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Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2002 09:55:05 -0600
Subject: Re: (urth) Blue Mouse, Night Chough, uncollected stories
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 3/7/02 12:50 AM, Roy C. Lackey at rclackey@stic.net wrote:

> But in the end Lonnie underwent a battlefield conversion; when push came to
> shove, he decided that to kill was better than to die. He was gung-ho at the
> end, mowing down the enemy like a regular John Wayne.

He could have run away; his choice is not between killing and dying, but
between risking his life (by killing) and preserving it.  But you're right
that he undergoes a conversion.

> What, then, was Wolfe saying with that ending?

Lonnie isn't a real Tech (i.e. a coward).  The psychological tests got him
wrong, presumably because he'd been thinking about his mice (another dig at
applying "scientific management" to war).  Even before his conversion, he
sees through the rationalizations the Techs use to maintain their
self-esteem, and is ashamed of himself and his fellow Techs.

By showing Lonnie rejecting his Tech-hood and acting courageously, Wolfe is
highlighting the cowardice of the other Techs.

on 3/7/02 12:50 PM, tom at tom@bitterman.net wrote:

>> What, then, was Wolfe saying with that ending?
> That CO's and draft evaders are no different than the soldiers who
> actually fight;

They are; they're inferior.

> that deep down inside we're all killers;

I don't think Wolfe would put it this way; he'd probably say that we all
have the capacity to be killers.

> and that
> CO's and draft evaders pile hypocrisy and cowardice on top of
> an unjustified feeling of superiority.


> It may be that Wolfe is aiming straight at the college crowd
> and their deferments.

This occurred to me after my earlier post.

> If I remember correctly the Techs were
> chosen based on a governmental criterion (a test), not on
> introspective or religious grounds.

Well, the test was to see whether they were psychologically able to fight,
not to determine what special skills they have (which they don't, for the
most part).  But it is true that their technical skills are the excuse for
not using them in combat.

> It's hard to see Wolfe getting on the Amish for not bearing
> arms.

Yes, but during the Vietnam War the Amish weren't what most people would
have thought of first when they thought of conscientious objectors.  Wolfe
would be going after people who claimed moral objections to fighting without
belonging to a pacifist denomination.

> It's easy to see a veteran of Korea mad at college
> students during Vietnam.

Or even more so students with grad-school deferments.



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