Old 03-12-2014, 07:07 AM   #1
JAMESBJOHNSON
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I Really Really Tried

To read ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque.

Its my 3rd attempt to get past page 10. I failed with the movie, too. Richard Thomas was too much for me. Thomas is the male Mimi Bobeck.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:24 AM   #2
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To read ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque.

Its my 3rd attempt to get past page 10. I failed with the movie, too. Richard Thomas was too much for me. Thomas is the male Mimi Bobeck.
I had to read it in school. I think it succeeded in its aim of presenting war as a horrible and futile endeavour, but there's only so much "horrible and futile" I can take, however well-written.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:17 AM   #3
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I think it succeeded in its aim of presenting war as a horrible and futile endeavour...
Which is exactly the problem with this kind of story - it only focuses on the bad stuff. The result is several hundred pages of wailing and misery.

War can bring out the worst in people, but it can also bring out the best. Depending on the cause, war is not universally bad. Remarque never understood that.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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I had to read it in school. I think it succeeded in its aim of presenting war as a horrible and futile endeavour, but there's only so much "horrible and futile" I can take, however well-written.
I experienced war. 98% of it is lame and boring and drudgery. The other 2% is excitement even sex pales in comparison to. War does two things: it helps you sort out your priorities, and it enables you to forever recognize bullshit in its every guise.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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I know it should focus on all the good stuff about the Germans and World Wars. Yea war, let's have more! Especially Germany!

Shame on him for not focusing on the good stuff. I am currently rereading this book, oddly enough, and I find it as rich and fascinating as I did the first time.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:40 AM   #6
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I know it should focus on all the good stuff about the Germans and World Wars. Yea war, let's have more! Especially Germany!

Shame on him for not focusing on the good stuff. I am currently rereading this book, oddly enough, and I find it as rich and fascinating as I did the first time.
Well, technically I guess it's not too surprising that a man who's no warrior doesn't have fun taking part in a war. A person who's not interested in chess will have a horrible time at a chess-tournament and a gay dude would not be able to properly enjoy a stay at the Playboy Mansion.

I don't know much about WW1, but as far as the justification for WW2 goes, both sides had good reasons for going to war and a lot of good came out of it...
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:19 PM   #7
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I know it should focus on all the good stuff about the Germans and World Wars. Yea war, let's have more! Especially Germany!

Shame on him for not focusing on the good stuff. I am currently rereading this book, oddly enough, and I find it as rich and fascinating as I did the first time.
I'm not saying it should have portrayed war as a positive. But it's possible to write about war as a wasteful tragedy without being unremittingly bleak, and it can actually be more persuasive that way. IMHO it's easier to connect to characters, and feel anger when their lives are wasted, if you've seen that they're capable of something other than gloom and mud.

For example, I think Anne Frank's diary was a much more powerful book because it captured the joy of life as well as the horror.

(Perhaps I'm being too harsh on "All Quiet"; it's been a long time since I read it, so I can't say for sure, but I remember it as pretty much wall-to-wall gloom.)
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:26 PM   #8
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Write the war how it was.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Well, technically I guess it's not too surprising that a man who's no warrior doesn't have fun taking part in a war. A person who's not interested in chess will have a horrible time at a chess-tournament and a gay dude would not be able to properly enjoy a stay at the Playboy Mansion.

I don't know much about WW1, but as far as the justification for WW2 goes, both sides had good reasons for going to war and a lot of good came out of it...
Oh, I've known a few gay guys who would absolutely love hanging out at the Playboy Mansion . . . for different reasons than straight men, though.

War is one of those things we, as a species, crave. Every generation, it seems, looks for a conflict. Men and women throughout history have defined themselves, their culture, their nation through war. We wouldn't be as technologically advanced as we are now without it. Sure, eventually we would develop the same level of medicine, communications, and travel we now have, but without near-constant warfare going on, somewhere, I think most of those advances would still be pretty far off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
I'm not saying it should have portrayed war as a positive. But it's possible to write about war as a wasteful tragedy without being unremittingly bleak, and it can actually be more persuasive that way. IMHO it's easier to connect to characters, and feel anger when their lives are wasted, if you've seen that they're capable of something other than gloom and mud.

For example, I think Anne Frank's diary was a much more powerful book because it captured the joy of life as well as the horror.

(Perhaps I'm being too harsh on "All Quiet"; it's been a long time since I read it, so I can't say for sure, but I remember it as pretty much wall-to-wall gloom.)
Neil Simon did a pretty good job with "Biloxi Blues," even though the characters in the play (and subsequent film) never got out of basic training. The play shows how a "little guy" like Arnold Epstein can rise to meet challenges against a backdrop of constant conflict.

I've rarely read an accurate book about war, either fiction or non-fiction, that didn't focus on the negative aspects over the positive. Hollywood has been doing a better job with emphasizing the heroism that comes with war (Saving Private Ryan, Enemy At The Gates, Pearl Harbor) but I think quite a few viewers tend to focus on the more destructive scenes depicted.
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