Carroll's Cri de Coeur: Globe Columnist Anguished, and It's All America's Fault
I don't know James Carroll, but if I were a friend or family member I might truly be concerned. His Boston Globe column of this morning, American Disconnection, is a disjointed lament about the state of the world and his feeling of disconnectedness, invoking the anomie of his youth. What makes it interesting for present purposes is the way in which Carroll, the prototypical MSM liberal, looks at the world, sees a litany of wrongs, and naturally concludes . . . It's All America's Fault.
Carroll seeks to reassure us, and no doubt himself, that "my adult connections are strong, and ever more interesting . . . My friendships are intact. Boredom is a word of absolutely no relevance in my life, nor has youthful moodiness left a stamp on me." He even claims that "I was part of a large, happy family." This from someone whose alienation from his Air Force general father was so intense he famously wrote a book about it: An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us.
Carroll recites his bona fides of psychic health as a prelude to admitting:
I am feeling ambushed by a sensation, exactly, of ineffectual isolation. The endless midafternoon of an August summer day seems all at once the whole of life. Disconnectedness is the heart of it.
And what is the cause of Carroll's angst?
The largest experience of being cut off from what matters of which I am aware involves the American crisis in the Middle East.
The former Roman Catholic priest then ticks off a laundry list of international woe: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the West Bank and Gaza. Claims Carroll: "one can fault feuding Iraqi factions, Iranian fantasies of dominance, Pakistani duplicity, Taliban ruthlessness, Hamas intransigence, or Israeli belligerence." But that wouldn't be any fun. No, oh-so-predictably, Carroll looks at all that is wrong in the world and concludes that it is "tied to the behavior of the US government."
Carroll then plunges into serious downer mode, speaking of "a vast population of shamed US citizens" [a bit of projection, perhaps?]. He writes that "private brooding desperately seeks a mode of public action, yet is thwarted." He asks "why shouldn't youthful summer doldrums open into massive civic anguish?"
He concludes with this jeremiad of a final sentence:
"The war has become a god apart, for which now it will really punish everyone."
While Carroll's story is clearly a troubled personal one, I'd suggest that in many ways he epitomizes the liberal condition. He looks at the world, sees all its wrongs, feels helpless, anguished and disconnected, and concludes that America is to blame. What a way to go through life.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org