The December issue of the New Criterion has an excellent review of Diana West’s “The Death of the Grown-up.” Reviewer Stephan Beck gets it (and skewers William Grimes, who reviewed West for the New York Times, who didn’t):
“[West] envisions not a clash of civilizations but a lopsided struggle between ‘clash’ and ‘mush.’ ‘Clash’ is for adults. It is George W. Bush referring to a ‘crusade’ against terrorism, with adult disregard for whether his chosen term is strictly ‘appropriate’ to the climate of self-doubt and sensitivity we inhabit today. ‘Mush’ is the member of the press corps who scolded then-press secretary Ari Fleischer.
“I just love that question-Does he regret having used that word, Ari, and will he not use it again in the context of talking about this effort? Thousands are dead, America is reeling, and a White House correspondent is playing preschool teacher, coaching an erring toddler-the president of the United States-about a naughty word. …
“The most painful irony of all is that the ones who really understand what’s at stake, the ones partaking of the clash, tend to be much younger than the mushmouths. They dine on desert grit and MREs someplace far away. We can only hope that the thing sustaining them is still around when they come home.”