Abstractions

I think (just generally) we look at war as this abstract thing that happens when in reality I don’t think it is. People send other people into war.

In class today, we repeated the question, “Is this enough?” Was it enough to offer up the coffee? Was it enough for the narrator to lie to the blind man? What is enough?

Focusing in so much on this question really got me thinking about the juxtaposition presented in the text that we all seemed to be missing. Yes, the narrator may have been offering some form of salvation to the man, but at the same time, the very nature of her job is to bandage the wounded and send them back into war. Fix them and send them to die. We’re faced with this huge dichotomy. How can we choose to see something as a sign of warmth and salvation, and shield ourselves from the inherent coldness presented?

Is the nurse’s actions a sign of humanity? Or does it just function as a way to even the playing field?

Further (and to relate this question to some of the other texts we’ve read this semester), it seems as though war literature forces us, as consumers of their messages, to view war un-abstractly. We saw this  in All Quiet with the suggestion of getting only the people in power to fight as well as in some of the other books we’ve read.

I guess my question is, were the nurses actions meant to restore this faith in humanity or was it intended as sarcasm? Are we meant to view war abstractly as an entity that just happens? Or not? Are we supposed to see war as inevitable? Or as something we have a hand in continuing? How much of a hand do we actually have in continuing war?

Why I Can’t Talk

WARNING: This post contains some pretty controversial views that I hold about war. Please be aware this was/is/and will never be intended to offend anyone.


I have what some would call a controversial view of war. I prefer to think of it as progressive, but I can’t fault anyone for viewing it as a point of contention. In all honesty, they’re right.

I don’t believe in war. I don’t support it in the slightest. To me war is just a group of people in power forcing those who are not to kill and maim one another. Another bourgeoisie/proletariat debate that will never be solved.

For that reason, I have a huge problem discussing the Borden book in class. More so now than earlier simply because we’ve read further in the text, but a problem nonetheless. I get so heated about everything and I’m not sure I could accurately explain myself without devolving into a full blown set of sobs.

A major theme we’ve seen in most, if not all, of the texts we’ve read this semester is that of pointlessness/worthlessness. In the section of Borden we read for class today, a man tried to commit suicide and the narrator had to deal with the ethics of letting him die vs. letting him live. If he lived, he would most likely be shot and killed for basically trying to desert the war through death. If he died, he would escape the war.

We also read about the ethics of being a nurse in WWI where the job description implies bandaging the sheep and leading them to slaughter.

In real life, all the fighting and the death leading up to armistice was pointless. Both sides knew the war would end Nov. 11th, 1911, at 11 a.m. So why did they keep fighting? When the nurses bandage up the soldiers, they know they will be sent back into battle. So why keep bandaging? People talked about the war as the “peace to end all peace.” So why keep sending people into battle? In All Quiet we heard the men joking about just sending all the people in power to battle and sparing those who typically do their bidding. So why continue going?

How do we read all of the war books, listen to all these accounts, learn all this information, and continue sending ourselves into war? Continue sending our own selves to die? What’s the point of it all?

In class Dr. Scanlon said,

“The whole Earth is going to slide off of itself”

Isn’t that what Borden is saying? That by continuing the war we’re allowing humanity to self-destruct? Isn’t that what we’re doing today?

This really makes me wonder (and you all should too) who really is the bad guy? Who is the good guy?

War just seems so beyond hypocritical to me. It’s sickening.

Sorry this was more of a rant than anything else. I just felt like if I didn’t say anything, I’d explode. Obviously, if I were to say this out loud, I’d be extending the inevitable and explode then too. It’s a no-win situation…a lot like war.

 

 

The Scared, the Profane, and the Similarity

The bombardment scene in The Forbidden Zone enraged me. Like actually enraged. I wanted to post about it prior to class but felt I needed to collect my thoughts and rein in my disgust before ranting all over our blog. Thanks to Morgan’s confidence-inducing and accepting-of-my-crazy pep talk, I’m throwing caution to the wind (or rather, blowing it out the this ticking time bomb I call a brain).

Mary Borden disgusted me. The narrator watched the bombardment happen and did nothing. Of course, they detailed the scene (a sick thing to do if you ask me), but they didn’t warn anyone though they saw the planes. They didn’t help of the people though they saw them running. They didn’t do anything but watch. I refuse to believe that a stunned demeanor makes up for these actions.

Transitioning to an aerial view of the destruction disgusted me even further. Never in my life have I had such a visceral and actual real physical reaction to a text. I’m talking my hands got sweaty, my face got hot, and I threw the book across the room. Okay, okay, I didn’t actually–books are sacred things, mind you–but I wanted to. I really really wanted to. The telling of the story from above gave the narrator God-like power over the destruction. And if not merely over the destruction, it gave the narrator the power to avoid it. It equated the dichotomy of power and destruction with that of the sacred and the profane.

Giving the narrator that power almost seemed like a religious stab. As though anyone believing in a God or willing to exonerate their God from allowing such a thing to happen had transitioned themselves from the sacred to the profane. Borden almost flips the meaning on the two words.

Power = proof of sacredness and sacred = profane

In class we discussed how there might not be any real evidence of religious suggestions so far in the book. I disagree. I think Borden is making clear and direct accusations regarding religion.