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Monday, February 20, 2017

War: Then & Now

In the introduction to the 1948 edition of A Farewell To Arms, Hemingway wrote:

"It is the considered belief of the writer of this book that wars are fought by the finest people there are, or just say, people; although the closer you are to where they are fighting, the finer people you meet; but they are made, provoked and initiated by straight economic rivalries and by swine who stand to profit from them. I believe that all the people who stand to profit by war and who helped provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts by accredited representatives of the loyal citizens of their country who will fight it."

Sadly, yet another instance of the "utopia of language."

As to Hemingway's suicide, I wish the hordes of pettifogging critics and schoolteachers who condemn him for being "self-indulgent" would for once admit that to do something like that, with his Father's shotgun, or anyone else's, constitutes an act of ultimate courage, and that when you're old and sick, with no way out, and almost every bone in your body has been broken at least once, and you have survived two plane crashes, and longtime insomnia is leaving you chronically sleep-deprived, and what sleep you do get is regularly ruined by nightmares, and you are weary of fighting off the self-judgment that you are a functional alcoholic almost as bad off as Scott, and you've seen it all, or most of it, all the triumph and despair and prayer and boredom that constitute the absurdity of the living, why not? Cut the guy some slack, will you? It's not as if he was a teenager caught in the web of the U$ opioid epidemic, caused, incidentally, by the sorry state of public education in this country, a gift from the Repugnant Party, in combination with the blind and pitiful greed of Big Pharma. Who the hell cares when a used-up, worn-out, off-and-on-miserable old man dies? He didn't. He wanted out, and through an act of supreme boldness, got out.

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