Not that I ever indulge in despair about the Future; there always have been men who have gone about despairing of the Future, and when the Future arrives it says nice, superior things about their having acted according to their lights. It is dreadful to think that other people’s grandchildren may one day rise up and call one amiable. There are moments when one sympathizes with Herod.

Poor Saki didn’t know the half of it! The crushing contempt of other people’s grandchildren for his generation (and all that came before it) does not even allow him the dubious title of “amiable.” History, or at least that version of history that makes it through the filter of the media culture, only rises above contempt and furious denunciation insofar as its victim-subjects may be construed—and admittedly there is a great deal of ingenuity devoted to making such ...

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