American Notes: Demythologizing

People tend to believe what they want —or need—to believe. A recent Chicago Daily News and Sun-Times survey found, for example, 17% of those interviewed in Charlotte, N.C., convinced that the Apollo 11 moon landing a year ago was only a Hollywood fake. On quite another level, many Americans will not countenance the thought that U.S. soldiers could possibly have massacred Vietnamese civilians at My Lai.

Other "myths" make the rounds regularly. Two of them, however, fell victim last week to authoritative debunking. For some Americans it has been an article of faith that the campus upheavals of recent...

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