuns used as whores by Viet Cong etc…What revolted me was not so much the sex as the attitude- the mixture of superficial objectivity and Time-Life self-righteousness- and the subrub sophistication. America as she sees herself. The kind of America that makes Norman Mailer vomit- and me too.
It always gets back to the same thing. I have dutifully done my bit. I have been “open to the world.” That is to say, I have undergone my dose of exposure to Amreican society in the 60s- particularly in these last weeks. I love people I run into, but I pity them for having to live as they do, and I think the world of USA in 1967 is a world of crass, blind, overstimulated, phony, lying stupidity. The war in Asia slowly gets worse- and almost more inane. The temper of the country is one of blindness, fat, selfsatisfied, ruthless, mindless corruption. A lot of people are uneasy about it but helpless to do anything against it. The rest are perfectly content with the rat race as it is, and with its competitive, acquisitive, hurtling, souped-up drive into nowhere. A massively aimless, baseless, shrewd cockiness that simply exalts itself without purpose. The mindless orgasm in which there is no satisfaction, only spasm.

Ouch….what a critique of culture, the world, and the shallowness of so many pursuits!
jc