Monday, May 17, 2010

Sense of justice

I really like Julia Keller's book reviews. Yesterday she wrote about a best seller..."Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War." It's okay, she says, but nothing like the hype. She much prefers O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" or Schaeffer's "Buffalo Afternoon." The best writer advice, she says, comes from none other than Bruce Springsteen: "Keep an ear to the ground and an ear to your heart." When critiquing, listen to what the public likes, sure. But no one would simply want "best sellers" from critics. Listen to your heart. Keller listened to her heart on this one.

So what does this have to do with a sense of justice, you ask. At the end of her review, she quoted the British novelist, Joyce Cary: "Get rid of that sense of justice or you'll be a self-pitier all your life." I am not sure that I am a "self-pitier," but my sense of justice gets in the way much of the time. What I've never got is that others don't have it like I do. Fair is fair, to me, and generally (not always), to me, it's black and white. For example, punishment to criminals can be so disparate, often based on race or socioeconomic status. I suppose I should be quiet since I am on the right side of the status line, but I can't be. The injustice happens in all areas of life, though...from the workplace to referees for the Bulls (though I might be subjective about the latter). I must listen to Joyce Cary!

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