Ice Friday: Camus Spins Trump

But again and again there comes a time in history when the man dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death. The schoolteacher is well aware of this. And the question is not one of knowing what punishment or reward attends the making of this calculation. The question is that of knowing whether two and two do make four. The essential thing was to save the greatest possible number of persons from dying and being doomed to unending separation. And to do this there was only one resource: to fight the plague. There was nothing admirable about this attitude; it was merely logical.*

(Excerpt from Albert Camus’ The Plague)

Ice Friday: Camus’ Plague Within

Tarrou pontificates in Albert Camus’ The Plague:

Each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free from it. And I know too that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breathe in someone’s face and fasten the infection on him. IMG_4879What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity (if you like) – is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will power, a never-ending tension of the mind, to avoid such lapses.

Stephen King’s Plagiarism of Albert Camus

One of the keys to the success of Stephen King’s The Shining is the revelation that the main character, Jack Torrance, is going mad: All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.tumblr_lm4fguaftf1qbpsncThe manuscript on which Jack has been working throughout the story contains this same phrase written again over hundreds of pages and is an excellent device to convey his lose of touch with reality.2009shining_chairAnd it this very device that seems to have been plagiarized from Albert Camus’ The Plague in which Grand’s emotional imbalance is realized late in the narrative when Dr. Rieux reads over a manuscript of 50 pages documenting the same phrase again and again:One fine morning in May, a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a glossy sorrel mare along the avenues of the Bois, among the flowers…LaPesteAnd while the purpose – and indeed content – is quite different, the device is not. The repeated phrase – a secret held from the reader and all other characters – is only revealed late in the story as a surprise to all. Did King acknowledge his source? Did he give credit to Camus?

Camus Or does he, like so many of the writing workshop gurus, rely on the specious credo that all writers steal from each other. I, for one, am not buying it.

The Existential Play of the Toronto Maple Leafs

The heathen fanbase of teams across the continent – be they in Montreal, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles or Chicago – simply do not understand. blackhawks celebrateThey think it is about winning, hugging and celebrating in a crass display, that this is the point of the game. And I feel sorry for them.Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara hoists the Stanley Cup after the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 during Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 15, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)They don’t understand that it isn’t this at all, but, as Camus wrote in The Plague, instead is a reminder of our “never-ending defeat.”toronto_maple_leafs_fans.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoThe Toronto Maple Leafs are only for those who can take it, not the world as we dream, but as it truly is: empty and unrelenting.

Drew McIntyre

Leaf goaltender Drew McIntyre

Yes, the Leafs are only for pure existentialists. Their recent travails – an eight-game losing streak – has even brought The New York Times on the Being and Nothingness train, citing the “disturbing situation”, “devastating slump”,  and Leaf coach Carlyle’s catch phrase, “Just breathe. Take it easy. Breathe.” Toronto-Fans-React-to-Losing-Game-7-Against-Boston-BruinsBut they don’t understand. They use these words devastating and disturbing like they’re a bad thing, like they aren’t needed, like they can be avoided. leafs-kessel1They don’t see the wall behind us, the epidemic that’s surrounds. No. All they see is putting the puck in the net. stargirlsAnd it’s just so sad.