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RIP Harper Lee

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Steak Snabler, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

  2. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    Tried to think of a witty line from the novel but decided instead just to say RIP.
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Almost all of the obit stories are studiously ignoring the existence of "Watchman."
  4. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    I'm sure most of them were written before the existence of "Watchman" was widely known.
  5. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

  6. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

  7. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    Berkley Breathed's Facebook post on Friday was even more touching/revealing than today's strip was.

    Here is the text he wrote followed by the picture.
    Bloomers: Many, but not all of you, know that in the way that creative life can often surprise, Harper Lee was one of you. One of us. You might be as surprised as I am that she played a large role in my recent return to the streets of Bloom County-- streets inspired by those of Maycomb. When I retired Opus from the Sunday comics some years ago, Harper let me know her displeasure, with all the southern, gracious elegance we knew her for. See the letter below. I've waited until her passing to show it. We came to exchange many similar notes... including one in which she grudgingly forgives me for my retirement (irony alert). Imagine my 14 year-old self -- freshly savoring the first reading of Mockingbird and sending Miss Lee a fan letter in 1970 -- being told about another fan letter returning my way almost 40 years distant. Life is wonderful and strange and wistful and happy at the same time. And I'm happy to share this with all of you today.

    HC and Steak Snabler like this.
  8. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    A Facebook acquaintance posted this yesterday regarding Nelle Lee and "Watchman".

    So I read it.

    I made a terrible mistake by prejudging the book, believing it to be simply a cobbled-together moneygrab.

    It is not. It is a fine novel, and it is especially prescient today. Especially prescient to me.

    In the past month I have had my Scout moment, over and over. Literally every man I ever respected, every man I admired when I was growing up, every friend and family member over the age of sixty that I ever once considered a role model, even in passing, has broken my heart as expertly as Atticus broke hers, and in the same manner.

    South Alabama is my home too, just like Scout; it is so deeply entwined in my bones and my soul that I will never feel at home anywhere else. I love it, and I love my people.

    I hate it, and I hate my people. I am a bad son, a bad scion, and a bad Southerner. Good Southerners defend their lifestyles and their traditions as assiduously as they might defend their own family. I, a bad Southerner, am just ashamed. So ashamed of us that I wish I could scrub the accent off my teeth and scrape the red off my neck. I wish I was anything other than what I am, and yet I know I would be nothing if not for what Geneva County made me.

    We, the white trash of the South, are angry and afraid of all that is not us. We stubbornly adhere to Southern pride because it is all we have, all that makes us worthy in our own eyes. The Maycomb Citizen's Council did not die in 1955. It came to Facebook and Twitter; it shows itself in the news and on the radio. I know so many people--so many Godly, upstanding, moral and good people--who would sit in that meeting as Atticus did and tell themselves they are protecting their way of life, their very essence, against a coming stormfront. Gay is not the new black. Gay and black are both still seen as the enemy, different avatars of the Adversary, the proof that Big Government hates white Christians. We have not changed and we will not change, not until this generation passeth away, and Moses dies on Mount Nebo, and the rest of us git the hell out and leave these sad, mouldering little nowhere towns to hate and hate and fear and rage until they collapse under their own weight and blame Big Government for it, because Good Christians love their neighbor and we love our neighbor and we are Washed in Blood so it's gotta be those outside agitators who have killed us, not sinn fein.

    It is poison. I was raised in poison, steeped in it until I thought it was oxygen and that I could not live without it. I argued for poison; even when I went to school overseas I told people no, the South is not that bad; the media has distorted us. We're not racist; we are hospitable and polite and deal justly with people. We just got a bad rap; all that racism stuff was a long time ago, we love the sinner but hate the sin, and the Confederate flag is not about slavery, it is about Southern Pride and State's Rights and the Tenth Amendment and the Preservation of our Peculiar Way of Life. All poison, poison poured into my ear as I slept in my garden.

    One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

    If Harper Lee had published that book instead of To Kill a Mockingbird, there would be no statue or bookstore or thousands of fawning sycophants in Monroeville singing her praises. She would have been dubbed a lesbian communist and would have been clucked about at the country club for sixty years until her 90-year-old ass died in the county home without a lawyer or reporter in sight. She can publish it now because she ran out of fucks to give in 1978, and the cult of Harper Lee is so entrenched that her memory will not be sullied by her leavetaking admonition about conscience, her farewell to the South that remains as stunted as it ever was, as poison as it ever was, only now the crust has grown over the sore which still festers and spreads infection. She will get no praise for this book, no Pulitzer and no place in a high school American Literature syllabus. They will dismiss it, as I did, as the evil machinations of a gold-digging lawyer.

    The only thing she gets now is a stalwart convert. I am sorry, Harper Lee. I am sorry for everything I ever said about your one-hit wonder. You are a genius and a prophet and I would consider it a high honor simply to kiss the hand that wrote Go Set a Watchman and then kept it from us until it mattered.

    It matters now. Read it, sons and daughters of the South. Read what it's like to see your idols age and become Ozymandias in the dust.

    She knew my mind sixty years ago. She was perhaps one of the earliest members of the Great Southern Diaspora, those of us who got out and learned to breathe something besides poison.

    I am a man. I have put away childish things, and I am sorry, deeply sorry for them.

    I am sixty years too late in saying this. Harper Lee said it best.
  9. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    I wonder to what degree "Watchman", the earlier version, is more the story that Harper set out to write, and that "Mockingbird" was the product of Tay Hohoff's editorial guidance toward a more commercially viable story line. Purely uninformed speculation, however.
  10. cyclingwriter2

    cyclingwriter2 Active Member

    watchman was her phantom menace.
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