Look Who’s Cheering For Mao!

A team of medical workers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has perfected a technique for curing deaf-mutes, according to a report I saw last week. This is splendid news, but with the utmost solemnity the account went on to brag that out of 157 deaf-mutes currently under treatment 32 can now shout, “Long Live Chairman Mao!”

A cartoon that showed Snoopy carrying the same slogan led to a student’s being disciplined during the ascendancy of Red Guardmanship. The plaudits of “a ghost and a monster” were rightly denounced as unacceptable, and the offending one was made to write out a “self-critical confession” (can’t you imagine the Red Baronial chortles?).

It scared me, then, when the U. S. Marine Corps admitted that Marines who tried to obtain discharges were handcuffed to mirrors and forced to look at themselves for eight-hour periods, in order to “stimulate a change of attitude.” The object of the exercise, explained a Marine spokesman, was to give nonconformists time for “self-appraisal.”

Taking stock of oneself is theoretically the sort of thing we should have more of, but a sustained scrutiny of their own reflection would promptly evoke from many the complaint that the mirror was distorted. It reminds me of a discerning Frenchman who said: “One must always tell what one sees. Above all, which is more difficult, one must always see what one sees.”

Still on the same tack, an ancient number of the Boston Congregationalist recently drew my attention to the results of an anonymous pastor’s self-assessment. Included in it were two paragraphs that ought to go down to posterity and all others interested. ...

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