A Generation on Trial

Cooke, Alistair
November 1954
New Republic;11/22/54, Vol. 131 Issue 21, p99
This article discusses some courtroom procedures. The author says that it is never easy on the conscience, and an assault on what people call their sense of reality, to come out of a trial into the daylight and the world of sunlight, business, gossip and friendship. People only wish they would come into the courtroom and see terror and comedy putting on a medieval ritual. It is one of the great, and perhaps inevitable, misfortunes of this trial that it asks twelve human beings, twelve of Chesterton's "ordinary men looking on," to interpret the friendships and beliefs of the mid-1930s in the political climate of 1949. A layman assumes that "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is a good and practicable oath. But as a moral command, it is clearly an impossibility.


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