November 22, 2011
"THE FRIGHTENING POVERTY OF CHARACTER"
Samuel Hynes, Anne Matthews, Nancy Caldwell Sorel & Roger J. Spiller, eds., Reporting World War II: Part One: American Journalism 1938-1944 (New York: Library of America, 1995) (From Ernie Pyle, "Life Without Redemption": "Since the first night I have seen too much of it. I no longer feel that way about the shelters in mass. Repetition makes the unusual become commonplace. Enough of anything dulls the emotions." "But I still think my first impression was a valid one. I still think it speaks the frightening poverty of character in this world more forcibly than do the bombs that cause it." "A bombed building looks like something you have seen before--it looks as though a hurricane had struck. But the sight of thousands of poor, opportunityless people lying in weird position against cold steel with all their clothes on, hunched up in blankets, lights shinning in their eyes, breathing fetid air--lying there far underground like rabbits not fighting, not even mad, just helpless scourged, weakly, waiting for the release of another dawn--that, I tell you, is life without redemption." Id. at 150, 152.).