Yesterday I drove up to Bard College for a conference at the Hannah Arendt Center because I thought the leaves would be pretty along the Thruway and because I thought I was in the mood for academics talking among themselves until I got there and remembered that academics are better at posing problems than solving them and that they tend to digress. So I only stayed for one panel on American exceptionalism.

But at the very end of that panel, in response to a question about comparing exceptionalism among nations, David Bromwich said, “I like to think we’re less vulgar than Putin or Modi. On the other hand, they’re not bombing 7 countries.” Wow, right in the intellectual kisser.