GOOD NEWS BLUESnby George GarrettnWhat I started to say, my original impulse, was wrong.nNot all wrong, but, anyway, riddled with error andninconsistency. I started to say this: that in many ways,nspeaking (as we one and all must) from my own limitednangle, my assigned point of view, the hmes we seem to be innand likely to live on into are about as bleak and discouraging,nif not demoralizing as any in this century. This brutal,nbloody century fueled by falsehoods, lit by the distortingnillumination of inhuman abstractions. The operative, keynword is the third one in the series of modifiers—demoralizing.nWe have been through bleaker and more discouragingntimes — the Great Depression, the string of wars, large andnsmall, during which we, individually and as a people, werennot demoralized. Not even greatly dispirited. We foundnthen that we had things, courage and endurance andnpatience and an honorable, unsentimental compassion, thatnwe seem to have lost in the easier times that have followed. Inwas going to say that what argues against the rigidity ofnsimple and secular despair has been the solid proof, thenirrefutable evidence that the unexpected can occur in spitenof all strategies, systems, analysis. . . . Item: Two years agonthere was a steady parade of left-wing British scholarsn(whose accents we do so love to listen to) who came to andnthrough the place I work (Virginia) proclaiming the declinen20/CHRONICLESnGOODnNEWSnnnand demise of these United States and holding up as annexample of the ideal modern state and society, combiningnequity and liberty (you already guessed, didn’t you?), thenG.D.R.! In passing, the Ortega brothers, in their tailorednuniforms and designer eyeglasses, were held up as modelnpopular leaders for the inevitable and inescapable future wendeserved. Who could have imagined that by here and nownthe last diehard totalitarianism Marxist places would benislands of ignorance like North Korea, Vietnam, Albanian(and even these are changing every day, groaning now withnchange for a change)? And, of course, a few last privilegednbastions, like the last of England’s crumbling stately homes,nof disingenuous disinformation. Like (a mere obviousnexample among some others) the Duke University EnglishnDepartment.nI was going to say that, but I realized it wasn’t true. Therenwere people, intelligent and thoughtful people, not magicians,nwho predicted precisely what has come to pass. Onenof these was Rene Dubos whom I heard, more than andecade ago, describe the breakup of the Eastern Empire andnthe Eastern Bloc as it has, in fact, happened. I should addnthat he predicted other breakups too, large and small, fromnlarger to smaller, almost everywhere except here in thenUnited States where our freedom of choice and of mobilitynwould probably hold us together.nI wish I had time and space to tell you some of the othernthings he reasonably predicted. Because most of them werengood news. They would cheer you up. One will have to do.n