Behind the Green Gates

Feline doppelganger observes and comments on war, literature, sex, mankind, biology, Afghanistan,
tree-hugging, music, art, God and gods, America, books, politics and the return of the Florida anole.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Last Train

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead is the troubling story of 230 women of the French Resistance who were eventually sent to Auschwitz and of whom only 49 returing -barely alive and to live out their lives in ill health and severe depression. Beginning as a lusty tale of the French Resistance, mainly perpetuated by the Communists who were already well organized and who were used to operating clandestinely, the men were eventually imprisoned, tortured and shot while the women were imprisoned by the French who took to German brutality with a vengeance, then transported east into the camps set up for the Jews. Those who survived did so by sheer will and by taking care of each other, hiding those who were too sick to work and figuring out quickly such survival techniques such as waiting for the last ration of soup, upon which the vegetables and meat sank to the bottom. Their misery is hardly ameliorated by watching the Jewish and Polish women perish by the thousands as they were often caught up in the same round ups. These women emerged not as heroes as the French often failed to recognize the women who "did little more" than spread newsletters about in spite of the great impact these newsletters had on the Resistance. They came home to a country which did not want to talk about a war which had ended a year earlier for them and thus the camaraderie they had built up and which kept them alive died with them.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Abu Ghraib: After the Scandal

Army medic Salvatore Esposito's tour of Abu Ghraib prison with the 344th Combat Support Hospital becomes less the journey of redemption that he had anticipated and more of a fall from grace. His initial goal to erase the travesty of the actions of Charles Graner and Lynndie England becomes harder and harder as his exposure to radical insurgents hardens his heart towards the Iraqis. Why, he wonders, did they not fight Sadaam the way they were fighting the U.S.? How was he supposed to experience the peace of Islam when its history was so violent and treacherous? Given his poverty-stricken and abusive childhood surrounded by hard-working immigrants he assumes he has an understanding of downtrodden cultures and that such empathy will see him through. But long days of giving out high quality aid to men who are charged with killing Americans, women and children and dealing with their insolence finally leads him to insult Islam and start a riot. In examining his conscience while awaiting his military punishment, he struggles with his Christian faith as he begs himself to see the Iraqis as men instead of monsters. In the end, he accepts his imperfections but realizes that his soul is perhaps no less conflicted than those who perpetuated the outrageous abuse that put every U.S. servicemember in a bad light forevermore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Wrong War

Also the title of a book: Why We Lost in Vietnam, Bing West hangs out with the Marines again and tells us why we're losing in Afghanistan. It's in the title, essentially putting the grit into our strategy. Let the Marines and Soldiers fight to the death and forget about protecting the population, which has become a welfare society and sincerely duplicitious on top of that. He also suggests a hard core advisory group which we should be training now to aggressively get the Afghan Army on board with fighting the Taliban. It's amazing how the Afghans don't seem to care or realize that they're about to be subsumed by the Taliban in the very near future. Are they stupid or just lazy?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Arctic Indifference

The Long Exile tells the cruel story of Canadian Inuit who were forcibly relocated to desolate and virtually unliveable locations in the Canadian Arctic in order to validate land claims for Canada during the Cold War. Although used to surviving in Eskimo fashion in the Quebec Arctic, these new locations would not have been intentionally selected by anyone with any sense to live in and yet these Inuit were forced to remain there by the Canadian government. They didn't even have proper dogs for that type of terrain and had to eventually find Greenland dogs to breed with. It was a horrible existance and they didn't achieve recognition much less justice until the 1990s when a special commission was formed and the Inuit territory of Nunavik was created. Those surviving relocatees were compensated financially and the press castigated the Canadian government, which never did apologize. What these Inuit went through to adapt in these terrible conditions is amazing and true testimony to their inner strength.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Great War

My Experiences in the World War Volumes 1 and 2For 7 boxes of books to sell at old Tampa Book Company, I instead ended up with a trade for the two-volume set of autographed, limited edition My Experiences in the World War by John J. Pershing. Hoo-ah! What a treasure. And for $300, one I surely would never have gone out and bought but for a semi-life's accumulation of books, well worth it. Thus far one of my favorite recurring themes is in the cooperation and support of the press. Believe it or not, they did not report the sailing of Pershing's staff to Europe. Unbelievable to imagine such national loyalty today. I'm reading it alongside John Keegan's Illustrated History of World War I so as to keep up with the politics of this silly, horrible war and while tragic, excellent reading to be sure.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Still Fighting

"We were no match for the German artillery. Those Germans were technologically advanced for being a small country. They had the best fighters in the world, the Fallschirmajager, German paratroopers and and the SS-Nazis, even the Germans were scared of them. They were fearless, raised as boys to live and die for Hitler. Germany was prepared and America was sound asleep. We didn't make plans for it, kid. ... I never expected to survive a day, much less the whole war." Fortunately, Bill, of Easy Company's Band Of Brothers did come home and tells his tale in this bestseller. What are the lessons to be learned about being a nation unprepared? How long did the German build up to WW II last? Almost a decade, we watched and snoozed. Our Commander and Chief today plays golf on Memorial Day. That's reassuring.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happiness UnPlugged

I read "The Happiness Project" quickly. Eager to get through to the happiness parts and what I found was a sprinkling of them and surprisingly, some I'd already discovered on my own and done. I highly recommend it if you are swimming in ideology and depression and low-illumination like me. First thing I did months ago, was clean out my closets. Sounds really, really dumb but once you open those boxes of Joy Mangano Huggable Hangars in lavendar, olive and camel and start putting your favorite clothes up in neat rows ... happiness abounds and when the closet is all dressed right dressed and those clothes practically salute ---- it's a cheap thrill, I admit but one nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Re-Conquering of Cordoba

How gullible are we to actually submit to the heel of Islam imprinted on our very sacred Ground Zero? The think tanks of Manhattan, filled with academics and wanna be's deserve it but the rest of America does not and Ground Zero belongs to all of us. It certainly belongs to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have given their lives, all too often in hostile fire from a mosque, to fight the jihad for us. Go ahead, sit comfortably back and enjoy your freedom as Obama and his fellow jihadists pull the rug out from under you inch by inch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Alpine Retreat

"Many a one has lost his faith in God because he first lost his faith in man; and again many a one has found his faith in God again because he met a good man who took the bitterness out of his heart." - Cardinal Faulhauber. And so it goes with the journey of Maria and her family of Trapp singers, leaving behind the Austrian Alps, now swarming with Nazis, to find brotherhood in America. While "The Sound of Music" is brilliant, entertaining and beautiful, it does faint justice to the true story of a family who lives frugally on dollars but rich in faith and love. The latter elements lead to bread alone for a time but prosperity in the end and the equivalent of gold bullion in friendships along the way. Her story is deeper than what Julie Andrews portrayed and the bulk of it actually takes place in America where the naturally haughty Europeans learn what it means to be poor and to be a pioneer because of it. Necessity being the mother of well, you know ... I would have asked for more of a glimpse into the hearts of the oldest boys who are drafted to fight in WWII for a country they are not yet citizens of but it is after all a tale about Maria and the relationship she has with God and the Catholic Church that founds and funds her life. A story worth re-reading when the going gets rough.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seeing red in the green zone

Green Zone Causing flashbacks from the CPA's blundering early in the Iraq War, "The Green Zone" is nonetheless a very probable glimpse into the truth. Based on insightful journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, it touches on truths which are indisputable: the fantasy world of the Green Zone where the wet-behind-the-ears spend their days making incredibly naive decisions; truths that are probable: while we had every legal reason to go to war w/Sadaam, for inexplicably bad reasons we chose WMDs without good intel or a plan to stop them from being moved quickly into Syria; and truths that stretch the imagination: the State Department being caught in such a bad conspiratorial lie that they're willing to use SF to kill an HVT from the deck of cards. Good acting as an Army Chief Warrant Officer (a useful rank you don't see utilized enough by Hollywood -- nobody can touch a Chief), realistic Army briefing and field visuals, probable dialogue and suspense to the end. Esmerelda says check it out. H-o-w-e-v-e-r, after speaking w/SR71 about this, I am obliged to point out that this review in no way constitutes support of the "Bush Lied; People Died" crayon crowd. The media simply pressured him into the easy road in communications rather than trying to explain to the dunderheads what was really going on in the world. How much better off would we be in Iran and Iraq were currently in cahoots, either overtly or covertly? And how much does anyone seem to care that Iran has declared war on us time and time again? People want sexy news reporting and sadly that's what they get sometimes. I told the President not to focus on that WMD stuff ... but would he listen?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jane's Error

Third cancer surgery over, now all I CAN do is lie about and read. My dream come true but alas I am restless. Well, I continue to struggle through Jane Eyre, wanting more of the Bronte's after reading their historical biography. Now Jane is displaying the error of her decision in her misery. She has left the love of her life behind, and hides penniless on the moor, her heart filled with pain and confusion. No amount of disregard for another human being --especially one of the opposite sex --would engender such feelings. Not a whit of freedom or relief does she feel. She's gone quite mad instead with passionate devotion and overwhelmingly: love. Too stubborn to admit, too goody-two-shoes of a devout shrew and she is whistling in the darkness. I feel absolutely no sympathy for her, only for the good man she has abandoned after forcing him to pour his heart out to her. I don't care for such behavior. As much empathy I have for unrequited love, who is the elite snob now, Jane? I write later ... how can Jane truely see St John Rivers a good man, a Godly man? Amazed that after all this she is still only 19 but she has shown some mature good sense so far. He is not a Christan but an obsessed clergyman who will shame the gentle Hindus into converting. He is the worst Christianity has to offer. He is the reason many of us question the Church, any Church. Zealotry in any fashion is more than passion, it is the sheer opposite of reason and thus a danger to the unlucky soul placed in the path of such a cleric. Run, Jane, see Jane run again ... Having said all that, I finally finished the book and found I could not then set it down. A very distracting and disturbing story; an apt description of Jane as well. It stuck with me. I almost feel more fully formed for having read this book. It seemed to channel Charlotte throughout and I felt very close to her. Strange.

Friday, June 18, 2010

From Hollywood emerges -- The Word of God?

How on earth did The Book of Eli get past the Hollywood censors? Must be some gun-totin' Bible thumpers tucked away there somewhere. And producer Denzel Washington must be one of them as he portrays Eli, emerging from religous wars leading to Holocaust with a book in hand necessary for the return of humanity. Great aesthetics, well-placed surprises and Gary Oldman as the perfect epitomy of evil make this not only entertaining but highly thoughtful for even the most cynical of jaded heathens.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Freedom Resolutism

Almost 200 men of different backgrounds and aspirations band together to crush almost 3000 of the Mexican Army's finest (okay, that would be funny now, but it wasn't in 1836). Why? What did they have in common? What's different today? They believed that the fight for Texas represented the second American Revolution, the key to fulfilling its Manifest Destiny and thus completeness as a nation, a nation free of the class oppressions of Europe and a nation rolling with fresh, green grass. Land -- what drove men mad and women even madder at them. What's different now? Our men are still brave and honorable but none at the Alamo would've later testified to his buddy using an unfair method of fighting, of punching a prisoner. What has gone wrong? These men would riot violently and drunkenly at the mere idea of Courageous Restraint. Sadly, Texas became a slave state, later voted to secede and Confederate forces occupied the Alamo during the Civil War.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Do You Live in Darkness?

Well, you don't, as Charlotte finally opens her Moor-mangled and stunted heart to real Life and goes gently into that dark night. You don't live with it, you wrestle with it, hide from it, fear & loathe it, and to escape its grip even for a moment is, Miss George Eliot, how you end a book. As Morgan notes, there is a contract implied between the reader and the author, an obligation of the latter. Eventually you have to give the reader some light, some air to breathe and I ponder this as I finish the book and watch my cat on the balcony at midnight as the Florida air allows the Bay breezes to infiltrate the mugginess. This is how you get through the day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Unsystematic Ruggedness

" ...all this ruggedness is unsystematic. ...It needs folding up and compressing-say into the size of a garden plot. Then you could get your inspiriting ruggedness all in one dose, without having to go to a lot of trouble and tire yourself out," so says the new curate of the Bronte's father, when he might well of been speaking of Emily, Charlotte and Anne themselves rather than of the moors. For they sprawl throughout the book, brilliantly longing for the worlds in books they've grown abnormally attached to. It can't end well, one thinks. But, though tired of the endless journey, one continues trudging across the desolate lands with them, waiting for a break, anything. When the brother, upon of course the weight of all their futures is borne, begins sipping laudanum, even the most crumpled of wind-blown trees seems to shrink somehow more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Guest Speaker Competition

In order to re-align this site's attempts at playing centerfield, which is not the same as "caving in" as it is a legitimate position, I am offering a free blog posting to anyone who can offer an opposing view, a supporting view or an entirely new view on anything in the fields thus far addressed or thus far promised but not addressed. Complete anonimity is promised, edited copy previewed by you and word count is dependent upon the content. Please send your proposed post to Closing date is seven days from today, D-Day as it is known in circles which care.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Get Veterans in Congress

Check out Veterans for Freedom's Political Action Committee which is running a "10 for 10" campaign. After identifying and checking out ten Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for Congress in November, they're providing a web page dedicated to their support, Here in Florida, I'm pulling for former Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West of District 22. He is best known for using the brilliant field tactic of firing a weapon really, really close to a jihadist's head in order to gain valuable intel from him. For this, he was essentially drummed out of the Army. And I doubt if he'll get the "Courageous Restraint" award to which I think he is entitled. His web site waxes on poetically and factually in support of Israel. In fact, he pulls up a crucial but little known Biblical verse about Ishmael, the supposed father of the Arab people and how Muslims (and some confused Christians) link us all together via Abraham. Genesis 16:12 quotes God in saying, "He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." After Ishmael was born, the Lord went on to make his covenant with Abraham and promised him to be the father of nations, with God on his side. The more veterans we have in Congress, the more the likelihood of the presence and use of common sense and reality-based decision making. While I've had my hard times w/people in the military, deep down I know of no better man than the one who has served in combat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Peaceniks Challenge Israeli Navy - Get Killed

The recent flotilla fiasco serves as an excellent marker for the Palestinian sympathizer's movement -- they've reached their "Black Power" moment and history has shown that the center will no longer hold. While pictures of civil rights demonstrators being fire-hosed and attacked by dogs drew sympathy, Martin Luther King's non-violent insurgency lost momentum when Stokely Carmichael shouted, "The Negro is going to take what he deserves from the white man!" He followed this with a proclamation of "Black Power," which was quickly taken up by the audience. When militancy ensued, the white sympathizers drew back. The entire message changed and, while civil rights legislation did emerge from King's movement, the Black Power separatists created an entire new dynamic which is today problematic. When you refuse to allow humanitarian aid to reach those you supposedly feel sorry for in order to get a headline, you're not on the wrong side of altruism all of a sudden - you've become a military tactician. In a valuable Military History Quarterly article, Spring 2010, GEN McChrystal is quoted observing the civil rights IO campaign for lessons learned:
The black insurgency holds lessons for 2010. To counter the insurgency in Afghanistan, for example, the U.S. 'must wrest the information initiative' from the enemy 'to win the important battle of perception.' (sorry this won't link) Professional protesters have actual doctrine, entire magazines devoted to how to practice pain-in-the-ass peaceful demonstrations, right on the edge. This time, as happens when you engage Israeli commandos, people got killed. They made their point but as the truth ekes out, even surprisingly on NPR, their movement is bound to suffer. The UN cannot possibly continue to support this and to condemn Israel for doing what they are legally allowed to do. Every country has the right to inspect transports bound for their territory and the Gaza Hamas Base Camp falls under that purview. When is the UN going to declare religious warfare illegal and destabilizing of civilization? Instead they celebrate "Nakba Day," a made-up term from the Arabic word for catastrophe to symbolize the Arab Palestinian diaspora. See 17 May 2010 Special Issue National Review for an excellent book review, "The Original Sin," on Efraim Karsh's Palestine Betrayed for the truth. Mona Charen and Cal Thomas also made some good points in today's columns, mostly babbling on about legal, historical points or facts, i.e. peaceniks links to AQ, facts like this one from Charen:
Fact: On board one of the ships, according to Al-Jazeera, the "humanitarian" Palestinians sang "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return" — a reference to the 628 massacre of Jews in Arabia at the hands of Muhammad.
and blah blah blah... Then again, my expectations of the UN makes me wonder if I should just smoke my green tea instead of drinking it ...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

God Shed His Grace on Thee

I began this day before Memorial Day attending church where my stepson goes, a little white Baptist church in rural Florida. Filled with kind and devout people, all singing "American the Beautiful" and nodding to a sermon on God's grace. We spent the rest of the warm day enjoying holiday sales and napping. Our day ended watching "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," an experience of the Holocaust seen through the eyes and slowly comprehending mind of an 8-year-old German boy, the son of a Nazi official running the nearby concentration camp. As the movie closes on the suddently quiet doors of a gas chamber, locked shut upon little Bruno and his Jewish friend, holding hands, naked and dying, I remembered visiting Dachau, watching the Germans turn their heads as they walked by, bier= drinking friends silent and grumpy at the subject. I recall Psalms 98:3 which began my sunny, spring morning and indeed I rejoice for there is hope. "He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God." I read back to Psalms 7:10, "The Lord loves those who hate evil..." I thank those who have died fighting evil and continue to give their lives in this battle. For it is Men who must win this war. The Universe won't expel evil for the labor is ours. We must fight for our God to triumph. In writing about the worldwide conflicts where thousands of innocent civilians were killed, Sebastian Junger wrote,"Only military action by Western forces — or the threat of military action — brought those conflicts to a stop.Were those military actions immoral? Were they more immoral than standing by and watching?" (the link won't work, sorry)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bazarov is no hero

He endears himself to me less and less with each page, particularly on page 151, where he says of his parents that they are, " ... so busy, they don't worry about their own insignificance." All this as he reclines about as a summer guest breaking from indifferently training as a doctor at his father's expense. A father with a distinguished Russian Army surgeon's record who tries to please his son by off-handed bragging about his modern I-Heart-Serf farming practices to no avail. And Bazarov is no baby Bolshevik although his fawning friend, Arkady, all the while thinking that perhaps caring about nothing means equally caring about everything, finally gets a clue as Bazarov reveals his true hostility toward all humanity, really in one simple line, in which he says he views integrity as a "feeling" which thoroughly blows Arkady away. It is left unsaid, but I assume integrity to be seen by a righteous person as a basic humanistic principle inherent to survival of communities. Arkady finally has it up to here when Bazarov calls the uncle referenced in earlier posts "an idiot" and Arkady accuses him of not knowing, "what a sense of justice is" and thereby being, "in no position to pass judgement on it." (155) I cannot forsee where this is leading in a positive direction (Hello, it's RussianLit) as our protaganist has no love for any type of man. I must assume that I am being introduced to nihilism only and not the birthing Bolshevism of Gorky. I should reconsider the name of this blogsite. It is obviously not a portal to anything but merely an amateur reader's ramblings! But bear with me and certainly help out when you can. I would like recommendations for pre-serf emancipation literature.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vel D'Hiv

This amazing book had just been recommended to me by an Amazon World Literature sale e-mail; I put it in my shopping cart but on the same day my mother-in-law loaned me a copy to read before passing it on to the other Esmerelda, my sister-in-law Down Under, Esmerelda-in-Residence (link @ bottom of page). Sarah's Key is an absolute page-turner. The narrator is searching for clues to a particular Jewish girl whose family was killed in the second French round-up up of the Jews in 1942, known as the Vel D'Hiv and commemorated by Pres Chirac in 1955. The little brother died alone hiding in a cupboard and she kept the key and the secret with her until she died. As most of it takes place in Paris, I'm already drawn in that I wish I owned an apartment in Paris or a cottage in Normandy. But the story itself is brought and slowly and painfully and beautifully to its end. It never made it out of my house to the poolside! My first Army duty station was Ludwigsgurg, Germany, in 1985. Being in a combat support hospital and thus more of a truck driver than the promised Operating Room Technician, I tended to find ways to hide and I can still see that same library section where I tried to understand what happened, how Jewish animosity was born, even delving into the Crucifixion. After developing a lifelong revulsion, anger and sympathy, I landed on an example I use in trying to evoke the same. Would you sacrifice your family for the Jewish family hiding in the attic? You don't know do you? Any more than you know what it would take to lash on a suicide belt to blow up a bus full of women and children. Pray you never have to learn.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Amazon Test

This is a test to see if the Amazon link works.(15% kickback if you buy from this link). So go buy the book already, feed the starving veteran before I show up on your street corner with a cardboard sign and a dog wearing a bandana. It's Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. The first Turgenev I've read and has its ups and downs. (Scroll down to first post for initial discussion.) It definately drags on, esp. when the protaganist, Bazarov, aka "the nihilist," is in the room. He's quite a bore actually with no redeeming qualities revealed as of yet and some of his scenes parallel the endless snooty salon dialogues by trust fund posers in 19th century English literature. Hopefully, we'll get back soon to the father's despair over the current generation. I feel that's where the heart of the story lies in spite of Bazarov's starring role as the Baby Bolshevik. "All men are similar," he says, "the slight variations are of no importance." (102). Such insights from a time period building toward the Communist Revolution make it history in disguise.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Peace Through Superior Firepower & Absolute Retaliation

Did Reagan really say no country ever got into a war because it was too strong? He did according to Edwin Meese, discussing the dusting off of the good old "peace through stength" philosophy rumored to be coming back into vogue. Certainly nations may have underestimated their own capabilities or overestimated the weakness of their enemies but Germany built up a military colossus right out in the front yard at a busy intersection, announced they were going to war, applied all aspects of warfighting (from negotiating and treaties to outright invasion), and damn near toppled most of the important parts of the world. They were strong and knew it. We ignored those glaring facts twice, writing the mess off as unavoidable cultural deficiencies caused by (as pointed out years later by P.J. O'Rourke) sitting outside drinking tiny cups of coffee instead of sitting inside drinking large glasses of whiskey. I can't imagine Reagan saying someting that naive. Maybe I missed some greater point(s)? Can anyone enlighten me? Only Stalin, stating in 1941, that war with Germany was inevitable, felt strong enough -- in spite of his ill-advised officer purges -- to face the threat head on. He may have underestimated his readiness but he nonetheless mucked things up for a good long while in the Allies favor and rightfully emerged the second strongest nation on the planet. Of course, it's only fair to note that it's 'rightful' if you overlook political negotiations such as the one which forced Patton to watch the Russians "take" the Elbe River as he fumed in a lawn chair, probably drawing bigger, sillier mustaches on pictures of Joe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Speaking of boys in baggy shorts ...

Well at least Blink 182 has a mirror in "I'm Not Sick but I'm Not Well,": "Been around the world and found that only stupid people were breeding; the cretins cloning and feeding, and I don't even own a t.v." I think Turgenev, if he didn't have to look at them (classic boy babies jumping around), might own the CD.

Generational Germinal

As I observe with disgust the modern metrosexual man or the bouncing boy bar babies in their baggy shorts and flip flops and wonder what kind of biological survival vacuum exists in the women who sleep with them, I find it somewhat comforting to confront the same types of concern for the species in random places in history, most recently in my readings set in 19th century Russia. A time of huge upheaval, what with the freeing of the serfs and all, the tea drinking steppe-sitters of the day contemplate with equal concern the direction of the society and in particular the unsatisfactory condition of the youth, the future, the seeds from the past. Turgenev in Fathers and Sons builds his case upon minor worries, soon escalating to a virulent outburst by the uncle, severely disturbed by the self-proclaimed "nihilist" brought home by his nephew. Pavel Petrovich, an aristocratic type of pre-modern times, rants: " ... In the old days young people had to study. If they did not want to be thought ignorant they had to work hard whether they liked it or not. But now they only need say, "Everything in the world is rubbish!" - and the trick's done. The young men are simply delighted. Whereas they were only sheep's heads before, now they have suddenly blossomed out as nihilists!" (Penguin, 1973, p. 70)