C oncerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old).

In J. D. Salinger’s “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters,” Buddy Glass [the author's alter ego] comes across these words in Seymour’s diary [the "sage" of the family who committed suicide]; they concern what Seymour believes to be the dishonesty of the Gettysburg Address:

He [a psychoanalyst Seymour was seeing] also had the impression I’d said it was a dishonest speech. I told him I’d said that 51,112 men were casualties at Gettysburg, and that if someone had to speak at the anniversary of the event, he should simply have come forward and shaken his fist at the audience and then walked off—that is, if the speaker was an absolutely honest man.

(Probably “Raise High” is my favorite of Salinger’s longer stories.)

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

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