Sunday, January 20, 2008

Man-Woman Marriage

Reading Jacques Barzun's lovely but largely forgotten little book Teacher in America (1945) I came across this passage:
Throughout the discussion, one phrase kept recurring as a joint denunciation of the policy in question and myself. The phrase was "power politics." I asked at one point what else politics could be about except power, and was stared at as if I had proposed polygamy. One thinking it over, I felt it was a sign and symbol of our modern ignorance of any kind of history that we should coin the phrase "power politics." If our alienation from concrete experience and the concrete imagination goes on, I expect that we shall soon hear of food nutrition and man-woman marriage.
Alas, not only has "power politics" become part of our language but, in fulfillment of Barzun's ironic prophecy, we have "health food" and have become so accustomed to the phrase "same-sex marriage" that we may soon need a phrase like "man-woman marriage" for distinction.

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