Tag Archives: book

Brandish real power

imagesThere are generals, colonels, lieutenants, sergeants and officers galore in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, but the guy who wields real power is an ex-private first class.

from the movie based on the book

from the movie based on the book

Private Wintergreen’s got the power because he mans the mailroom. He turns down a general’s request to promote a major by intercepting, responding and forging communications. His decisions stand unquestioned.

(He refuses to promote the major because the candidate’s wiseguy dad, whose last name was Major,” named him “Major Major Major.” So Wintergreen reasons the military doesn’t intend to lose its only “Major Major Major Major.”)

Heller with his book

Heller with his book

Wintergreen bemoans his demotion from private first class, for going AWOL once. He whines about the loss of “status.”

But it is he who bandies more authority in the Air Force’s operations against the German-occupied Italy during WW2.

Yossarian, the fearful bombardier

Yossarian, the fearful bombardier

Maybe you don’t have rank in church hierarchy. If you’ll just go to the mail room (communications, as in “with God”), you’ll suddenly discover you brandish real power. Prayer is power, and you don’t need earthly titles to get heavenly answers. Wintergreen communicated with the authority of headquarters. When you pray, you deploy headquarters’ might.

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(Spoiler alert)

Spoiler2

Thanks to Zecqi re-Ver(sing) Verses for the art text box. I dig her stuff.