We have the word of fashion writers and gossip columnists that Mr. Eisenhower’s second inaugural, like his first, is going to be the reverse of ascetic. According to present plans, the occasion will be celebrated with furs, diamonds, gowns by famous designers and every conceivable luxury short of Adlai Stevenson walking in chains behind the Eisenhower chariot. And if the world stands still long enough, this conspicuous consumption will be reported in considerable detail, as having what is called “human interest.”
To the sociologist or the cultural anthropologist, however, the celebration of Mr. Eisenhower’s second inaugural may very well have a significance somewhat transcending ordinary newsworthiness. Washington correspondents—possibly through an understandable professional bias—tend to interpret everything in terms of politics. But this is sometimes a constricting approach. The observer whose interest is psychological rather than political is al...
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