Thursday, June 5, 2008

Open Thread: Due Preparations for the Plague


18 comments:

callie grace said...

I just wanna throw it out there, what is Hospital trying to get at with humanism and the arts? With how we deal with reality and armor ourselves for life's certain atrocities?

page 365...

"In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves, in other words, they were humanists, they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure, therefore we tell ourseves that pestilence is a mere bogey of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven't taken their precautions" (a. camus, THE PLAGUE)

What is Hospital getting at? Is what plagues society deconstructed by government, media, art, etc in an effort only to numb reality? How can we keep from being ignorant of truth? And what precautions do humanists fail to take that are necessary to avoid the 'bad dream' that won't pass away?

sorry if you want the open thing to go in a different dirrection... just pondering what this quote is getting at.

John Collins said...

I'm glad that someone brought up this quote because I did not entirely understand it when I first read it in the book. I think Hospital chose to use this quote to show how people were being naive to think that the plague was "just a bad dream that will pass away" or that it could not affect them is similar to the way, prior to 9/11, people in this country viewed terrorist acts. People thought of terrorism as just "a bad dream" or something that could not possibly happen to us, and as a result we were entirely unprepared whenever it actually did happen to us.

Callie, I think your question about keep from being ignorant of truth is similar to the one posed by Mr. Cockley about the literature adding a critical insight into terrorism. I think when we are able to keep an open mind and not just think of terrorism as a "bad dream" but something that is real and dangerous, then we are more prepared to discover and come to terms with the truth. I think literature helps us break out of the "bad dream" mentality by showing terrorism in our contemporay world.

Sorry to diverge from your topic, but is anyone else wondering what the hell ended up happening to Tristan and Genie????

Mario said...

OMG!!! its like there is going to be a sequel or something i was so mad about not knowing what happened to Tristin and Genie. did anyone else read the book and think it was a movie? I know i did.

In response to you callie we got to remember that Camus was an existensilist and i think that his views show through here. For those who dont know what existensilism is "a philosophical attitude associated esp. with Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, and Sartre, and opposed to rationalism and empiricism, that stresses the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices." I think she puts this in the book to show the different views of people. I think this is more directed to people that believe that they are taken care of by some other force. Whether that force is the govt., God or something. I dont think it was meant towards humanists but just a quote that shows her message.

In the book we see two different types of people. 1. is like sam and they distrust the govt. and take precautions and the second is like the hostage in the bunker that says the marines were on their way and they should just wait to be rescued.

sorry if my posts are hard to read i approach this in the same way i used to post on LJ back in middle school and HS

Mario said...

oh btw i also found it interesting that the story Tristin starts to tell genie is the story of tristin and isolde. When i first saw his name and realized that there was a girl that he loved but lost her and then found her again i thought of this story. Tristin and Isolde is a tale from Arthurian Legend and at the end they do both die, kinda like a old school Romeo and Juliet, which makes sense cause Shakespere loved Arthurian tales like most in England. I dont remember all the details of the story but Callie if you can or want to know ask poobah about it. He was my arthurian literature prof.

callie grace said...

sweet i shall have to ask "Poobah" about it... thanks so much!

And as far as Tristan and Genie and how Hospital left it... we have been talking at length about how imagination takes us to another place and shapes perceptions... could Hospital leave Tristan and Genie as she did in order to sort of let her readers imaginations run free? So we are left to open our own minds and create whatever we think ended up happening?

I don't know.... i feel like all i have are questions and theories, but then again is that all anything ever is? Hmmm could that be one of her points? haha i think this book needs a second read to fully understand.

thanks for y'alls input!

MacCollum said...

I think Hospital is talking about how a certain perspective/view of human nature is necessary in order to deal with terrorism, especially to minimize the damage as much as possible.

Humanists believe that man is basically good, and that there is no limit to the good that man can achieve through reason, the application of his rational mind. These kind of people are hit with the worst shock when confronted with irrational violence and abject evil. Attacks on innocent lives don't make sense according to their view of how the world works.
The ones who make due preparations are obviously the ones who believe in the evil and do what they can to protect themselves. They know how much bad is out there, acknowledge it, face it, and deal with it. The message is that humanists aren't realists, and they are counterproductive by trying to dream reality, and call reality dreams.

op.3no.2 said...

I wonder if Hospital had a word limit set by her publisher or something, b/c I thought the book ended way too fast. For me it was disappointing for a book that was strong for so long.

op.3no.2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Jane Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Jane said...

This is way off topic...but Do you guys think that the media would ever come close to showing such a horrific event like this on TV? I was recently in Spain, and they would show dead bodies on TV sometimes. Would it be unethical for a media station to NOT release the tapes to the public? Because then the government would never be accountable and the public would have been lied to. Or do you think there is no way something this horrific will ever be shown on national television?

Mario said...

well i dont think its that they wouldnt show it but the government has such strict guidelines throught FCC regarding the issue. For example, i live close enough to mexico to pick up some news reports on the tv and they are very graphic but the same story broadcast from a local american station is totally different

John Collins said...

Yeah I agree with Mario, I think a lot of it has to do with censorship. I remember there was a story pertaining to the Iraq war in which the bodies of American contractors or soldiers were burned and then hung up above a bridge and the video wasn't released to the public until months after the incident had happened. I think it is a very interesting dichotomy of the media. The media is quick to censor foul language, nudity, or graphic images of hostages being killed because they are "protecting the public" yet they are equally likely to engage in fear mongering and keeping the public in frightened state. I'm not advocating that everything should be censored or on the contrary, that every gruesome video should be released, but I think somewhere in the middle of those extremes is the truth, which I think has been lost in news coverage.

Sarah Jane said...

hmm...interesting...i'm not really sure how, but it seems like the contradictions you brought up relates somehow to a state of exception..Should there be no censorship in certain situations?

John Collins said...

Yeah that's a really good point that you bring up. I can see how the media could be seen as a state of exception in some instances.

About your question, I have no idea if certain situations call for things to be completely uncensored. We live in such a politically correct and sensitive society that I don't know if the media could show something as graphic as the bunker scene in Due Preparations.

JE said...

i think that the censorship keeps the sanity amongst the viewers of this country. there are so many things that the average person has not seen. i would say that we are drawing closer to ignore the censorship because of our language and point of views. there are more dialogues that present sexuality and beleifs that would have never been said in the 60's. also, there have been a movement to speak out about your personal opinions of sex, drugs, money, religion, and preferences.

JE said...

i beleive that the perspective is the truth behind the terrorism. there is a certain perspective that accepts the message but rejects the behaviors. in the same sense, we have to understand what the purpose of the terrorist act. there terrorist have a reason for thier actions, and if it were you, you too would think that you are a good person. its all crazy, but it is all based on others perception. i think that is some what of an idea that Hospital is saying.

John Collins said...

While I was looking over the book for possible paper topics I came across something that caught my eye. When talking about the decision to use Sirroco to take out the terrorists, Hospital says,

"We slip, we make one small, comprimising--yet absolutely necessary--decision, an expedient decision, a complex and difficult and informed choice between the lesser of two evils, and this decision leads, in one month or ten, or in a year, to another slippery but essential decision, and then we find ourselves on looes scree, slipping and sliding and falling and falling and falling....." (238)

This passage really struck me because it seems to parallel how the United States dealt with Osama Bin Laden. We choice the lesser of two evils, the Mujahadeen as opposed to the Soviets, and supported Bin Laden in their effort to defeat Communism. Yet decades later Bin Laden launched an attack on us which led to us invading Afghanistan and somehow "falling" into Iraq.

madel09 said...

It is amazing John how a country's decisions can come back to bite them. THere are so many instances of this and you would think that history wouldn't repeat itself but in this case it kind of does. Where do all of the countries that are threats to us today get there weapons from?

I really like how you point out this fact. But, I guess my question is how do we stop this vicious cycle or can we??