Cover image for With a happy eye but... : America and the world, 1997-2002
With a happy eye but... : America and the world, 1997-2002
Will, George F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 367 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E885 .W55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E885 .W55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In the introduction to this, the seventh collection of the newspaper and magazine columns, book reviews, speeches, and occasional writings of George Will, he notes the bemusement with which some may react to his choice of title. W. H. Auden wrote his poem The Horatians from which the following lines are taken: We can onlydo what it seems to us we were made for, look atthis world with a happy eyebut from a sober perspective. The poem was written in 1968. It was a year notable in the United States for assassination, riot, war, and political violence unseen for the preceeding 100 years. If humanity could be instructed to view that world with a happy eye, can America today do any less, faced with the clearest and most coherent expression of national unity since the Second World War? With a Happy Eye But . . . is both a clear description of the attitude that informs these collected pieces (and the attitude of their creator) and an admonition to Americans.

Author Notes

George F. Will writes a twice-weekly column that is syndicated in over 450 newspapers and a biweekly column in Newsweek. He has received several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, the Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement, the National Headliners Award, and a Silurian Award. Five collections of his Newsweek and newspaper columns have been published and he has written several other works including A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. He also appears each Sunday on the ABC News program This Week.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The esteemed columnist gathers, in this seventh collection, more of his challenging, eloquent, and certainly opinionated articles. Whether or not you agree with him, Will commands a considerable readership.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The fifth collection of conservative pundit Will's columns (The Morning After, etc.) shows his usual erudition (the title comes from Auden), but they seem more outdated this time around. The terrorist attacks figure prominently in an overwrought introduction ("The scream of the incoming aircraft was a howl of negation"), but most of the "current events" addressed the battle between gay activists and the Boy Scouts, pressure on members of the European Union to accept the euro, disabled golfer Casey Martin's fight to use a golf cart on the pro tour feel like curious relics of a pre-September 11 world, and his longstanding complaints about the wickedness of Oliver Stone and the decline of civilization on liberal college campuses come across as cranky grumblings. He gets in plenty of digs at Bill Clinton: "not the worst president the republic has had, but... the worst person ever to have been president"; he even finds occasional fault with George W. Bush (though the worst adjective he can think of to describe Bush's initial waffling over the Enron scandal is "Clintonian"). The final chapters are heartfelt memorials to Will's father and to columnist Meg Greenfield, but one wishes that Will had applied the level of sustained reflection they show to a fuller analysis of one or two subjects, such as the contested 2000 election or the war on terrorism, instead of the jumbled impressions offered here. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book is the seventh volume of Will's collected columns, essays, and addresses to be published since 1978. Given his fame as a syndicated newspaper and Newsweek columnist (he won the Pultizer Prize for commentary in 1976) and as a television personality (he has served as an analyst with ABC News since the early 1980s), readers come to this work with high expectations that are not disappointed. In this book, Will describes contemporary Americans as "naive optimists." Within the context of the Clinton years, the 2000 elections, and the shadow of 9/11, he opines on the inevitability of war, the necessity of the death penalty, the need for the military to remedy moral values, the fundamental flaws of a (liberal) intelligensia "too short on certitude," and his impatience with a society "too squeamish to call evil by its right name." An accomplished essayist, Will provides a model for writing that dismisses alternative viewpoints, and though his writings are valuable to readers across the political spectrum, they may leave liberals spluttering. Recommended for general collections in high school, public, and academic libraries.-Jean S. Caspers, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Overturep. 7
To the "Gallant Girls" (Just Kidding) of National Cathedral Schoolp. 9
Chicks with Sticksp. 13
Marines, Rough and Polishedp. 15
A Summons to Gratitudep. 17
In Praise of Fierce Patriotismp. 19
The Unabomber and American Squeamishnessp. 21
The Unabomber's Sanityp. 23
The Black-Lung Disease of the Intelligentsiap. 24
Minibars and Family Values in Vegasp. 27
The Anthropology of Latte Townsp. 28
Et Tu, Brooks Brothers?p. 30
Secrecy and the Mother of Stupidityp. 32
The Triumph of "Perceptions"p. 34
Rodney King Revisitedp. 36
Victimhood as an Equal Opportunity Conditionp. 39
The Census and Tiger Woodsp. 40
Making Uniforms into Billboardsp. 42
Oh, Swell. New York Wins Againp. 44
Nykesha Sales Misses the Pointp. 46
1951 Diminishedp. 48
Fifty-one Two-Bit Solutionsp. 50
Santa and His 214,200 Reindeerp. 52
NASA and the Meaning, if Any, of Lifep. 54
1997: Year of Living Dangerouslyp. 56
1998: Not in Good Tastep. 58
1999: Satisfactory, Sort Ofp. 60
2000: The Most Interesting Year of the Millennium, So Farp. 62
2001: Ring the Bells Backwardp. 64
The Worldp. 67
War Beyond the World of Westphaliap. 69
The Relevance of General Shermanp. 71
The Healthy Aspect of Warp. 73
Next, Weapons of Mass Disruption?p. 74
Scary Scenarios from a Decorous Cassandrap. 77
Arms Control by F-16p. 79
The End of Human Nature, Not Historyp. 81
New Consequences for Old Ideasp. 83
Disintegrationp. 85
Language and the Logic of Eventsp. 87
Kosovo and America's Identityp. 88
Russia's Long Crawl Up from Communismp. 90
Italy's Fifty-ninth Postwar Tryp. 92
Cheddar Man and the Abolition of Britainp. 94
The European Union's Lawlessnessp. 96
Denmark and Goliathp. 98
The Currency of Cultural Blandnessp. 100
The Rape of Nanking Rememberedp. 102
Arafat, Castro, and the Liberal Mindp. 104
The Hijacking of the Holocaustp. 106
Germany: Unending Self-Examinationp. 108
July 10, 1941, in Jedwabnep. 110
Israel at Fiftyp. 112
Justice and Injusticep. 115
"Do Not Iron Clothes on Body"p. 117
Microgovernment and the Law of Litigationp. 119
Hate Crimes: The Criminal Law as Moral Pork Barrelp. 121
Punishing States of Mindp. 123
"Bigotry" and the Boy Scoutsp. 124
Privacy and the Boy Scoutsp. 126
The Privacy of the Unencumbered Selfp. 128
Prison, Procreation, and FedExp. 130
Stem Cells and Human Flourishingp. 132
Peter Singer Comes to Princetonp. 134
The Right to a Dead Babyp. 138
Infanticide: Ho-Hump. 140
A Sacrament in the Church of "Choice"p. 142
Fetuses and Caroliniansp. 144
Protecting Viewers from Something "A Little Too Vivid"p. 146
Solemnity at Texas High School Football Gamesp. 148
Coping with the--Well, Some of the--Ten Commandmentsp. 150
Censoring Zacharyp. 152
Good News for Zacharyp. 154
School Choice and the "Hecklers' Veto"p. 156
The Supreme Court and the "Essence" of Golfp. 158
Reasonable Doubtsp. 161
Worrying Rationallyp. 163
Increasing Speed--and Safety: A Cautionary Talep. 164
What Did We Know, and When Did We Know It, About Smoking?p. 166
Supersized Americansp. 168
Boys Will Be Boys. So Drug Themp. 170
The Mask of Masculinityp. 172
Rethinking Puberty, and High Schoolp. 174
The Death of School Disciplinep. 176
Disorder on Campusp. 178
Education and the 9/91 Factorp. 180
Multiplying Knowledge at Monterey Bayp. 182
"Barkis Is Willin'": An Address at Princeton's Sesquicentennialp. 184
Virtues Versus Values: Commencement Address at Lafayette Collegep. 194
Rule by Microrules: Commencement Address at Washington University in Saint Louisp. 197
"Recognition" in San Franciscop. 202
Sustainable San Franciscop. 204
Making America Safe--and Profitable--for Eminemp. 206
Walker Percy, Richard Petty, Whateverp. 208
Karen Finley's Major Tragedyp. 210
Contingencies Large and Smallp. 213
History and Contingencyp. 215
... The Iceberg Toop. 216
Neurologically Wired to Wall Streetp. 218
What Began with Jim Clark's Boatp. 220
Capitalism Is a Government Projectp. 222
America's Long-Term Levelingp. 224
The "Strip Mall Socialism" of Governmentp. 226
Hillary Clinton's Insouciant Insincerityp. 228
Friendshipp. 229
The Silence of the Law and "the Silent Artillery of Time"p. 231
Closing the Lewinsky Parenthesisp. 233
Sorry About Thatp. 235
Clinton's Legacy: An Adjectivep. 237
A College Educationp. 239
435 May Be 565 Too Fewp. 241
What the Remorseless Improvers Have Wroughtp. 242
A Free-Love Nominating Systemp. 244
FDR Pays His Taxesp. 246
A Democrat Learns to Love Trickle-Down Economicsp. 248
Conservatism: Freedom Plusp. 250
Relearning the Lessons of "the Most Important Law"p. 252
A GI Bill for Mothersp. 254
In Need of Another Mosesp. 256
Congress's "Nuremberg Defense"p. 258
The Appendix of the Body Politicp. 260
The Politics of Pathosp. 262
Listening to Politics with a Third Earp. 264
"Let Us ..." No, Let's Notp. 266
Missing Coolidgep. 269
Al Sharpton's Parricidep. 271
Regulating Campaigning: The Many Misadventures of Reformp. 273
The "Latin Americanization" of Campaign Finance Lawp. 275
One-Third of the Senate Versus the First Amendmentp. 277
The McCarthyism of the "Progressives"p. 279
A 100 Percent Tax on Political Speech?p. 281
Congress and the "Misuse" of Political Speechp. 283
A (Speech) Policeman's Lot Is Not Easyp. 285
The Speech Police Find "Offending Passages"p. 287
Minnesota Takes Exception to the First Amendmentp. 289
The Scandal the Media Are Missingp. 291
Surprise!p. 292
Virtue at Last! (In Ten Months)p. 294
The Next Mess Reformers Will Make of the Last Mess They Have Madep. 297
Peoplep. 299
The Forfeiture of Princess Noorp. 301
Princess Diana and the Law of Inverse Ratio Rhetoricp. 302
Princess Diana, Conjurerp. 305
Magic in Broad Daylightp. 306
Hitler and Epistemological Optimismp. 308
The "Ah!" of Avery Dullesp. 310
Francis Cardinal George, Unenthralledp. 312
C. S. Lewis's Cult of the Ordinaryp. 314
P.D. James, in Earnestp. 315
Rough Rider in Green Bayp. 317
Joe DiMaggio's Seamless Lifep. 319
Gentlemen in Spikesp. 321
Don Zimmer: The Face of Baseballp. 323
John Adams, Popular at Lastp. 328
James Madison, the Subtlest Founderp. 330
Barry Goldwater, Cheerful Malcontentp. 332
Robert Kennedy, Conservative?p. 334
The Nutritiousness of Pat Moynihanp. 337
Patrick O'Brian's Sense and Sensibilityp. 339
Holden Caulfield Turns Fiftyp. 341
Sara Jane Olson and Terrorism Chicp. 343
Daniel Johnson, Without Regretsp. 345
Meg Greenfield's Potent Measurednessp. 347
The Columnist at Sixtyp. 351
Frederick L. Will's Angle of Reposep. 352
Indexp. 355