Intellectuals should be windows, and not window dressing

This particular paragraph has stuck in my mind. Perhaps others reading it will think it odd too that even in 1962 it was apparent to some that the civilian government was a sham, and even more incredibly, that there existed an honest intellectual.

On May 11, 1962, Robert Lowell was again invited to the White House, this time for a dinner in honour of André Malraux, then French Minister of Culture. Kennedy joked at the reception that the White House was becoming ‘almost a café for intellectuals.’ But Lowell was skeptical, and wrote after the White House dinner: ‘Then the next morning you read that the Seventh Fleet had been sent somewhere in Asia and you had the funny feeling of how unimportant the artist really was, that this was sort of window dressing and that the real government was somewhere else, and that something much closer to the Pentagon was really running the country … I feel we intellectuals play a very pompous and frivolous role – we should be windows, and not window dressing.” (Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War, p344)

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