Once back, he continued his studies at the University of Houston, studying philosophy. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. We have the deadly testicle-destroying telegram. Oct 24, Adam Dalva rated it liked it. The collection was received with great enthusiasm by critics. There are real benefits, it turns out, to not dying young.
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Many are the stories I found wickedly astute, including these two: Dazzling collection of postmodern blisters and blasters, usually as short as three, four or five pages but some as long as twelve pages, stories written in dialogue or lists or letters or narrative, covering topics from highbrow culture to the lowbrow scuzzy, from the everyday to the sensational and historic, an innovative collection from one of the most perceptive wordsmiths ever to put pen to paper or fingers to typewriter.
A fiercely anti-U. Cartoon Atmosphere: The Cleveland meeting of engineers takes place at a motel, very appropriate since the whole phenomenon of motels, those small, cheap, tacky roadside hotels with a swimming pool out back, were also at their peak in the late s.
Hundreds of engineers attend the meeting and as soon as our narrator walks in, he beholds chaos: not only are the engineers making calculations and taking measurements, they are drinking beer, throwing breads and hurling glasses into the fireplace. On top of this, he also sees most of those hundreds of engineers have their arms, legs or other body parts in plaster casts due to various kinds of multiple fractures. This bit of absurdity is truly cartoonish, and to top it off, the narrator tells us the engineers are friendly.
Friendly, Friendly: Of course those beer drinking, bread throwing engineers are friendly - friendly on the surface, that is, since their jolly laughter and all those jovial smiles are effective ways to maintain a lighthearted, uncritical attitude toward the destructive, tragic power and death-dealing consequences of their calculations and measurements.
Love and Information: Yes, yes, yes. We will open our hearts and heads to you, Software Man, because we want to be understood and loved by the great lay public, and have our marvels appreciated by that public, for which we daily unsung produce tons of new marvels each more life-enhancing than the last.
The fog of words is so thick he gets Software Man to leave with a smile on his face. Talk about gullible! Here are a number of themes I see contained in its mere seven pages: America, land of genocide Why are Indians attacking an American city in the 20th century? Is this a mental defending of past history, a defending or justifying the genocide of the Native Americans in previous centuries?
In the late s, the time when this story was first published, photographs of Americans torturing Vietnamese first began appearing fairly regularly in magazines and newspapers. This mental jumping from the beautiful to the repugnant, from people to objects, treating everything, irrespective of content, with the same emotional neutrality sounds like a grotesque form of postmodern leveling.
Personally, this is one big reason have always refused to watch commercial television: the non-stop switching from one image to the next, from tragedy on the nightly news to selling candy bars to the latest insurance deal I find unsettling in the extreme. They are people! Stupid to the core, Bob blithely dehumanizes others by his racism and barely realizes he is doing so. John Gardner wrote how Barthelme lacked a moral sense. What the hell were you thinking, John?!
Ironically, the outrage over the widespread use of hard drugs began once drug usage and addiction entered the fabric of middle class suburbia. America, the land of booze and passion Bob actively participates in more extreme torture. Bob simply gets more and more drunk and falls more and more in love. Even when he hears children have been killed in masses, Bob barely reacts. Have some more booze, Bob, as that will solve all your problems.
BARTHELME SIXTY STORIES PDF
[PDF] Sixty Stories Book by Donald Barthelme Free Download (451 pages)