Was it possible
that this absence of war--marvelous though it was and so
forth: that went without saying--was it possible that it had actually trivialized people? Because everything was so bloody
trivial now, wasn't it? This was the Trivial Age. Politics was trivial.
What people worried about was trivial--mortgages and pensions and the
danger of passive smoking. Jesus!--he shot a look at O'Brian--is this
what we've been reduced to, worrying about passive smoking, when our
parents and our grandparents had to worry about being shot or bombed? And then he began
to feel guilty, because what was he implying here? That he wanted a
war? Or a cold war, come to that? But it was true, he thought: He did
miss the Cold War. He was glad it was over, of course, in a way--glad
the right side had won and all that--but at least while it was on,
people like him had known where they stood, could point to something
and say: Well, we may not know what we do believe in, but we don't
believe in that.