Means and ends

Yesterday I read Nash’s “For Whom Will the Bell Toll?” and was, naturally, cheering for the upstart historians and their supporters in the media and community. Hooray for rabble-rousing! Down with the problematic historical interpretations of big institutions!

This is, of course, the opposite reaction I had to Linenthal’s recounting of the Enola Gay controversy, in which upstart historians and their supporters in the media and community derailed the historical interpretation of a big institution.

The observation amused me, and serves as a valuable reminder. Process does matter; it is something to consider and critique. But it’s not the only factor that influences my reaction to controversy.

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