Friday, October 09, 2015

I wish I had said that . . .

One of the benefits of wandering/visiting about the country is the literature. Everyone reads different books and subscribes to a wide variety of magazine and periodicals. I currently have several years of The Atlantic and The New Yorker to leaf through, which leads to today's little gem.

From The Atlantic issue October 2014 an article on the Creation Museum in Kentucky. The author interviews various members of the staff and at one point poses this question. Hint: It's the response that's worth the read.

Did he ever wake up in the morning and have doubts about the truth of the Bible?, I wondered.

"No," he said. "Show me another book in the world that claims to be the word of one who knows everything, who has always been there, that tell us the origin of time, matter, space, the origin of the Earth, the origin of water, the origin of the sun, moon, and stars, the origin of dry land, the origin of plants, the origin of animals, the origin of marriage, of death and sin," he said.

"Lord of the Rings?", I answered, tepidly.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Like many of my generation I have some very strong feelings about the American war in Vietnam. Now forty years since the withdrawal of U.S. forces, not everyone has mellowed at the same pace. Some not at all.

I have for some years taken a literary path, reading dozens of books about the war. For those who have not heard this recommendation before - A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan is the quintessential book on the subject. I should probably do a separate post of the top ten Vietnam War books, maybe later.

What nearly everyone from that era will tell you is that Vietnam was frustrating, maddening and horrifying. That sense of frustration was captured again for me last night as I read yet another book on the war. A new novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer. What got me up to grab a pencil and paper was this line:

". . . swimmers doing the backstroke towards a waterfall."

The line was in context of a several chapter description of the chaos surrounding the final days of American withdrawal from Saigon viewed from the perspective of those Vietnamese who had supported (collaborated) with the U.S.

The sense of frustration and powerlessness from decades ago, came back in a most uncomfortable reality. And I had to wonder, why don't we feel the same about Iraq and Afghanistan?