08 February 2011

Post 318: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Nemesis by Philip Roth.  ISBN: 9780547318356.

One of Bucky's initial points of self-loathing is that his eyesight is too poor for him to be able to fight in World War II.  So his friends ship off to Europe while he's stuck at home, a 4-F minding a playground.  I want to make it clear, this really gets him down.

Me, I don't get that.  I've always believed that going into the military was a death sentence.  That's a bit harsh, of course; it's more like playing Russian roulette, there's just a chance that you'll die.  Personally, I've never wanted to take that chance and I don't understand why people do.

I'm not a big patriot, and I'm certainly no nationalist.  I try to support our troops and all that, but deep down, I think they're all crazy.  As far I can tell, everyone in the military is in some way suicidal.  I cannot find any other way to explain why they would want to go to war, because I'm one of those people who doesn't believe that there is anything worth dying for.

See, when you die, you stop.  Anything that you were fighting for, you can't fight for anymore.  You're useless.  Your potential as anything but fertilizer is zero.  So that's one less person trying to hold off the invaders, one less person who could one day cure cancer or invent the warp drive, one less person to love and care about others.  What's the point in dying for something?  Isn't it better to keep fighting, to keep working toward whatever ideal you stand for?  You certainly can't trust others to do it once you're gone.  We may put a lot of emphasis on last requests, but it's not like there's any kind of binding contract for others to carry out your wishes.

I'm sure I'll get a lot of flak for this, but I don't care.  I guarantee that as much as I don't understand the military viewpoint, those who do won't understand mine.  Call me a coward if you want, that's fine.  I just think this is something that needs to be said, because no one ever seems willing to say it. 

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

LibsNote: This post was originally written October 11, 2010 to give the regular blogger a break. 
Dan borrowed an ARC of Nemesis from me. I received it from a publisher's booth at ALA 2010.


  1. I appreciate all that the soldiers do for us and I'm so happy that there are those out there who will willingly die for their country but I'm not one of them. Without those soldiers, you can bet that we wouldn't have a chance to work towards that ideal in the first place so for that I thank them every day.

  2. Sometimes, I just wish there was a better way, you know? One that wasn't so mutually destructive.

  3. I wish that would be possible too :(


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