CBR13Bingo – Sports Ball
Probably the sneakiest anti-Vietnam book I’ve ever read, and this includes Norman Mailer’s pretty sneaky anti-Vietnam book “Why are we in Vietnam?”
If you look up American literature during the Civil War, there’s not much there. Sure, Melville and Whitman wrote some war poetry, there’s still a lot of journalism, some essays and poetry, and while the Civil War becomes the focal point of American literature for about a century after, nothing stands out as too connected to the war years. Something similar, but not as clear happens with both WWI and WWII. But then what happens? Well, wars get shipped overseas in much clearer terms, the climes becomes much more foreign seeming, and eventually we get rid of the draft. Television opens up the visuals of the wars, but it also more or less turns the wars into television.
So what does it mean to be on a crappy college football team in the early 1970s? Well for Gary Harkness, it means a number of things. Playing for Logos College (not a symbol!), having transferred around a little football is war, and becomes even more war, once he starts getting more and more obsessed with nuclear war, asymmetrical combat, and technocracy driven warfare.
“There’s a kind of theology at work here. The bombs are a kind of god. As his power grows, our fear naturally increases. I get as apprehensive as anyone else, maybe more so. We have too many bombs. They have too many bombs. There’s a kind of theology of fear that comes out of this. We begin to capitulate to the overwhelming presence. It’s so powerful. It dwarfs us so much. We say let the god have his way. He’s so much more powerful than we are. Let it happen, whatever he ordains. It used to be that the gods punished men by using the forces of nature against them or by arousing them to take up their weapons and destroy each other. Now god is the force of nature itself, the fusion of tritium and deuterium. Now he’s the weapon. So maybe this time we went too far in creating a being of omnipotent power. All this hardware. Fantastic stockpiles of hardware. The big danger is that we’ll surrender to the sense of inevitability and start flinging mud all over the planet.”