“There is talk that many Vietnam films are antiwar, that the message is war is inhumane and look what happens when you train young American men to fight and kill, they turn their fighting and killing everywhere, they ignore their targets and desecrate the entire country, shooting fully automatic, forgetting they were trained to aim. But actually, Vietnam war films are all pro-war, no matter what the supposed message, what Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in Omaha or San Francisco or Manhattan will watch the films and weep and decide once and for all that war is inhumane and terrible, and they will tell their friends at church and their family this, but Corporal Johnson at Camp Pendleton and Sergeant Johnson at Travis Air Force Base and Seaman Johnson at Coronado Naval Station and Spec 4 Johnson at Fort Bragg and Lance Corporal Swofford at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base watch the same films and are excited by them, because the magic brutality of the films celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of their fighting skills. Fight, rape, war, pillage, burn. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man; with film you are stroking his c—-, tickling his b—– with the pink feather of history, getting him ready for his real First F—. It doesn’t matter how many Mr. and Mrs. Johnsons are antiwar — the actual killers who know how to use the weapons are not.
We watch our films and drink our beer and occasionally someone begins weeping and exits the room to stand on the catwalk and stare at the Bullion Mountains, the treacherous, craggy range that borders our barracks. Once, this person is me. It’s nearly midnight, the temperature still in the upper nineties, and the sky is wracked with stars. Moonlight spreads across the desert like a white fire. The door behind me remains open, and on the TV screen an ambush erupts on one of the famous murderous hills of xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Vietnam.”
Anthony Swofford (Fairfield, 12 augustus 1970)
Uit: The Story of First-Aid and Beauty Case (Vertaald door Chad Davidson Marella Morris)
“When the going gets tough
the tough get going.
Our neighborhood is directly behind the train station. One of these days, a train will steal us all away, or perhaps we’ll steal a train. Yes, because our neighborhood is called Slyhand: you come in with what you got, but you leave without it. Without what? Without car radio, without wallet, without dentures, without earrings, without tires. They’ll even steal your chewing gum if you’re not careful: there are kids who work in pairs, one gives you a kick in the balls, you spit out your gum, and the other one grabs it on the run. Just to give you an idea.
First-Aid and Beauty Case were both born here. First-Aid is a good kid, sixteen-years-old. His dad works as a tire beautician: that is, he steals new tires and sells them to replace the old ones. His mother has a dairy farm, the smallest dairy farm in the world. Pretty much just a fridge. First-Aid was conceived inside there, at thirty degrees below zero. When he was born, instead of placing him in a cradle, they put him in the oven to defrost.
Ever since he was little, First-Aid had a passion for motors. When his dad brought First-Aid to work with him, that is to go steal tires, he’d place First under the hood of the car. In this way, First spent a good deal of his childhood stretched out between the pistons, and mechanics really had no more mystery for him. At six-years-old he built by himself a tricycle powered by a blender. It did ten miles an hour on a half-gallon of milk shake. He had to dismantle it when his mom found out he was stealing her milk.
So he stole his first motorcycle, a Guzzi Imperial Black Mammuth 6700. To reach the pedals, he steered holding on underneath the gas tank, like a Koala Bear on the back of its mother: and the Guzzi itself seemed like the Flying Dutchman, because you couldn’t see anyone steering it.”
Stefano Benni (Bologna,12 augustus 1947)
Uit: No Smoking (No Fumadores, vertaald door John Garrett Underhill)
“Young Lady. For mercy’s sake, mamma ! What will this gentleman think? I hope you don’t mind mamma.
Lady. Keep quiet, for heaven’s sake ! Such women !
And they didn’t stop there. One of them, tired of gabbling, I suppose, takes out a book if you please, and settles herself down to read. And what a book ! There was a woman on the cover in her chemise, fanning herself.
Gentleman. Evidently hot. . . .
Lady. You needn’t tell me it was hot.
The Gentleman, with a detached air, reaches for a hook which has been lying on tfie seat beside him.
Gentleman. You cannot always be sure. Sometimes the publishers — so as to attract attention — And then it turns out that there is nothing in the book, after all.
Lady. You needn’t tell me. Why, didn’t she begin to laugh right out loud, and the other one wanted to know what she was laughing at ? And she started in to read to her, at the top of her voice. It was too much for me this time.
There we sat in that compartment, helpless, wondering what was coming next. I made up my mind I’d have to ask them to show some consideration for the girl. I’d better have held my tongue ! How they did go for us ! I didn’t ring the alarm and stop the train because I was too exoited. It isn’t safe to travel with people who begin to gabble and talk the minute they lay eyes on you, and tell you all their private affairs just as if you were one of the family. People ought to be careful what they say. The very least that happens is that they tell you some scandal or dishonesty or something of the sort about Mr, So-and-so — that he is this way or that he is that way, and the next thing you know he turns out to be your father. And a person who would talk like that about your father, what wouldn’t he say about your uncle or your cousins or any one else in the family .’* And there you are !
The Conductor enters.”.
Jacinto Benavente (12 augustus 1866 – 14 juli 1954)
Portret doorJoaquín Sorolla
De Canadese Franstalige schrijver Réjean Ducharme werd geboren op 12 augustus 1941 in Saint-Félix-de-Valois, Québec. Zie ook mijn blog van 12 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 12 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 12 augustus 2010
Uit: Les Enfantômes
« Le blan a toujours cygnifié pour moi la faîte, cymbalisé la disponibilité, l’envie soudaine de laisser tomber les vieux habits armés, cesser de dire non kankon a envie de oui. Le blan c’est le drapo de mon bato avec toi.» Et ma soeur avait signé ta tite Feuille. Et j ‘ai tout compris de travers, bien entendu. Et ça continue. Putain! »
“A quoi bon fuir ? Oui, à quoi bon ? Puisque nul ne peut se quitter lui-même. Toute la sagesse de vivre tient là-dedans : savoir qu’il faut en sortir mais qu’on ne peut pas partir… »
Réjean Ducharme (Saint-Félix-de-Valois, 12 augustus 1941)
The Battle Of Blenheim
IT was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar’s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh,
“‘Tis some poor fellow’s skull,” said he,
“Who fell in the great victory.
“I find them in the garden,
For there’s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men,” said he,
“Were slain in that great victory.”
“Now tell us what ‘twas all about,”
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
“Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.”
“It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
“Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for
I could not well make out;
But everybody said,” quoth he,
“That ‘twas a famous victory.
“My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.
“With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
“They said it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
“Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won,
And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ‘twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay … nay … my little girl,” quoth he,
“It was a famous victory.”
“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ‘twas a famous victory.”
Robert Southey (12 augustus 1774 – 21 maart 1843)