Excerpt from On the Contrary
But of this Mr. Hersey is, both literally and temperamentally, incapable. He is The New Yorker's reporter-at-large, not Virgil or Dante - hell is not his sphere. Yet it is precisely in this sphere that is, in the moral world - that the atom bomb exploded. To treat it journalistically, in terms of measurable destruction, is, in a sense, to deny its existence, and this is what Mr. Hersey has accomplished for the New Yorker readers. Up to August 3 1 of this year, no one dared think of Hiroshima - it appeared to us all as a kind of hole in human history. Mr. Hersey has filled that hole with busy little Japanese Methodists; he has made it familiar and safe, and so, in the final sense, boring. As for the origin of the trouble, the question of intention and guilt which is what made Hiroshima more horrifying, to say the least, than the Chicago Fire - the bombers, the scientists, the government appear in this article to 'be as inadvertent as Mrs. O'leary's cow.
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