Saturday, August 25, 2012

Great American Truths from The Great American Novel

What is the one Great American Novel? Gatsby? Moby? Huck? Nope. The Great American Novel is particularly well named because the great American novel is The Great American Novel, a book by that Great American novelist, Philip Roth. Below, from the website Good Reads, are quotes from that book of books. A bit of orientation: The character Roland is Roland Agni, the greatest baseball player EVER -- only, since he plays for the worst team ever, the homeless Rupert Mundys (who play all their games "on the road"), his awesome abilities are unappreciated, even by his teammates.

Cover of the First Edition
“But they don’t deserve to be winning!” [cries Roland Agni.]

 “And who does in this world, Roland? Only the gifted and the beautiful and the brave? What about the rest of us, Champ? What about the wretched, for example? What about the weak and the lowly and the desperate and the fearful and the deprived to name but a few who come to mind? What about losers? What about the failures? What about the ordinary fucking outcasts of this world – who happen to comprise ninety percent of the human race! Don’t they have dreams, Agni? Don’t they have hopes? Just who told you clean-cut bastards own the world anyway? Who put you clean-cut bastards in charge, that’s what I’d like to know! Oh, let me tell you something. All-American Adonis: you fair-haired sons of bitches have had your day. It’s all over, Agni. We’re not playing according to your clean-cut rules anymore – we’re playing according to our own! The Revolution has begun! Henceforth the Mundys are the master race! Long live Glorious Mundy!”

“America?” said Gamesh, smiling. “Roland, what’s American to you? Or me, or those tens of thousands up in the stands? It’s just a word they use to keep your nose to the grindstone and your toes to the line. America is the opiate of the people.”

“Now obviously, in peacetime a one-legged catcher, like a one-armed outfielder (such as the Mundys had roaming right), would have been at the most a curiosity somewhere down in the dingiest town in the minors precisely where Hot had played during the many years that the nations of the world lived in harmony. But it is one of life’s grisly ironies that what is catastrophe for most of mankind, invariably works to the advantage of a few who live on the fringes of the human community. On the other hand, it is a grisly irony to live on the fringes of the human community."


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