Catch-22

camidon's picture

Anyone read this? Classic dark humor and hyperbole set in a war-time setting. Until recently, this kind of dark humor and satire could only be found in war-settings, as this was really the only plausible setting to unleash the truly gruesome of humanity. The books and movies of American Pscho and Fight Club are two examples of breaking out of this "war setting" constraint to examine Humanity's bestial underbelly.

It's a style of writing based on oppostites--set-up a central image of a character or idea or an event and then have the main character, Yossarian, believe the exact opposite of everything that was previously stated. It works beautifully.

Joseph Heller, the author, was never known for anything else, and some accused him of stealing the idea. Nonetheless, Catch-22 is worth the read.

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DaveK's picture

I read that long ago. I'll

I read that long ago. I'll always take exception to "until recently" comments since I think all stories were first told by cavemen around a fire. Would the Odyssey (OK, a bit af a war going on), or Dante's Inferno, or Poe's or Kafka's works fit this dark humor and satire requirement?

And don't get me started on the one about Oog and the mammoth. Finally some discussion on this forum.

DaveK

Great book

Loved the book. Loved the movie more.
Bob

camidon's picture

Dark stories

To appoint I agree with you. Certainly, Poe and Kafka show a dark side of humanity, but when was it ever gruesome? When did they show the actual physical violence with all its bloody detail? Sure, people died, but did you actually read about the gorey death details? Not that I can recall. Please, if you can find specific stories to back up your claims, let me know. I'm curious.

Genre of horror may be one avenue for debate, but maybe not, as imo, the best horror is not gruesome, but suspenseful and the imagination left up to the reader. I don't know if I consider a story for the sheer shock value of trying to scare someone in the same vein as a story like Catch-22 or Fight Club or American Psycho which is using that horror or "blood" to comment on society, not sell tickets or pages to teenagers.

You may have me with Dante. I've started reading it, but have not finished. However, I think for this point, I'm referring to literature written in the last hundred-two hundred years, not the ancient Greeks or Romans, etc. Literature written in our current societal "order". I'm also thinking in terms of the "cinematic" medium too. Viewing the gore.

I'll leave it there. Thoughts? Nice start to a discussion, Dave.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

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