Going to Mass

By Kauffman, Bill | The American Conservative, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Going to Mass


Kauffman, Bill, The American Conservative


Almost a quarter of a century ago, my wife and I spent our wedding night in Salem, Massachusetts. It was not, despite my frequent and predictable jests to the contrary, an omen. Except in the sense that I was bewitched.

The following day we stopped at Edson Cemetery in Lowell, where Lucine left her wedding bouquet at the grave of Jack Kerouac: Catholic running back, Beat novelist, Taft Republican.

"Taxachusetts" cliches and Ellen Goodman aside, any state that gave us On the Road and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Shays' Rebellion and Walden, Sam and Henry Adams, and a goodly share of the best 19th-century American poets is welcome in my Union.

We had occasion to revisit Salem this summer, as we toured a New England university that left our daughter (and us) mightily unimpressed. But what citizen of the old America can endure the punishment of a college tour? Unless, perhaps, one turns it into a drinking game: a shot for every time the admissions officer says "kind of" or "sort of"--the y'knows of the degreed class--and a beer for every invocation of "diversity," a wonderful word that, like "tolerance," has been drained of meaning and is now used to enforce a grey and dreary uniformity of opinion.

We've heard eager student cicerones assure us that campus wiccans have access to the school chapel--boy, was that ever a load off my mind!--but I've yet to get the impression that the incessantly touted "diversity" includes, say, rural Christians or working-class Catholics.

This trip we returned to the agreeably hokey Salem Witch Museum, whose voiceover narrative, while hard on the Puritans, is delivered with stentorian, NFL Films-style gravity to a suitably eerie soundtrack. The museum's script takes the conventional, quite possibly accurate view that Salem's victims were innocents caught up in a frenzy of hysteria and untruths; it ignores the more interesting speculation--most famously proposed by historian Chadwick Hansen--that some of those hanged at Salem really were witches.

We skipped the museum's latest exhibit, which is devoted to contemporary witch-hunts such as "the McCarthy hearings on Communism and the persecution of the gay community at the start of the AIDS epidemic." When even glorified wax museums are infected by PC, what is left? Demolition derbies?

Joe McCarthy was a nasty character, but why should he so completely hog the devil's role in modern American history? Can't he share the part with someone with an infinitely higher body count: say, Nagasaki Harry Truman? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Going to Mass
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.