Thursday, July 2, 2015

the luxury of anger

As a soporific-cum-entertainment, I pulled "Soldiers of '44" by William McGivern off a dusty shelf the other day. The novel, which is set as World War II's Battle of the Bulge gets under way, was first published in 1978. The writing is easy and the author takes some pains to paint credible characters with credible flaws and strengths that he does not over-paint. Understatement is a pleasant characteristic when compared with the latter-day fawning over various sissy versions of "heroism" or "love" or "character" or circumstances that damn the human spirit.

In one scene that caught my eye, a French woman is describing to the American protagonist how she was twice raped by the Germans who passed through her town. It is a relief to be able to talk to someone about the events. In describing her horrors, the author also gives his character leave to observe that of all the luxuries imagined in war, the most luxurious is .... anger.

Luxury is what is rich and extra in life. It coddles. It is not necessary but it sure is delicious. It's the tip-top and burnished and others envy its environs. You won't die without it, but it sure is nice to get it.

War -- a time so awful that standing at a distance is not an option and hence ....

The luxury of anger.

It made me wonder if there were ever a time when anger is not a luxury.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't considered it, but i think you're right. It's a dualist thing, an outside of instead of connected to perspective. From there i wonder, is not being a Buddha a luxury. But we are lazy, and that's a luxury too.