the same breath, painful encapsulationnof the “people’s right to know” issue:nIf by some bizarre turn of events herenI get killed, please don’t let anybodynsay anything leftist to the press, liken(some other) families of Marines killednhere.nMarine Sergeant Phillips has been killednin Lebanon, in the line of duty. DnCompassion Anyone?nWithin a social stratum that may bendescribed as very wealthy and very liberal.nThe New Yorker is venerated as then”Sovereign One”—^which is the “in”nsynonym for the Lord in the new lectionarynissued by those charming theologiansnfrom the National Council of Churchesnwho have decided to rewrite the Book.nActually, for more than a decade, thenmagazine—nearly a sexagenarian—^hasnbeen a sad spectacle of superannuatednradicalism. Radicalism, as we all know,ncan be alluring, though never graceful,nwhen it is worn by youth. To be a sixtyishnradical and actually to take oneselfnseriously requires some sort of mentalncallousness, even if it is deeply embeddednin that particularly American traditionnthat sees fiin in senile kookiness, to whichnpolite pity should be the proper response.nNothing better defines The New Yorkernof today than its film critic—^an elderlynlady whose looks convey anything butnsensual expertise—^who salivates innlengthy, garrulous essays on the blessingsnof the sexual “revolution”: hernapotheosis of a movie that instructednteenage girls in oral sex is an odd exemplificationnof ludicrousness that rendersnboth irony and skepticism helpless. Thisnis why, as someone has already noted,nthe top-hatted Eustace Tilley {TheNewnYorker’s emblem) has outlived his relevance:na representation of a revolutionarynbandarma above a visage that revealsnseveral costly face-lifts done in Manhattannbeautification clinics would morenaccurately crystallize the truth.n50inChronicles of CulturenIn a recent elegant editorial, TNYsnsuave sages invited their readers tonponder the plight of the hungry andnhomeless—^aiter the former had finishednsavoring their filet mignon in their poshnpenthouses. After detailing the case historiesnof a half-dozen starving indigents,nthe editors displayed the careftxl fastidiousnessnthat characterizes their style asnthey contemplated the question of moralnresponsibility. Discarding theory afterntheory, they finally settled on a satisfactorynindictment which condemns everythingnwithout soiling anyone’s tux:nThe system—^the same system thatntreats most of us well—has done themn[the poor] in; it’s the system thatnmires them in racism, that works tondeny social mobility and to concentratenwealth, that keeps public schoolsninadequate.nNo one, though, is really to blame fornthis state of afiairs, least of all TNF writersnwho iimocentiy enjoy the best that thisnmalevolent system has to offer:nWe usually are what we are throughnno fault of our own. And what some ofnus are is rich.nSomething ought to be done aboutnthose nonrich people who aren’t eating,nof course, but apparently no one neednforego such essentials as fashions fromnFifth Avenue shops or subscriptions tonrefined magazines in order to donatennnmoney to charitable institutions. “It’snnot almsgiving that’s needed,” we’renassured, but something else: “The systemnmust be changed before povertynwill start to disappear…. We must changenthe system in such a way that new generationsndo not grow up poor.” We donnot understand this kind of social determinism.nAre both poverty and wealthnsurgically detached from the quality of anhuman being? What other system do theneditors of TTVFhave in mind? That one,nperhaps, in which nobody has anything,nbut in which a handful of radical journalistsnwho serve ideological thugs havenmore than anyone else? And how can thisnchange be effected by readers who arendeeply involved vnxh fashion designersnand luxury cars, or by investment bankersnwho are best at building portfolios? ThenNew Yorker explains patiently:nWe can vote for politicians who mightnraise our taxes, and for politiciansnwho will make sure the bureaucracynworks for poor people.nThis we call the Metzenbaumian socialnethics. The name is derived fromnone Senator Metzenbaum, a liberal multimillionairenwho is a fenatical constructornof social programs paid for with skyrocketingntaxes. He, naturally, is also willingnto pay. Of course, even if he pays accordingnto the highest bracket on thentax tables, he still has enough to eat filetnmignon every night. The hardworkingnAmerican, who also has to pay for thenprograms Sen. Metzenbaum promotes,nis slipping ever closer to the poverty linenas a reward for what he is “through nonfault of [his] own…,” that is, a carrier ofnthe idea of self-reliance, work ethics, andnhuman dignity. Sen. Metzenbaum doesnnot ponder compassion, he serves it likena teimis ball—a dubious metaphor perhaps,nbut one that should be quite vividnfor The New Yorker’s readers. Its editorsn—^that’s another story. They deem systemsnin which compassion is enforcedn(by whatever means) as something muchnnobler than the homely capitalism ofnplumbers and grocers. Dn