America At Last: The American Journal of T.H. White – T. H. White, 1965

I love T.H. White, especially The Once and Future King, one of my all-time favorite novels, and Mistress Masham’s Repose, one of my favorite children’s books, with passages that always make me laugh. So when we were weeding the basement collection at work, of course I was going to check this out before sending it to the book sale. It’s got some good bits and lot of tiresome bits. At times, White exhibits a mixture of pomposity and denseness/insensitivity that’s almost touching in its innocence but is also annoying (I’ve known people like that). He loves Jefferson for all the reasons I did when I was younger, and has Tocquevillian insights into the US, as non-natives often do.

I forsee a time when the President of the United States will be as powerful and vicious as Caligula. We are in Republican Rome at present, the Emperors of America have yet to sieze power.

Yet there is something wrong with Disney … Why those awful mermaids encountered on the submarine trip? Why were they so saccharine, insipid, dishonest, unworthy, coy? Why was the sea serpent a babyhood dream, not grand or terrible or beautiful or even reptilian? Why was everything just wrong, the galleon unsailable, the whale provided with toy teeth? Why was everything a toy, in fact? Why was everything a pet? It seems that to Disney women, animals, children, knights, dragons and elephants are all pets.

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