The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from March 2016

Tough as leather

March 31st, 2016 · No Comments

“The 45th was a National Guard division, among eighteen that had been federalized early in the war. Some Regular Army officers sneered that ‘NG’ stood for ‘no good,’ and most of the Guard’s senior officers had been purged by the War Department for age or incompetence. But the Pentagon considered the 45th—known as the Thunderbirds—‘better […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

Same as it ever was

March 30th, 2016 · No Comments

“A single crude acronym that captured the soldier’s lowered expectations—SNAFU, for ‘situation normal, all fucked up’—had expanded into a vocabulary of GI cynicism: SUSFU (situation unchanged, still fucked up); SAFU (self-adjusting fuck-up); TARFU (things are really fucked up); FUMTU (fucked up more than usual); JANFU (joint Army-Navy fuck-up); JAAFU (joint Anglo-American fuck-up); FUAFUP (fucked up […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

A way we find now strange

March 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“The [Second World W]ar infiltrated every kitchen, every closet, every medicine cabinet. Sugar, tires, and gasoline had been rationed first, followed by nearly everything else, from shoes to coffee. ‘Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without’ became a consumer mantra. Plastic buttons replaced brass; zinc pennies supplanted copper. To save […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

Tell me a story

March 28th, 2016 · No Comments

“We need narrative not because it is a valid epistemological description of the world but because of its cognitive role. It’s how we make sense of things. An inability to render life experiences into a coherent narrative is characteristic of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Text that fails to deliver narrative coherence, for example in […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

Put me in, Coach

March 27th, 2016 · No Comments

“I want to fight the champ. If you lose, you’ve lost to the champ and it’s no disgrace. If you win, you’re the new champ.” – General George S. Patton, Jr., USA (quoted by Rick Atkinson in An Army at Dawn)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War · Verandah

Under the hood of history

March 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“Tongues had begun to wag about Eisenhower and his willowy driver, Kay Summersby. Nicknamed Skibereen after her Irish hometown, Summersby had worked in England as a model and movie extra before enlisting as a military driver in London; she had been assigned to Eisenhower the previous summer, joining him in Algiers in mid-January after surviving […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

A rough count

March 25th, 2016 · No Comments

“September 1, 1939, was the first day of a war that would last for 2,174 days, and it brought the first dead in a war that would claim an average of 27,600 lives every day, or 1,150 an hour, or 19 a minute, or one death every three seconds.” – Rick Atkinson, An Army at […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

Fallen

March 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“Twenty-seven acres of headstones fill the American military cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia. There are no obelisks, no tombs, no ostentatious monuments, just 2,841 bone-white marble markers, two feet high and arrayed in ranks as straight as gunshots. Only the chiseled names and dates of death suggest singularity. Four sets of brothers lie side by side. […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rick Atkinson · The Second World War

You do bet your life

March 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Boundaries on talent exist, but they manifest with reluctance. Dream big. Train hard. Find limits. And don’t bet your life on success.” – Paul Voosen, “Bringing Up Genius”

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Tags: Verandah

Convinced to die

March 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Words like ‘watershed’ or ‘turning point’ are easy to deploy but hard to justify—except in the case of World War I. Like few other episodes—the fall of Rome, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution—it really did leave a different world in its wake. The technology of mass destruction was perhaps the most […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Great War

A distinction with a difference

March 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“There is a subtle difference between relishing a fine phrase and relishing hearing oneself quote a fine phrase.” – George Scialabba, “Hitchens at Last”

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

Full up and out

March 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“That morning Private Bain had climbed to Roumana past the bodies of Seaforth Highlanders, ‘scattered like big broken dolls’, on the hillside. . . . As the living began to strip them of their few possessions he shouldered his rifle and began walking steadily back down the hill. No one accosted him. There seemed to […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Sucking all into the megalomaniac’s void

March 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“To the very end of the war, few Germans sensed the depths of their Führer’s alienation from them, his indifference to their suffering, his deranged determination to drag them with him to Wagnerian cataclysm.” – Max Hastings, Bomber Command

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Light up your science

March 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle. There is not a law under which any part of this universe is governed which does not come into play, and is not touched upon, in these phenomena.” – […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Hate to see you have to go

March 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“The experienced had little pity to spare for the newcomers in the mess. Statistically, seven or fourteen or twenty-one of us have to die tonight, so please God, let it be the nervous young face in the corner whom I do not know, rather than Harry, Bill or Jack laughing at the bar, who are […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Pitchforked

March 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“The crew of a stricken aircraft had a one-in-five chance of escaping alive. Fighting the G-forces of a diving or spiraling, uncontrollable descent, they had to ditch the hatches, reach their parachutes and somehow struggle clear before the bomber struck the ground. They tried desperately to avoid baling out in the immediate target area, for […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Reaping the whirlwind

March 15th, 2016 · No Comments

“The wartime bombing of cities remains a bitterly controversial issue in the twenty-first century. More than a few writers, not all of them German or Japanese, claim that it represents an Allied war crime. . . .  I believe that we should never for a moment waver in our conviction that the Allied cause in […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Because you know they will

March 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“Rely on the blunder factor. Sit back and wait for the Fascists to louse it up.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Neither cruel nor unusual

March 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“If punishment is at all proportionate to the offense, then power becomes watered. The only way you generate the proper attitude of awe and obedience is through immense and disproportionate power.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer · Politics & Law · The Second World War

It can trump us

March 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“When we come kicking into the world, we are God, the universe is the limit of our senses. And when we get older, when we discover that the universe is not us, it’s the deepest trauma of our existence.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead (emphasis in original)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer

Far-flung fallen angels

March 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“There damn sure ain’t anything special about a man if he can smell as bad as he does when he’s dead.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer · The Second World War

It’s a political animal

March 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“The root of all the liberals’ ineffectiveness comes right spang out of the desperate suspension in which they have to hold their minds.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Negative feedback loop

March 9th, 2016 · No Comments

“It was always the men who never got anywhere that did the bitching.” – Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Norman Mailer · The Second World War

We move backwards whenever we can

March 8th, 2016 · No Comments

“The flowering of equality, self-reliance, and civic virtue in the non-slave states from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century is one of the political wonders of the world, a signal achievement in humankind’s moral history. It was made possible by a great crime: it all took place on stolen, ethnically-cleansed land. Likewise that other pinnacle […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

How we freed the French

March 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“At Ste.-Marie-du-Mont, a village just beyond Pouppeville, French baker Pierre Caldron had been awakened before sunrise by the sound of gunfire. A German officer had been billeted at Caldron’s home, but had left two days earlier. Looking out his second-floor window, Caldron caught sight of an American paratrooper moving through the yard. The soldier pointed […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Sensibly so

March 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“There is nothing inherently objectionable about using common sense when deciphering a statute. To the contrary, our court has specifically cited with approval the proposition that courts do not set aside common experience and common sense when construing statutes.” – Justice Karmeier, Nelson v. Artley

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Tags: Politics & Law

Keep ’em diverted

March 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“The preponderance of the entertainment and desire market is a stage in the social-pacification enterprise, in which it has been given the function of obscuring, provisionally, the living contradictions that cross every point on the fabric of imperial biopolitics.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl (trans. Reines)

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Tiqqun

Assemblage

March 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“We become ourselves by wanting other people: not only wanting to have them, but wanting sometimes more urgently to become them, to feel as we imagine they feel, to think or create or whatever else we wish to do as naturally as we imagine they do. We take assignments in being by adopting as our […]

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Tags: Verandah

Do this first

March 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Always turn and face the attack.” – Group Captain Adolph Gysbert “Sailor” Malan, DSO, DFC, from “Ten of My Rules for Air Fighting”

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Tags: The Great War · The Second World War

Not a job for everyone

March 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“The toughest job in the military is that of infantry platoon leader. The fresh second lieutenant who finds himself in command of 40 other infantrymen is often a newcomer to combat, younger than many of his soldiers and poorly prepared for the rigors of battlefield leadership. In spite of these obstacles, the new lieutenant must […]

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Tags: Economics · The Second World War