"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Europe to America: your books suck

Things looks grim for any American author hoping to win this year's Nobel Prize for Literature. According to the chair of the Academy in charge of selecting authors for this honor, "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature . . . that ignorance is restraining." Ouch. From a Swede, no less, whose nation has flooded the globe with astounding literary works from authors like _____________, _____________, and of course - who could forget - ____________. The chairman goes on to say, apparently without irony, that Europe is a 'safe haven' that "respects the independence of literature", where authors can be "left alone and write, without being beaten to death." Ah yes, Europe is truly the nexus of free speech, and no one is ever threatened for writing what they think; unless, of course, you draw objectionable cartoons or make movies critical of, say, Islam, in which case you might end up forced to flee the continent for your life and get stabbed to death in the streets if you stay. But don't worry, that's not a sign of ignorance or censorship, that's tolerance and understanding and respect you're looking at as rioting free-thinkers light your car on fire. And hell, we can all agree that breakout Swedish novelist ______________ deserves the prize anyway.


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