It usually takes a few days for news to bubble its way across the intertubes and into my brain, so it's only now that I've learned of the death of reasonable conservative Jon Swift. He inspired many throughout the blogosphere, including me. In particular, he inspired me to do as he had so often done, and write a review of a book without reading it, which I posted here all the way back on December 24, 2007. As a tribute to one of the sharpest satirists of our time, I now repost my unread book review of Catch-22:
Reasonable conservative Jon Swift is widely regarded on the internets for his series of Amazon.com book reviews -- though not by Amazon.com itself, which removed most of them from its website. It's been said that flattery is the sincerest form of imitation, so I have decided to produce a flattering set of imitation Jon Swift book reviews. I cannot post them on Amazon.com itself, since you have to actually buy something off of their website in order to be allowed to post reviews to it, but that's just as well; in all likelihood, my sincere flattery of Mr. Swift's work would result in my own reviews also being removed from the Amazon.com website. Fortunately for both Amazon.com and myself, I can further flatter Mr. Swift by imitating his solution: posting the reviews here on my blog. As my first subject for review, I have chosen the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
I have not read this book, and I was initially disappointed when I found out that it was not, as I had at first assumed, about fishing. My disappointment vanished, though, when I realized that it was actually about World War II. Mr. Heller was apparently one of the earliest writers to write about what Tom Brokaw has dubbed the Greatest Generation and its wonderful battle against fascism (which was, as Jonah Goldberg reminds us, actually an early form of liberalism). In fact, Mr. Heller himself was apparently a member of the Greatest Generation who actually served in the European Theater during World War II. Although it is extremely suspicious behavior for someone writing about a war to actually take part in it, Mr. Heller probably deserves a pass, since he lived in a time before it became firmly established that the people who cheerlead a war are at least as important and as deserving of praise as the people who fight in it. Mr. Heller's tribute to the brave officers and men who battled against Eurolibrofascism in the 1940s is as timely today as when it was first published in 1961.