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Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

Elementary my  dear readership!

     When I was about 4, I decided that I was going to be a detective when I grew up. This was actually my longest career plan, as I can distinctly remember still looking for clues to what I thought was a grand mystery when I was in second grade. It may have even lasted to fourth grade, my detective ambitions. That was when this thing called reality entered the picture and taught me that there aren’t detectives like Sherlock Holmes (or his Disney equivalent, Basil of Baker’s Street, the Great Mouse Detective) anymore. I still think this is a shame. If I were to be brutally honest, I would be forced to admit that if there still were detectives like that, I would probably drop philosophy this instant in favor of sneaking about the murky London underworld, discovering the truth behind such strange cases as The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Speckled Band (The Ohio Center for Law Related Education actually has a Middle School Mock Trial case based on this one). But I should be getting back to Sherlock. I think the greatest appeal of Sherlock Holmes was his mind. While he had powers of observation that were unmatched, one must also attribute some of his detective skill to his intellect. The fact of the matter is, the man was brilliant. Bloody brilliant, in the spirit of all things England. Some of the things he attributed to simple observation required a knowledge that few people possessed. For that reason, I will always love Sherlock Holmes. 

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And, because I cannot resist having a Disney homage:

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Both Images courtesy of wikipedia.

 

P.S. (a note on how annoying spellcheck is): The word “Sherlock” is recognized, the word “Holmes” (common enough last name) is not.

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It’s the impossible situation.

      I love the humor in this book. Really, honestly, if you cannot find humor in Catch-22, I don’t know that I can respect you (Read: If you know me on a personal level, I tend to be very forgiving, and furthermore, if you never bring it up I probably won’t think to ask). Everything about the book is so contradictory, yet at the same time, it expresses truths about human nature that most people have trouble putting into words. Yossarian may seem to be crazy because he is convinced that everyone is trying to kill him, but isn’t that what war is? This ridiculous idea which seems so paranoid to a reader that isn’t thinking about it shows just how ridiculous war itself is. Heller is a satirical genius, and his work is brilliant. 

For your reading enjoyment, here are my favorite Catch-22 quotes:

“There then followed a hectic jurisdictional dispute between these overlords that was decided in General Dreedle’s favor by ex-PFC Wintergreen, mail clerk at Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters. Wintergreen determined the outcome by throwing all communications from General Peckem into the wastebasket. He found them too prolix. General Dreedle’s views, expressed in a less pretentious literary style, pleased ex-PFC Wintergreen and were sped along by him in zealous observance of regulations. General Dreedle was victorious by default.”

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three.”

“But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don’t make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share.” Chapter 22, pg. 241

“He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.”

“Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?”

“That crazy bastard may be the only sane one left.”

More to come.

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Yes, that is me with my copy of Catch-22.

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Don’t let anyone tell you he wasn’t real!

    This quarter I am taking a class in Arthurian Legend. This inspired me to appreciate King Arthur, despite the fact that the professor insists that he never actually existed. While I cannot prove King Arthur’s existence, I would like to draw attention to the fact that when one makes the argument something didn’t happen, because it cannot be proven that it happened, a logical fallacy has been committed. This is called appeal to ignorance. Basically, if something cannot be proven one way or other, you must acknowledge the possibility for either option to be the case. This means that the fact that King Arthur’s existence cannot be proven is not proof of his non-existence. Okay, I’m done being a logician for now. I don’t know that I actually believe there was a man who lived the life of the legendary Arthur and was actually King Arthur, but I do believe the legend is based on a person or  several people. I don’t quite know why I have this childlike belief in King Arthur, maybe it’s the desire that I want to know that there is more to the world than the average dreary. Honestly, the truth being told, I don’t know that I would like Arthur much give attitudes towards women at the time, but there is something about the legend that makes me want him to be real. Oh well. I’m over it really. 

     It is interesting to look at the evolution of King Arthur as a character from the Mabinogion to the Morte (look it up if you don’t know, I’m not in class and I don’t feel obligated to explain every thing I say). Though it should be noted that our modern ideas of Arthur actually come from Once and Future King. Also interesting is the idea held by various people that King Arthur will return. There is a whole society, know as the Order of the Bear that is devoted to this idea.

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