Friday, April 5, 2013

“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”

In Carl Sandburg’s 1936 epic poem The People, Yes
Sandburg portrayed a little girl who, while watching her first military parade, observes,
"Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come."
Charlotte Keyes -
During the anti-war protests of the 1960s this pre-war oberservation became one of America’s best-known anti-war slogans.
In 1961 Scientific American editor James R. Newman wrote a letter to the Washington Post in which he misremembered Sandburg’s line as "Suppose they gave a war and no one came?"

In 1966 Charlotte E. Keyes wrote an article for McCall’s magazine about her war protester son Gene, using Newman’s misrecollection of Sandburg’s line as its title.

This title soon showed up on a bumper sticker that was held up by news anchor David Brinkley on his NBC newscast.
After that broadcast, the meme caught fire, with little awareness of its origins.

Hollywood rides the wave with The 1970 movie, Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? starring Brian Keith and Tony Curtis.

"What if someone gave a war & Nobody came?
Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again."
~ Allen Ginsberg 1972

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