Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 138

sage in Shaw's music criticism,
written while he was reporting
London concerts and operas for the
in the early Nineties:
On Saturday afternoon the .Albert Hall was filled by the
attraction of our still adored Patti, now the most accomplished
of mezzo-sopranos. It always amuses me to see that vast audience
from the squares and villas listening with moist eyes whilst the
opulent lady from the celebrated Welsh castle fervently sings,
"Oh give me my lowly thatched cottage again." The concert was a
huge success: there were bouquets, raptures, effusions, kissings
of children, graceful sharings of the applause with obbligato
There can be no doubt in the minds of realistic and respon–
sible men that the civilized world-and with it the democratic way
of life and the Western culture on which it is founded-has arrived
at a crisis of stupefying proportions. Mr. MacLeish's monster is
not exaggerated. The violence, scale, and inhumanity of fascism
make it, with its command of the modern instruments of force, a
peril beyond any that has appeared in modern history. Fascism in
all its forms, from Mussolini to Stalin, is the enemy of society as
we know and live by it. Hitler and the Nazi machine are the danger
upon which every speculation of future war-and of a durable
future civilization-must be based. The point of urgent ,meaning
to us now is not that this danger is unreal, that a crisis does not
exist, or that the Nazis do not consider us their enemy. It is how
far are we going to let them stupefy us.
Mr. MacLeish is one of a large number of Americans who
believe that the threat to the democratic culture of England and
America is so great that all qualifications of the American responsi–
bility for defending democracy must yield to the immediate fact
of danger. Criticism, historical judgment, intellectual detachment,
and the moral discrimination of good and evil, causes and effects,
must be suspended. The evil is here and now.
is later than we
think. The house is afire. The gun is at our heads. Who started the
blaze, how the gun came to be loaded, are points of perilously
academic interest. Where this war originated; what was done by
power politics between 1918 and 1939; what crimes of irresponsi–
bility, shabby statesmanship, predatory state interest, commercial
hostility, sham
of Nations tactics, and perversions of
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