Remember when you took Modern European History in school and the textbook barely made it up to WWI? I remember thinking it was pretty stupid since, at that time, WWII was still in all the papers or was recent enough to still shape modern history.
The same thing happened when I studied Modern Literature at the university (although I think we got a lot closer to WWII in Lit) but still, the whole world was reading Grace Metalious and we were studying J. Alfred Prufrock. I remember being told that it was too dangerous to study an author that was still alive: they might write another book and blow your whole thesis.
Interesting, it is also too dangerous for an author to use something from popular contemporary culture as a subject for fiction lest the story might turn into an embarrassing farce laughed at by many readers.
Continue reading “Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well.”
It was fine too in Northern France and Flanders. But those who lay on their backs, dying or wounded, did not stare up at the blue sky with a sense of lucid affirmation as Tolstoy describes Prince Andrey doing on the battlefield of Austerlitz. The finer the day, the greater the confusion death caused on the Western front. Death had been robbed of all significance there; consequently it was easier to accept it as one more condition, like the mud or the cold, in a world fundamentally inhospitable to man, than in a climate and season so full of promise. It’s a fucking fine day to croak.
Quotations from G. by John Berger.
While reading an excellent piece of fiction about America around the first world war, I was reminded of two things. The first is a realization that things never change: “… the war won’t ever be over … too damn profitable …” and the second is a sign that this country actually has changed: “Help the Food Administration By Reporting War Profiteers.” Nowadays we reward what back then was considered war profiteering. But in the end, isn’t it greed that fuels the American dream?
Continue reading “Freedom Is Not a GMO”