Tag: Philip Roth

Been a Tough Month

m6iwg.jpgIt’s been several weeks now with daily healthcare on site to help me do the difficult things (dry my back after a shower) and watch me lest I tip over in my walker. Add to that Physical Therapy in home a couple of days a week and I barely have time to nap, let alone read books and play my ukulele.

But I’m getting stronger, hurting less, and continue to exhibit good numbers for my vitals. Who knows, I might get back to the semi-decrepit state I enjoyed before my fall. Unfortunately, home nursing and physical therapy do not make you any younger.

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The Great American Novel

RothColonel Chichikov relates how his experiences with American capitalism provided Stalin with this classic witticism:

From each according to his stupidity, to each according to his greed.

I have to admit that when I read this passage in Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel, I was confused: although the witticism is attributed to Stalin, it seemed to fit the current Republican Party much better than pre-war Communism in the USSR.

In fact, the more I read Roth’s novel, the more it illuminated the current political situation in the United States. How do you gain power, power to control the population? Lies, character assassinations, spreading fear, promoting myths, creating enemies, developing hatred and fear.

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Repeal Night Baseball

I was rummaging around in some old baseball archives from the Patriot League and was struck dumb by this moving piece written by Ulysses S, Fairsmith which at one time was proudly framed on the wall of his office at Ruppert Field.

baseball[T]he Almighty Creator, Whose presence, I do feel in every park around the league, on those golden days of sweet, cheerful spring, hot plenteous summer, and bountiful and benevolent autumn, when physically strong and morally sound young men do sport in seriousness beneath the sun, as did the two in Eden, before the Serpent and the Fall. Daytime baseball is nothing less than a reminder of Eden in the time of innocence and joy; and too, an intimation of that which is yet to come. For what is a ball park, but that place wherein Americans may gather to worship the beauty of God’s earth, the skill and strength of His children, and the holiness of His commandment to order and obedience. For such are the twin rocks upon which all sport is founded. And woe unto him, I say, who would assemble our players and our fans beneath the feeble, artificial light of godless science! For in the end as in the beginning, in the Paradise to come as in the Eden we have lost, it is not by the faint wattage of the electric light bulb that ye shall be judged, but rather in the unblinking eye of the Lord, wherein we are all as bareheaded fans in the open bleachers and tiny players prancing beneath the vault of His Heaven.

I am considering sending this to Ted Cruz or perhaps even Mike Huckabee: I’m sure both esteemed gentlemen would immediately add it to their demands as candidates for President of the United States. What better wedge issue is there than the evils of night baseball?

Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, solve the murder

TaylorI have a rule that contends

Uncle Joe and Aunt Mabel were not the models for the characters in the novel you are reading.

My experience with the habits of general readers, even avid general readers, is that they have a tendency to latch onto something familiar, like a character who reminds them of Sister Kate, and then to make the mistake of reading the narrative as if it was actually about Sister Kate, even if subconsciously. The reader’s discussion of the book then tends to slide into anecdotes about Sister Kate and the actual text is shoved aside.

The same thing holds true for the setting: that house might remind the reader of Sister Kate’s house on Martha’s Vineyard, but it’s not Sister Kate’s house.

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