17 October 2013

File as Same-Old


A friend had written, saying: "God, what a fantastic situation, when activities legal in 1935 lead to one's being regarded as a criminal in 1952."  We pondered on his observation, thus:

Now things are getting turned around,
As turned around as things can be.
And the social conscience of '35
Becomes the treason of '53.

What you did then, all virtuous and legal,
Is now adjudged a crime against the Eagle.

You said, "It's coats we need, both new and old,
To keep us warm in the financial cold."
I think you'd better plead that you did not,
Now that the weather has become so hot.

Be suppliant,

You said, "Let's help Democracy in Spain."
Well, lad, I think you'd better say again.
Such attitudes are now deemed vile and ranko,
To be quite Franco.

You said, "Let us protect the immigrant."
You would defend our foreign-born?
Unblow your horn.

Were you adaptive during the depression?
You're now a captive, with or sans confession.
The situation then?  Forget it, brother.
The situation has become another.

What then was good is now proclaimed polluted,
So let the Newer Freedom be saluted.

Did you occasionally rant,
Finding in talk a stimulant?
Were you a bit too protestant?
Or not enough intolerant?
In social views vociferant?
In manifestoes jubilant?
Were you a parlor-pinkish termagant
Who liked with Charlie Marx to gallivant?

Recant!      Recant!
What you did then, to be elect,
Is now a crime in retrospect.

The realm of charity grows scant.

-Kenneth Burke

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