March 18, 1997 Tuesday
Time for a detour entry, in an attempt to flesh out the author more. While this is about some of my favorite things I will not be breaking into song.
Favorite Subject: History
It really is true we’ll learn where we’re going from where we’ve been. History is extremely important and is very interesting as well. Particularly, I am interested in European history of the Middle Ages as well as American history. I focus on wars and the general culture of the period.
Favorite Historical Event: The Civil War
I may have gotten this from my grandpa Connors, but I love learning and re-learning the Civil War. The entire event builds slowly, and then crashes with an opening, before lots of blood shed and tragedy no one really wanted. It was on a grand scale, including its repercussions upon of the rest of our history.
Sometimes I like to compare the history of the United States to the life of a man. If the Revolutionary War was its birth, and the 1960s was sort of a midlife crisis, the Civil War was its volatile era was the country’s adolescence: at a time when the country was growing by leaps and bounds to unknown ends the nation was also asking itself, “Who exactly am I, and what do I stand for?” And it came out the other side, changed.
Favorite Books: Robinson Crusoe, The Count of Monte Cristo, Shoeless Joe, Flowers for Algernon, Animal Farm, Anthem, Gulliver’s Travels, The Pushcart War, the My Teacher is an Alien series, Matilda, and others.
Robinson Crusoe, to me, is the greatest story ever written. I especially like the beginning of the story, as Crusoe feverishly collects supplies he will need to survive from the sinking ship, before it is gone for good. The storing away of vital goods for future use and the possible loss of them appeals to me. I guess these pages are my sandy beaches, and these entires are goods stored away in a dry, protected cave.
The Count of Monte Cristo is excellent, and so filled of drama and longing. The words are simply magic, as if you were in a dream. The idea of being imprisoned for years, locked away and banished for a crime the protagonist did not commit would be unbearable. There is an undeniable air about this book, of high adventure, of unrequited pain, and the misdirected passion for revenge (and the final discovered emptiness of following such a path) that will motivate Edmond Dantes to one day return to his home, a changed man. The next three books have pushed me to think a great deal about myself, our culture, and out place in it. The first, Flowers for Algernon, analyzes the need everyone has of being liked, on matter what our intelligence or abilities may be. Animal Farm is a great, swift tale. The best part is seeing what will happen finally to the pigs, and being angry at them as they change the farm to suit themselves. Anthem might be my favorite book–if it wasn’t for the ending. I struggled with the ending, because I didn’t want to just reject it. I want to at least consider Ayn Rand’s position, but I knew it was hitting up against my ingrained sense of generosity. Because of this I don’t agree at all in a completely “every man for himself” society. I understand Rand’s coming to this position, having seen the early Soviet Union as a child, but I feel her experiences have pushed her too far in the opposite direction. Someone should have confidence and pride in their work, and be able to follow their aspirations. But I take serious issue with the idea a person can only advance and be civilized if he has an ego. And the bigger the ego the more free. At least that’s how the ending hit me, with the repetition of the word, “I.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Only a selfless culture, that works with his fellow man–not forced, but by personal choice–is a true Utopia. Other than that, the rest is very intriguing, raises great questions and issues of individuality and our responsibility to others, and should be read.
Favorite Authors: Ernest Hemingway, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe
Favorite Comic Book: Groo the Wanderer. Groo is the best out there, but relatively little known. The cartoonish art is so great, and detailed. The writing is hilarious and brisk, and the simple stories are also thought-provoking about a side of society, complete with an ending moral.
Favorite Comic Book Characters: Superman, Donald Duck, Groo
Favorite Movies: Field of Dreams, The Empire Strikes Back, Gettysburg, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Fugitive, Back to the Future, Groundhog Day
Favorite Songs: “Hotel California,” “Stand By Me,” “American Pie,” “Hook,” “I’m Still Standing,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “The Boxer,” “The Boy in the Bubble,” “The Sounds of Silence,” “Linus and Lucy,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Minnie the Moocher,” “Hero,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Hero of the Day,” “Land of Confusion,” “No Son of Mine,” “Jesus He Knows Me,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” “Born in the U.S.A.”
Favorite Singers/Groups: Elton John, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, Blues Traveler.
More to come,