In This Issue
Explore the January 1975 print edition below. Or to discover more writing from the pages of The Atlantic, browse the full archive.
Why should such grim books give such pleasure?
We can manipulate, or be manipulated by, the words we use, argues the British journalist who gave us “the Establishment” in its contemporary form and has devoted several years to observing and writing about Americans. We can command or hide, he says, adjust to new realities or obscure them. “Middle American,” “forgotten man,” “ghetto,” “ethnic,” “polarize,” “option” are examples of a language gone slack, a language in which too often “we simply don’t know what we are talking about.”
The soybean could—if we were a world of vegetarians. It is rich enough in protein to replace meat, but now it is fed mostly to animals.
The men ten years out of West Point— the place where the army’s ideals are kept—have known all of the bad and very little of the good of military life, says an author who has written about their ordeal in combat, and of the career army’s troubles back home. The attrition rate has been high—one way and another—and when class of ‘64 members, in and out of uniform, gathered to mourn their dead classmates, they were drawn by varieties of nostalgia, regret, and wonderment.
Harry Martinson, co-laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1974, is the author of more than twenty volumes of fiction, verse, essays, and drama. He has been described as a “stylistic innovator comparable with Strindberg. ” These two poems are from Friends. You Drank Some Darkness, translated by Robert Bly, to be published in the spring.
Some off-key thoughts on the need for a new and better national anthem.
John, we used the language as if we made it.