the lost man chronicles
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the conversationalists, part two

Capt. "Doc" Daneeka, M.D.: There's a catch.
Capt. Yossarian: A catch?
Capt. "Doc" Daneeka, M.D.: Sure, catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat isn't really crazy, so I can't ground them.
Capt. Yossarian: Okay, let me see if I got this straight. In order to be grounded I've got to be crazy, and I must be crazy to keep flying missions. But, if I ask to be grounded that means I'm not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.
~ Catch-22, Joseph Heller

war is war is war.

it is largely a politically wrought exercise of economy that exerts a value system based on the law of limited resources, and one which indifferently deploys and dispenses human lives, primarily for the benefit of the social elite, the financially powerful, and for the general benefit of the leviathan commercial enterprise which makes the industrialized world go 'round.

thus, when helicopters crash or airbuses are shot down—its all the same to me—for the loss of human life is all part of the same tragedy.

the same goes with "news" stories about murder and embezzlement and nepotism and extravagant executive expenditures. they're all about human greed incurring upon the lives of others. and thus, if you agree that all this is true, i ask you "why should we waste our time satisfying a curiosity that is based on a base interest in distant others?"

anyway, back to the (news)papers and the people close at hand.

there was one section that caught my interest and which i segregated from the pile to read—the book review. but to my dismay, even this turned out to be as frivolous as everything else.

the cover purported a review of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's eloquent biography, but contents presented otherwise, for it focused on the history of Colombia for the first of two pages, which i suppose one might argue is appropriate considering the author's novels are essentially fantastic histories. however, ultimately the write up reported very little of substance about the work under scrutiny.

as i was reading the review, the conversationalists began to jovially discuss how they had read a lot more reviews than the books themselves. i piped in half-wittily, with my best as-advertised-on-TV infomercial voice, "hey, why read a book, when you can just read the review!"

we all laughed, one of us more than the others.

Yossarian says, "You're talking about winning the war, and I am talking about winning the war and keeping alive."
"Exactly," Clevinger snapped smugly. "And which do you think is more important?" "To whom?" Yossarian shot back. "It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."
~ Catch-22, Joseph Heller

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