We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Speaking of required reading: NJ.. I want to thank you for Stephen Hunter's "The Master Sniper". It was excellent. Here is a passage from it that has so much to it I had to quote it:
From "The Master Sniper" by Stephen Hunter
(Excerpt from concentration camp after liberation. Shmuel - prisoner)
Shmuel drew back as the man’s breathing deepened into regularity. He was aware that a dozen guant faces stared down at him, death masks, and he didn’t care for the sensation. And undertang of DDT, from a recent delousing, hung heavy and powdery in the close air, causing his nostrils to flare.
Shmuel stepped to the door and out. Cool air flooded him, smooth and sweet. Above, an abundance of stars rose in their tiers, like the eyes of the men in the bunks.
There: a metaphor, drawn from the camps. :Like the eyes of the men in the bunks.” Only a Jew would see stars blurry and infinite in bands from horizon to horizon and think of the white eyes of men at the point of death. Would he continue to draw on the camps for metaphors, was that how deep they’d been driven into him? Did the Germans own his imagination, a final, subtler purchase, one that would seal him off from human company, the metaphorical Mussulman, forever?
Yet as he in despair realized the answer was Yes, he realized also that the problem was as much literary as psychological. And from that there followed immediately the recognition that he was, for the first time in many long years, thinking of literature again. He thought he ought to write about the camps, and that sometime, perhaps in a year or so, when one would not confuse zeal with excellence, passion with brilliance, he might in fact, if only as a private exercise.
As he walked down the street, between the mute rows of barracks, he realized what an awesome task he’d so slightly just evoked; perhaps even an impossible one. It was enormous in a thousand ways: had any man the right to try and spin stories from a tragedy so huge? What of people of ill spirit who would read such accounts purely for the extreme sensations they caused, which of course was not the point at all? What was the artist’s responsibility to the gone, the lost, the unheard, the forgotten? And he saw also that in a certain way the imagination had been forever altered. The boundary of evil had been pushed back beyond the horizon on the one hand, but on the other, the capacity of the individual to withstand and triumph over the murderous intentions of the State had also been pushed back. A new form would have to be found, something that would encompass these new boundaries and at the same time convey the immensities of the act of Murder: a new esthetic for the post-atrocity world. Again, the problem of metaphor thrust itself upon him. In the camps, metaphor was everywhere: life was a metaphor, death was a metaphor. How could art be spun from a reality already so charged with elemental symbolism, the vision of hell the Germans had labored so mightily to construct on this earth: satanic sparks, the flames, the awful stench, the dogs straining on their leashes, fangs glistening? Perhaps it was beyond the reach of the artist.
You’d have to concentrate on something small: a parable; panoramas were incomprehensible. Concentrate on one man: how he lived, with as much dignity as the times permitted, and how he died, senseless perhaps, one more sliver of ash in a whirlwhind dank with clouds of ash, but convinced somehow that his life had had some meaning.
- - -
An immense pleasure spread through him. Look at me, he thought, I am thinking again.
Wow, Sissy -- what a jukebox of a post -- And listen, I'm with ya all the way on that "They should have never given women the vote" -- ha ha ho ho (breaks sweat and pulls at collar a la Rodney Dangerfield) --