mankind to share the benefits of a simplified and literal-minded Anglo- American (but mostly American) understanding, there was at least Robert Frost around to designate Basic English "Basic Balls."47 The proletarian James Jones, speaking in 1952, sensed the need for some antidote to the continuing postwar high-mindedness. Acknowledging his National Book Award, he paraphrased his editor Maxwell Perkins and said: "The only thing wrong with literature in our time is that it lacks . . . malice, envy, and hate. . . . This fear of rascality in our writers is unwittingly turning them into moralists."48 Which is to say that the mood of wartime survived the war, at least until Vonnegut, Heller, and Pynchon succeeded in proposing an attractive alternative.
With One Voice
Because in wartime the various outlets of popular culture behaved almost entirely as if they were the creatures of their governments, it is hardly surprising to find that they spoke with one voice. Together with skepticism, irony, and doubt, an early casualty was a wide variety of views about current events. Radio, popular music, films, and magazines (whose essence reduced largely to their advertisements) conveyed the same sanguine message about the war as the singing commercial of the period delivered about housewifely chores:
Rinso white! Rinso white!
Happy little washday song.
In a way not easy to imagine in the present world of visual journalism, the war was mediated and authenticated by spoken language, whose con-