WAR!

download.jpgPoking around the internet after watching a rousing Glenn Ford western movie on Criterion, I noticed a plea from a father for advice on a good gaming system to play with his eleven year old son. Gaming system? Does that suggest that some digitally produced artificial world of challenges and decorative gore is preferable to those modes of entertainment that do not need to be plugged in?

What happened to playing cards? Are they only to be used for Texas Hold’em nowadays? Even Solitaire is played on the computer screen making, I suspect, card shuffling a lost art. When I was quite young my grandfather taught me how to play Spades and Casino and we would play in the evening while he waited for the wrestling to start on KTLA. My Aunt kept several dice in a small drawer ready for a quick game of Bunko and my Father drew pips on two sugar cubes so we could play Cootie on the back of an envelope with an old stump of a pencil. Not to mention Tiddlywinks, Parcheesi, and Uncle Wiggley.

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Two Novels, No John Wayne

images.jpgIf you’re from my generation, you grew up with the American heroics epitomized by John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima. As a very young man my two favorite books were Battle Cry by Leon Uris and Valhalla by Jere Peacock. This idealist propaganda approach was effectively destroyed by exposure to the journalistic approach to the obscenity of the Vietnam War. Blame television. Add to this the Stanley Kubrick film—Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb—and generally I avoided war stories in text or film for the next fifty years.

Oh, there were certainly exceptions: I did read War and Peace … twice. War and Peace, however, was not a jingoistic American fairy tale.

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Virginia Woolf: How to Fight Fascism

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 1935, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary that after “a very fine skyblue day,” she was “plagued by the sudden wish to write an Anti fascist Pamphlet.” She talked it over with her husband Leonard, who “was extremely reasonable & adorable, & told me I should have to take into account of the economic question.” …

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