Gut Rumbles

October 23, 2003

car wreck

This post is worth reading. You might like the picture, too.

I left this comment:

You need to read a book called Johnny Got His Gun, then ask yourself if you want to live that way. I don't.

That book tells the story of a World War I soldier who is blown to pieces in battle. He loses both arms, both legs, his vision, his hearing and his ability to speak. He is horribly burned, too. He spends the rest of his LONG life in a hospital, being cared for by people he cannot see, hear or communicate with as he goes quietly insane inside a mind that still functions.

That's no life. And I'll NEVER believe that you're doing anybody a favor by keeping them alive in that situation.


I told my bride of 5 weeks yesterday I didn't want heroic measures taken if ever I couldn't communicate due to illness or injury. I also told her I didn't think a feeding tube was heroic and that was one plug I couldn't pull on her, even if she wanted me to. Schiavo's husband was trying to murder her by starvation/dehydration with the aid of current law and cowardly judge. FL legislature passed a quick law that allowed Jeb to order tube back in. That's one case I'm glad the gummint stepped in.

I have a friend who had a brain aneurism a few years ago. He has good days and bad. The worst days are when he is trapped inside himself and can't communicate. How terrifying that must be.

Posted by: Larry on October 23, 2003 07:52 AM

FWIW, that story was the basis for the Metallica song, "One"...

Posted by: Guy Montag on October 23, 2003 08:20 AM

Thank you for mentioning my post this morning, especially the part where you said "worth reading".

Much appreciated and I'll be looking for that book you recommended.

Posted by: A.J. on October 23, 2003 09:14 AM

i've read that book. Goddamn, i just get queasy merely thinking about the book.

It was required reading for some high school class or another.

Posted by: pril on October 23, 2003 10:06 AM

Yep, I read that book too. Slightly heavy reading for the naive kid of 13 that I was at the time, but I was glad as hell that my Civics teacher made me read it. That book blew my mind, and it blew that Judy Blume crap that I'd been reading right out of the water. I've never forgotten that book, and likely never will.

Posted by: amyvegas on October 23, 2003 12:31 PM

Dalton Trumbo was a Communist Party member who wrote this book in 1939 to discourage - in line with Stalin's policy at the time - American participation in WWII. When the Ribbentrop-Molotov non-aggression pact* between Germany and the Soviet Union broke down, Trumbo aggressively urged the US to enter the war - to take some heat off his duplicitous Soviet masters.

Trumbo's attitude towards the crippled was typical of Soviet (and Nazi) doctrine - those unable to contribute to the state were deemed unworthy of life - euthanasia was state policy in both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Trumbo's work is typical of Soviet and Nazi propagandists - there are no really outrageous statements - just a series of plausible-sounding situations that come to an outrageous conclusion. Stories like this were typical of Soviet and Nazi propaganda - this is why entire nations were in the thrall of people like Stalin and Hitler. (Actually, many people from communist countries have not given up on the propaganda fed as fact to them, such is the hold that skilful propagandists like Trumbo have on their minds - they're only regretful that they lost).

* Among other things, this non-aggression pact divided up Polish territory between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Zhang Fei on October 23, 2003 08:44 PM

Slightly heavy reading for the naive kid of 13 that I was at the time, but I was glad as hell that my Civics teacher made me read it.

I can't believe teachers are making kids read Communist propaganda. Actually, given their approach to educating kids about Islam, I can believe it.

Posted by: Zhang Fei on October 23, 2003 08:52 PM

I read it as an adult and if it pushed communist propaganda, I missed it. Never forgot it tho.

Posted by: Indigo on October 23, 2003 10:14 PM

I read it as an adult and if it pushed communist propaganda, I missed it.

That's the beauty of Communist propaganda - it's nothing like the caricature of propaganda that shows up in the novel 1984. Real propaganda has just enough truth to be convincing, while coming to outrageous conclusions. Trumbo wrote that anti-war screed in 1939, and then turned around and wrote a bunch of pro-war articles once it suited Stalin's purpose.

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