Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yossarian Naked in a Tree


Not gonna give the background for this post because it's a dull background.

Do your own googling. Draw your own conclusions. Do the research, figure out the allusions, read the book, gripe, whatever.

There's a scene from Joseph Heller's book, Catch-22 (and btw, Heller originally intended to write about Catch-17, but was afraid people would associate it with 'Stalag 17,' and then toyed with the idea of writing about Catch-5, but anticipated the publication, half a decade later, of Slaughterhouse-5. He also thought of writing about Catch-39 but, as a Hitchcock fan, couldn't bring himself to do so; Heller eventually settled on the number 22 because, when he was 22, he had a very good year. True story!)...

(Not really.)

Where was I? Ah. Yossarian naked in a tree. Seriously. There's a passage in Catch-22 (not Catch-5 or -17 or 39) where the protagonist, Yossarian, takes off all his clothes, climbs a tree, and considers his nakedness proper funeral attire. The people at the funeral are surprised. Wouldn't you be surprised?

You're there, at the funeral for this poor guy who got his insides outted during combat, and you're trying to be solemn and respectful, and you're doing all the things required of one attending a funeral. And there's a naked guy in a tree. And he's heckling the funeral.

That's how I feel about Bradley Manning. I'm standing in the funeral procession of some guy who died for stupid reasons, and there's a naked guy in a tree, and the naked guy knows more about why I'm attending the funeral than I do.

Here's the thing: Bradley Manning is not an American Hero. He's also not an American Traitor. He's Yossarian--he's a naked guy in a tree.

Here's another thing: War sucks. It's a mad thing which encourages mad things.

I've had a few arguments about Bradley Manning, and his treason, and his incarceration, and his trial that never happens, and all I can say is: Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka: Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.

War sucks. But we let it happen. Could be worse. We could tell the truth about how strong war sucks. And how terrified we are of gay soldiers.

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