“Fascism is,” a learned don
   Once told Fred in a bar,
“A feminine phenomenon.”
   Fred wouldn’t go so far.

The phrase might sound, Fred would admit,
   Felicitous and fine;
The chap was perhaps too struck with it:
   Where should one draw the line?

“The ruthless certainty they’re right . . .
   Such parallels are plain.
And yet their tactics are not quite
   As easy to contain.”

“And when our lads, who’d laid it low
   In Berlin and in Rome,
Marched back they found it wasn’t so
   Simple a task at home . . .”

Watching him stagger off, Fred thought
   Only in academe
Does one find such a fancy sort
   Of way to blow off steam.



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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 Number 7, on page 30
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