Monday, September 17, 2007

confusing justice & vengeance

"We cannot bear to face our knowledge that the satisfaction of our desire for justice, which we confuse with our desire for vengeance, is impossible. And so we invent as a victim the most comprehensive image which our reason, however deranged, will permit us: the whole of a people and the descendants of that people; and count ourselves incomparably their superior because we stop short of the idea of annihilation."

This was James Agee, on American public reaction to Nazi atrocity films (May 19, 1945, in the Nation magazine).